Laptop Hard drives: 5400 vs 7200 pros/cons

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by yertle, Apr 16, 2010.

  1. yertle macrumors member


    Mar 13, 2010
    I lean to the standard drive at 5400 rpm. Why? All my video editing is done with an external firewire drive, and I think the 7200 generates more heat than the 5400.

    For web design I don't see how a 7200 speed is much of a benefit, considering the extra heat generated may negate the benefit of a faster drive. I think heat (and dust) is the bane of all electronics.

    I'm fixing to order the 15" i7 and will use it for running Adobe CS5 web suite. Final Cut Pro for video- and will use a firewire drive.

    So, is there any glaring error in my logic that leads me to stick with a standard speed drive? Solid State is out of the question, too pricey for me.

    Your thoughts?
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Why is heat even an issue for someone like you? Isn't the machine used primarily on a desk?
  3. SchneiderMan macrumors G3


    May 25, 2008
    There is no con on getting a 7200 what so ever. In fact i would highly recommend getting a 7200 only.
  4. bobm macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2006
    Hitachi 500G 7200

    No firm numbers but I recently put in a Hitachi 500G 7200 drive and it seems that my battery life has dropped off quite a bit. I used to go 4 hours or so and now am lucky if I get 2:30.

    Not sure why but I wanted the speed so I'm living with it.
  5. yertle thread starter macrumors member


    Mar 13, 2010
    Nope. Primarily it's in my lap while I sit on the couch. Actually, I like to cross my leg and rest it there. Takes a lot of yoga to work the cramps out.

    Moving on, I see some people think the 7200 is a no brainer? Money isn't an issue deciding between the 5400 and 7200. So, there's no decent reason to not get the 7200?
  6. DesmoPilot macrumors 65816

    Feb 18, 2008
    For the average user 5400 is perfectly fine, you won't really notice any difference. For Pro's 7200s are very nice, but not really an absolute necessity, the gap between the two isn't as great as it used to be.
  7. mattrothcline macrumors newbie

    Sep 23, 2009
    7200 is totally worth it

    That much battery drain is not caused by the new HDD. The biggest difference in power consumption you'll see from different laptop hard drives is about 1/2 a watt - and often something more like 1/4 watt. An extra 1/2 watt of power draw would probably reduce your battery life by 15-20 minutes *at most* over an 8-hour charge, and often much less than that.

    I think the 7200RPM drive is a no-brainer. The hard drive is the slowest thing in a computer today - disk performance is the bottleneck.

    For web design, are you going to be reading files off your disk? Of course you are. Plus you're going to be launching apps - which are stored on the disk - and those apps are going to use virtual memory - which is stored on the disk.

    The heat does not in any way "negate" the benefit of the faster drive, except for the minimal decrease in battery life I mentioned earlier. The HDDs in Macs are operating well within their thermal capabilities.
  8. acfusion29 macrumors 68040


    Nov 8, 2007
    excessive vibration?

    battery life?
  9. baypharm macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2007
    I have the 7200 rpm drive (500gb) in my 17" MBP. It is quiet and does not run hot. And I still get over 8 hours of battery life. Couldn't be happier.
  10. eldy macrumors 6502

    Jan 30, 2009
    The City
  11. SchneiderMan macrumors G3


    May 25, 2008
    I have no vibrations.. Battery life? Don't see an issue with that.
  12. breathesrain macrumors regular

    Feb 10, 2010
    Said the same thing myself in another thread :)
  13. yertle thread starter macrumors member


    Mar 13, 2010
    Thanks, you guys have solved my dilemma.

    I was thinking that somehow the 5400's were somehow more stable/beneficial. But now I am thinking that's just over thinking it.
  14. andyblila macrumors 65816


    Jul 8, 2008
    On My iPhone, or my iPad?
    I just bought a new MBP and immediately upgraded the drive to 7200 RPMs. My wife's MBP still has the stock 5400 and may get 15-20 mins more battery life.
  15. mattrothcline macrumors newbie

    Sep 23, 2009
    Vibration? *VIBRATION*? That's the funniest thing I've heard in a long time.
  16. kernkraft macrumors 68020


    Jun 25, 2009
    Although some newbies find it amusing, there are some 7200 rpm drives with noticeable vibration.

    As soon as you take graphic applications into consideration, getting a 7200 rpm is a must, in my opinion. There is hardly any premium, but a faster HDD insures happiness and we all want to be happy, right?

    Get either a Seagate or a Scorpion (Blue/Black, doesn't matter that much). Get one with big buffer and a free-fall sensor! I have a 320GB Seagate and I paid something like $70 for it last summer, including shipping. Apparently, it only draws marginally (1%) more power than the 5400 rpm equivalent and there is no extra heat either.

    I think the Pros and Cons start at considering an SSD today. But don't!
  17. yertle thread starter macrumors member


    Mar 13, 2010
    Thanks everyone for the input.

    I will go for the 7200, considering I use CS4 a lot. CS5 once it's released.

    Some of you recommend installing a 3rd party hard drive upgrade. Is this because you can achieve better performance than the 7200 that ships from Apple? Or because you can sane some money? Or both?

    I'm not comfortable with opening up laptops and doing any work inside, especially with these $$$$ macbooks. Too nervous!

    So, is there a compelling reason to open the machine up and start switching drives? I've always assumed whatever Apple shipped was optimized for the laptop in general. Can I not only save money but improve performance above and beyond what Apple offers if I replace/upgrade the 5400 to 7200 on my own?
  18. Benito macrumors 6502a


    Jan 5, 2010
    Toronto, Canada
    I upgraded my HD in my MBP from a 5400 to a 7200 rpm. Program open more quickly, but there is a touch more vibration and noise. As well, my battery life decreased just a tad. I may have lost about 30 mins on my battery life.

Share This Page