WD 500GB HD upgrade observations

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by eAspenwood, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. eAspenwood macrumors member

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    #1
    I recently ordered both my wife and I identical 2010 13" MBPs.

    On my MBP I upgraded the HD to a 500GB WD Scorpio Blue, WD5000BEVT ($60 at amazon).

    Hers has the stock Toshiba 250GB (MK2555GSXF) drive.

    After the HD upgrade, I did some quick comparisons, and here are my observations thus far:

    1) Slower Bootup - Bootup time takes almost 1m30s on mine vs 30s on hers. To even just get to the apple logo on the initial grey screen on mine takes about 30s.

    2) Noisier - Mine always makes a quiet whirring sound and slight vibration like it doesn't ever go into a lower power mode. Hers is pretty quiet.

    3) Worse Battery Life - My battery life appears to be diminished slightly. Maybe like 10%

    4) Slower write speed - I did a quick "time mkfile 10G testfile.10g" and it took 3m30s on mine, and 3m even on hers.

    5) Same load cycle rate - For the HD geeks - the SMART load cycle count was averaging about 100/hr on both. I implemented these steps, and now the load cycle rate appears about 0.2/hr.

    Still worth it for me - To sum it up, I took a performance hit with the upgrade. My guess is that some of this is related to apple firmware vs WD firmware, and some of it just the physics of twice the capacity. However since the hit is not that bad, I'll stick with the upgrade because of the extra space and low cost.

    Good thing I hardly ever reboot.
     
  2. Xombie11 macrumors regular

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  3. UltraNEO* macrumors 601

    UltraNEO*

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    #3
    Hmm.. Usually with bigger drives, there will be some sort of delay during startup but as for everything else, it should technically be nippier!! Did you wait for MacOSX to stop indexing?? As this is usually the main culprit, often leading to system lags and slow disk performance.
     
  4. AlphaDogg macrumors 68040

    AlphaDogg

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    #4
    There is a problem with these drives and unibody MB/MBP's. When in the uMB/uMBP, the drive heads will randomly park. This creates unnecessary stress on the hard drive, which will lead it to an early death. I recommend keeping daily backups, just in case :). Also, the fact that the drive heads will randomly park is why you took a performance hit.
     
  5. UltraNEO* macrumors 601

    UltraNEO*

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    #5
    That's interesting.. but do you sir/madam have actual proof it's caused by randomly parking? Links would be nice ;)... cause I've had one of those drives in my MBP since they've been released and so fair, no performance issues - then again it's not a unibody.
     
  6. eAspenwood thread starter macrumors member

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    #6
    You are referring to the same issue as I was in point #5 - the load cycle count. I've eliminated this as a factor by running the steps I mentioned. Basically, you set up a daemon that runs hdapm to prevent the heads from parking.

    Note - the high load cycle count issue is not just specific to WD drives. People have seen it on many different makes and models of HDDs. In fact, as I mentioned, it's happening on the stock Toshiba that came in the MBP.
     
  7. UltraNEO* macrumors 601

    UltraNEO*

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    #7
    ...sounds a lot like 'power saving' features, to be honest. Isn't there software to override it?
     
  8. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

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  9. eAspenwood thread starter macrumors member

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    #9
    The WD Scorpio Blue line does not have a free-fall sensor so there is no conflict with Apple's SMS.
     
  10. eAspenwood thread starter macrumors member

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    #10
    I should reiterate that the downsides of the new drive are not that bad in practice for most people. If I didn't have my wife's MBP to compare with, I wouldn't have noticed.

    I just thought the observations were interesting, especially for those with certain requirements like faster bootup times or ultra-quietness.
     
  11. Yimbie macrumors member

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  12. eAspenwood thread starter macrumors member

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    #12
    Yep, spotlight was done indexing. I did the test informally several times over several days.
     
  13. eAspenwood thread starter macrumors member

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    #13
    As mentioned, I don't have high performance requirements for this MBP so the Blue line was adequate. They get solid reviews. I tend to favor longer battery life with adequate performance.

    I was just surprised to get both diminished battery life and diminished performance with the new drive.
     
  14. eAspenwood thread starter macrumors member

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    #14
    I dont think it'll make a difference, but I'll do a zero-fill format for sh@#ts and post the results.
     
  15. AlphaDogg macrumors 68040

    AlphaDogg

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    #15
    I cannot find a link, but it appears that you have a non-unibody (multibody?) MBP. There was not an issue with the firmware causing the heads to park on these models. There is only a firmware issue on the unibody models, as they have a newer firmware.
     
  16. eAspenwood thread starter macrumors member

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    #16
    There are lots and lots of pages on the internets regarding the issue you are describing.

    However, its not a factor in this comparison as both the stock HD and the upgraded HD displayed the same behavior, ie high load cycle count, ie excessive head parking. As mentioned, I ran the steps in the first link above to resolve that issue, but the performance/battery behavior remains the same.
     
  17. eAspenwood thread starter macrumors member

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    #17
    Zero-fill format and restore complete. No discernible difference.
     

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