Noticable difference between 5400RMP and 7200PRM HDD?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by carrollf, Jul 13, 2009.

  1. carrollf macrumors regular


    Aug 8, 2007
    Can anyone tell me if they have honestly noticed a difference in speed (for general use) between the 5400RPM and 7200RPM 500Gb stock drives? I want to know because I can pick up a new uMBP 2.8GHz today in the store with the 5400RPM drive but would have to wait over a week for the 7200RPM drive 2.8GHz model (they dont stock these). I am travelling for the next month (from tomorrow) and really want to have my MBP with me. Is it worth waiting for the 7200 or should I just swap it out later on if I notice it to be slow?

    Also, does swapping the drive void the warranty?
  2. Miraculous macrumors newbie

    Jul 13, 2009
    Um, I think the currently uMBPs' hard drives can be easily swapped, unlike the earlier MBPs where you have to tackle 15 screws and pull tape and stuff and risk your warranty (like what I did to my MBP...) Actually I think it's a good idea to just swap in a new hard drive so that whenever you take your laptop to maintenance you can swap back in the stock drive and not risk any data leak / loss. Not that I'm saying Apple steals personal data, but I've had friends who had lost data due to logistical errors.
  3. NovemberWhiskey macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2009
    I just got a 5400 to replace my 7200 rpm drive. Although I haven't used it extensively, I did notice that the grid view applications folder opens a little slower. For real-world purposes, the slight lag won't mean any difference in productivity, but I did notice it and it is smoother on the 7200 RPM drive. I will have to use the 5400 rpm drive more to see how it compares in other aspects.

    That said, most of the 7200 RPM drives suffer from the click/beep/freeze issue. That is why I returned mine and ordered the 5400 rpm drive instead. Don't be surprised if you have to go through the same thing if you get the upgraded drive.

    Every in-store rep I've talked to said swapping the hdd will void the warranty, but most people on the forums seem to think it will NOT. I am not sure myself.
  4. raymondu999 macrumors 65816

    Feb 11, 2008
    So general consensus is that it's not worth the money for the 7200RPM speed increase? I always thought the HDD was a bottleneck and should be upgraded to at least 7200
  5. antskip macrumors regular

    Apr 24, 2009
    the HDD is a huge bottleneck, hence the gradual move to SSD's, which makes a huge difference to any system performance. if you remain with HDD's, if everything else is equal, then a 7200rpm spins faster than a 5400rpm, so one would expect to have quicker reading and writing, and better multi-tasking, etc - and in general they do. But drives depend not just on rpm for speed- e.g. cache helps speed, as does "size" (i.e. HDD's with more data "space" will have quicker reading and writing than a "smaller" drive of the same rpm). then there are differences of technology (some specific to the manufacturer and the very specific drive)...and some speed is noticeable in some operations and less so in others, in some systems and less in others. noticeable speed differences, e.g. can change with different cpu's and different amounts of ram. so there is no hard and fast rule. even reviews are not the bible of difference, as generally they only use one system, and then test a bevy of drives. for what it's worth, i find a 7200rpm drive sufficiently quicker in operation that i would always choose it over a 5400rpm, all other things (e.g.noise level) being more or less equal. however, the difference is small (like 10%) compared to the huge leap to a SSD. Of general comparative HDD reviews a good place to start is But the only real way to judge is to try a specific drive for yourself.
  6. raymondu999 macrumors 65816

    Feb 11, 2008
    I don't generally do hard-core stuff like video editing or anything of the sort. I suppose probably I would get more bang for my buck by going with a 7200 drive as opposed to making the SSD leap? Or is the SSD upgrade REALLY noticeable to the point that even if I don't do hard-core stuff with my MBP it'll show?
  7. John89 macrumors regular

    Dec 23, 2008
    You will definitly see a huge leap in speed.
  8. t0mat0 macrumors 603


    Aug 29, 2006
    With the issues with the 200rpm drive, i'd go wiht teh 5400rpm, then see how it is - you can always update later, with a better drive than CTO machines have! (and not wait so long...)
  9. flashcrosma macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2009
    queens, new york
    for the hard drive issue, it's just one word: wait! replacing your hard drive until ssd is being much more sophisticated. 5400rmp is way better than 7200rmp 'cause it gives u longer life time, lowers the temp of your macbook pro in intensive work! unless u really got bunch of data to transfer or large files to work and rush to not wait another minutes to finish! i suggest u get 5400rmp and wait for ssd to make replacement!
  10. mcdj macrumors G3


    Jul 10, 2007
    I bought a Seagate 72 and returned it because it vibrated the entire computer. Replaced it with a WD 54 and couldn't be happier.
  11. Trivial rock macrumors regular

    Trivial rock

    Oct 9, 2008
    I guess you mean 7200rpm drive? ;)

    Im inclined to say, if you need it now, go for it, buy the one from the store with a 5400 drive. Depending on the drive, tests have shown notebook 7200rpm drives are only marginally faster than notebook 5400rpm drives. This is certainly the case for the WD blue drive compared to the WD scorpio black drives. I did read a review and test, however I cant find it at the moment sorry.

    If however you feel your drive is sluggish you can always swap it out for a faster one at a later date.
  12. isaaclimdc macrumors 6502


    Jun 28, 2009
    Pittsburgh, PA
    From my experience, I saw very little difference, and honestly I was a little nervous that it spun that much faster. What I'd do is bear with the 5400 rpm for now, and hold out my cash for when SSDs become cheaper ;)
  13. Ferris23 macrumors 68020

    Sep 24, 2007
    I went from a 160GB 5400 to a 320 7200RPM and then back to a 500GB 5400.

    I noticed NO difference, more space better than no noticeable increase in speed.

    SSD is another story...
  14. ian.maffett macrumors 6502


    Aug 1, 2008
    While I didn't buy two laptops to test side by side to really see the difference, I always go for the faster speed. As the hard drive is the biggest bottleneck in the machine it certainly does help.
    However, It is definitely easy to change the drive in the future - it's right under the battery cover. Might be worthwhile to get a 5400 now and upgrade to an SSD next year or something, though. I never really gave myself that option. I went straight for the 7200 but I sacrificed space for speed.
    They say love is a give and take relationship.
  15. Salty Pirate macrumors 6502

    Salty Pirate

    Oct 5, 2005
    kansas city
    You will notice. The overall "snap" of the system will be better.

    There are several factors at play when talking disk speed, some mentioned above.

    Cache size, rotational speed and areal density. Basically, get the biggest 7200 drive offered, which is currently the 500 GB disk. You can buy these online at buy or newegg, or some local computer shops may stock them.

    There are some SSD drives that are 120 GB and around $350-375 online. These are much faster all around than mechanical disk drives. The best of the SSD drives are probably the Intel X-25 models, and those are affordable at 80GB, but they cost 700 bucks for the 120 GB sizes and up.
  16. nizmoz macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    7200 RPM vs 5400 is not faster unless the drive has faster access times. The WD 5400 RPM Blue HD is faster than the Seagate 7200 RPM drive because it has faster access times.

    Remember folks, 7200rpm does not mean it's faster. Get that in your heads. ;)

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