Upgrading 13" MBP hard drive

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by danimals, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. danimals macrumors newbie

    Feb 24, 2009
    I'm planning to soon pull the trigger on a base level 13" MBP with the intention of upgrading the hard drive (and possibly later the ram) myself. For my purposes (casual computing and light design work with little time constraints) I'm thinking that beefing up the hard drive of the base level MBP will give me the best bang for the buck on a budget.

    Can anyone offer advice on a good hard drive model to choose for the upgrade?

    Any thoughts on going @7200 versus SSD? I've been hearing tell of the current SSD technology not being ready for prime time, risking failure in the not too distant future. Thoughts?

    Thanks very much.
  2. Link2999 macrumors 6502

    Jul 12, 2008
    You only need a 5400rpm HD if you're doing casual work. Also, although SSD drives really speed up a notebook, that's all it does. It isn't worth the extra cash for a smaller yet faster HD.
  3. danimals thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 24, 2009
    Thanks for the reply. I've heard that the biggest speed increase an average user will see is from installing a faster hard drive. What do you think about that notion? If true, seems like the faster drive (7200) would make sense for the money. No?
  4. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    Maybe. Again, it doesnt sound like you are doing anything thats accessing the disc enough that 7200 rpm would actually give you a boost.

    even a small 120 gig SSD is $350, pretty spendy.

    I run a ton of stuff from an external 5400 RPM 2.5 drive, including a lot of design stuff. No problems.

    easy to put in a drive or ram: http://eshop.macsales.com/installvideos/macbookpro_13_unibody/
  5. Raje macrumors member

    Mar 2, 2010
    If you are buying a 500gb or smaller get the 7200 rpm, I don' think it would make much of a difference except maybe lessen boot time (slightly). If you are looking for a lot of space then by a 640gb or 1tb hard drive (I have only seen these in 5400rpm)
  6. Link2999 macrumors 6502

    Jul 12, 2008
    There was a topic on this awhile ago (speed comparison). Overall the load time was a half second quicker.
  7. js81 macrumors 65816


    Dec 31, 2008
    Just ordered a new hard drive for my new 13" MBP today. Check the benchmarks on each drive - you may be surprised (as I initially was) that many larger and/or low # of platters 5400rpm drives are faster than 7200rpm drives. Case in point: the 5400rpm, dual platter, 640GB Samsung HM640JI I just ordered scored higher than the 500GB, 7200rpm Seagate ST9500420AS.

    Of course, these are just benchmarks, not real world, and YMMV. However, I recently installed a 250GB Samsung HM250HI in my wife's white Macbook and its very fast. Research before you buy. :)

    EDIT: BTW, I paid less than $86 shipped for the 640GB Samsung I ordered today from Newegg.
  8. danimals thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 24, 2009
    Thanks for the info and links. I'll check them out. Proper research shall be done. Half a second here and there certainly isn't enough of an improvement to justify an upgrade for me. To the benchmarks! Thanks again.
  9. Kingcodez macrumors 6502


    May 13, 2009
    I've researched this a lot, and:
    5400RPM drives are usually faster than 7200 RPM.
    That being said, WD makes good 5400 RPM drives, I just bought another 640, and I plan on getting a 1TB soon.

    If I were you I'd simply get a SSD as a boot drive, install it in your optibay and get rid of the DVD drive. Get an external if you need one.
    Intel 80GB SSDs are like 200-230.

    I've run just SSD for a long time and putting the HDD in annoys me now, I can kind of hear it and kind of feel the vibration. I'm used to the computer being totally silent. as soon as Intel pops out a bigger SSD I'll probably buy and just run that with a NAS. Silent computing is really nice especially late at night in the bed.

    Just something to think about.
  10. danimals thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 24, 2009
    That sounds like a good path for me. I've little use for the optical drive. Could you explain a little more about installing an SSD as a boot drive in the optical drive space and how that would interact with the other hard drive (be it SSD or conventional)? Are you suggesting to run two hard drives in some sort of RAID set up? Apologies for the ignorance and thanks for any help.
  11. jtara macrumors 68000

    Mar 23, 2009
    Spindle speed is really a rather meaningless performance spec. Given everything else equal, yes, a higher spindle speed = a higher sustained data transfer rate.

    Just look at the latter, along with random access speed. Don't get fooled by looking at bust data rate. The drive specs should include the sustained data transfer rates for the inner and outer tracks.

    You have to be careful about higher spindle speeds, as the drive could exceed the thermal specs for the notebook computer. This is a good spec to look at in any case - how hot does the drive run? You will probably have to look at reviews rather than just specs for this one, as the spec doesn't tell the whole story.

    For a desktop machine, I always use top-of-the-line 15K drives. But I'd think twice before putting even a 7200K drive in a notebook.
  12. lucifiel macrumors 6502a


    Nov 7, 2009
    In your basement
    not only does temperature become an issue, but vibration is a real issue in a notebook too, a 7200 will make the notebook noticeably vibrate and that's just not good. I am not sure if it actually damages anything, but it is at least an annoyance that I would not like.

    That and the consensus seems to be that the difference between 5400 and 7200 is minimal and since you intend to game, HDD speed is not that important. An aftermarket SSD is quite pricey at the moment, and it's a sacrifice to deal with only 128 GB or 256GB (if you're loaded). So a quick 5400 is probably the way to go. The WD seem to be a good bet.

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