Macbook Pro HD; 5400 or 7200???


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 24, 2003
Sydney AU
I'll be ordering the 15.4" Macbook Pro in a week and am debating between the two 160gb HD options.

I want to order the 7200 but i'm worried about it being very hot, but than, I don't a slow HD either.

Does anyone know how significant the performance between the two are and how much more heat the 7200 gives off compared to the 5400 rmp?

Any info or experience would be helpful.


macrumors 65816
Jan 23, 2002
Here and there!
I ordered the 7200 RPM with mine this evening - the difference from those benchmarks seemed pretty significant when I looked at them last week. I don't think you'll see much of a battery drain - during the few times where it will spin to full speed, it will use more power, but it will also access the information faster, and thus have similar power drain. At least that's how it was explained on here awhile back.


macrumors regular
Jun 3, 2007
200 gb looks nice! i'm waiting for when i transfer to leopard, hopefully by that time something incredible (and cheap! lol, yeah right) hapens.


macrumors 65816
Apr 29, 2007
Worth remembering those tests were for sustained reading/writing periods, as would happen for processes such as video editing (which many people would use an external drive as a scratch disk for).

Short random write/read periods (which replicate how the hard drive is used in normal day-to-day operations) is a probably more useful guide and barefeats have done quite a few of these - the latest is .

This isn't to say that the first link would steer you wrong, but random read/writes give a better idea of real life operation.

In terms of battery life, most people like StealthRider believe the extra drain is pretty minimal; and according to those who have done the number crunching, you lose a couple of minutes or so.

Likewise, I wouldn't worry about the heat.


macrumors member
Oct 10, 2006
Well, when I ordered my 2.4 I got the 7200rpm drive. I couldn't help myself...though I'm not sure exactly what difference it makes for me, likely not much. But I wanted to make sure that I had -everything- I could to make it GO!

If a budget is in mind, I might recommend what others have for me. For around $100 more than the $150 hard drive upgrade you can get 4gb of ram for your shiny new MBP from a third should be a fairly easy upgrade, battery removal and three screws later and you're good. Then you can sell your ram or use it in another computer.

I've asked apple about this when I ordered just to confirm that RAM is user replaceable. It is. No warranty voidance at all :D

My .02


macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
One thing that the benchmark doesn't mention: All harddisks are fastest for data stored at the outside, and get slower for data stored at the inside, so reading the first gigabyte is fastest, reading the last gigabyte is slowest. And that can be a huge difference, like getting less than half the performance for the innermost tracks.

When you look at the 100GB drives, they will slow down much earlier than a 200 GB drive. When you fill a 100GB drive with 95GB of data, the last GB will have less than half the read speed; with the same data on a 200GB drive you are still over 80%. So if you intend to actually fill the harddisk, a bigger one will be generally faster than a smaller one.


macrumors 68000
Jan 14, 2006
New York City
But what about heat issues inside the laptop with a 7200rpm drive? Is it safe, or will it just mean the fans will kick in a little more often?


macrumors 65816
Apr 29, 2007
But what about heat issues inside the laptop with a 7200rpm drive? Is it safe, or will it just mean the fans will kick in a little more often?
From the stuff I've read in terms of reader reports (e.g Macintouch), I haven't spotted anything out of the ordinary. I would suspect this would be more of an issue if the drives were spinning for sustained periods (like I outlined above), but I wouldn't have thought that would affect the majority of users.