USB 2/3 and 5400/7200 RPM

vmachiel

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Feb 15, 2011
1,732
1,263
Holland
Hi forum,

So I'm looking to buy a 1TB external hard drive. To future proof it, i'd look to buy it with USB 3. But will that make a difference if the drive is 5400 RPM, or is 7200 needed to exceed USB 2 speeds? The searches I did online gave different answers, so i'm hoping some one here has one:)

Thank you
 
Nov 28, 2010
22,684
27
located
A 5400 RPM HDD can at least offer 70 MB/s, a 7200 RPM HDD at least 90 MB/s.
USB 2.0 has a maximum throughput of 37 MB/s, thus only USB 3.0 will take advantage of the faster speeds of HDDs.
 

rlantagne21

macrumors member
Jul 29, 2012
31
3
MA
I just picked up one of the new 1TB Seagate Backup Plus drives to use with my new rMBP... It's only a 5400rpm drive but I get between 90-110 MBps transfers over USB 3.0 (monitored it with activity monitor) depending on the type of files being transferred.

Most portable external drive will be 5400rpm. There are a few that are 7200, but I wouldn't limit yourself to just 7200rpm drives, considering 100 MBps on average is more than adequate for what most people need.