Which Notebook Hard Drive to Purchase?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Romeo604, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. Romeo604 macrumors regular

    Oct 17, 2005
    Hi all

    I have done some searching on these forum to narrow down what to upgrade my existing hard drive:

    Western Digital Scorpio Blue 2.5 inch 640 GB 5400RPM 8MB SATA


    Hitatchi Travelstar 7k500 500 GB 7200RPM 16MB 2.5 inch SATA2


    Western Digital Scorpio Blue 2.5 inch 750GB SATA2 5400RPM 8MB

    I am not familiar if the SATA2 or the larger buffer would make a difference in performance for a regular internet / movies / iphoto user...... any recommendations? Thanks.
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Hitachi is the fastest due rotation speed and cache but it may also drain your battery faster, cause vibration and even heat issues. It's performance vs capacity so whether you want more space or better capacity
  3. Dyango macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2010
    As far as I know, the 750 GB WD gives a really nice performance due to its density -i think it wears two platters instead of 3 as seen on the 1TB model- while having the benefits of a 5400 rpm drive, yet it should be slower than the Hitachi but drain a bit less power and vibrate less too.

    What would you need more? space or performance?
  4. Romeo604 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 17, 2005
    space would be the first priority as long as the performance would be similar to the original hard drive i have which is the 120 gig that came with the computer.
  5. Dyango macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2010
    Then I'd say the 750GB model is a good balance between speed and space. There is a 1TB model, but it should be slower and more expensive, and it might not fit, depending on the computer who shall wear it.
  6. Romeo604 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 17, 2005
    thanks. i just want the hard drive to perform like the stock hard drive and i would be happy. thats why I was considering the hatachi since the stock hard drive is hitatchi also.
  7. Dyango macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2010
    At the risk of being wrong, I'd say it's not really the manufacturer that matters but the RPM and the caché. Is the drive you have is a 5400 rpm, wether it is Hitachi or not, the WD ones should perform similarly, and the 7200 rpm Hitachi should go slightly faster, while vibrating a bit more.

    If you want something similar to your stock drive with more space, I'd say the 750 WD should be the way to go.
  8. Romeo604 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 17, 2005
    My stock hd is 5400rpm so I will get the WD 750GB. Thanks for the help!
  9. Giuly macrumors 68040


    If you're going for speed, Seagate Momentus XT 500GB (7200RPM). It caches most-used sectors on a 4GB build-in SSD, so the sectors stay on the SSD rather then get cleared when the system gets powered down. Bootup- and Application load seem to speed up significantly (In Seagates Test-Video it's faster then a Raptor X 10000RPM-Drive, nearly as fast as a real SSD, but... ya' know). Performance increases over time, as it finds out what data to cache (Bootup-Files, in your case Safari, iPhoto, Movie Player etc. if you use that a lot). You get nearly the speed of an SSD at nearly the price of a HDD, and the HDD is a big factor in overall system speed.

    If you go for storage, WD Scorpio Blue 750GB Advanced Format (There are 2 versions out there, 5200 and 5400 RPM. Be sure to get the 5400, the old 5200RPM one is slower, 12.5mm high and doesn't fit). It's even slower then a virgin Momentus XT (it can compete, though), because of the RPM, but if you got lots of files, that is the disk to go. The Advanced Format increases the accessible data on the disk to 96% instead of the 87% when formated, because there is less meta-data between the 4kB sectors then there were with regular 512Byte sectors. And all this is supported by at least Snow Leopard, as well.

    They cost about the same (±20$), so it's just a choice between speed (and a little lower battery runtime because the faster spinning drive consumes a little bit more power, but that doesn't count on the Mini) and capacity.

    If your device fits 12.5mm-HDDs, you probably want the 1TB-Version of the WD, if you choose for capacity. All recent MacBook(Pro)s and Minis only fit 9.5mm-drives.

    SATA II is just "nice-to-have", as HDDs rarely saturate SATA and thus not needed, unless you go SSD (Even for the Momentus SATA I is sufficient), but all drives are SATA-II.

    The Scorpio Black 500GB (7200RPM) would be the low-cost variant for speed, as it's faster then the Scorpio Blue but has no cool SSD-Cache and costs about 3/4 of the Momentus XT.

    Just IMHO. :)


    Edit: Make sure to read post #15.
  10. Romeo604 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 17, 2005
    Thanks for the input, this is very informative. I settled for the WD 750 GB.

    Just not certain how to install snow leopard now on the new hdd.

    Reading the steps I would insert original cd, press C, let computer boot, format to journaled..... then select hdd to install...

    would this be correct?
  11. coreysandler macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2010
    San Diego, California
    I am in the market for a new WD Notebook drive also. 'twas debating between the 1TB and 750 GB. However, is WD not releasing new drives in July? I am almost certain I had heard that somewhere... 1TB 2 platter models perhaps? 1.5TB models?
  12. Neurobit macrumors regular

    Jul 2, 2009
    United States
    I needed to increase the capacity of my stock 250 GB 5400 on my 13" late 2009 MBP, so I ordered a 500 GB Momentus XT.

    It will arrive tomorrow, so I will post my findings after I have a chance to use it for a couple of days.

    You can get them from NewEgg for $130.

  13. wattage macrumors 6502


    Oct 14, 2005
    Glad to hear someone else is going to try the XT. I am considering it for my wife in a new 13" MBP. I will be looking for your comments on its performance.
  14. MacVibe macrumors regular

    Dec 21, 2009
    I'm using the mom xt 500 gig in a macbook. It is fast. Startup and regular program loads are nearly twice as fast. There is more vibration than the stock drive. It may just be standard 7200 versus 5400 differences as it isn't so bad that I think there is anything wrong with the drive. I definitely recommend this drive. It makes me feel like I can wait a couple of years to get a large SSD when hopefully prices come way down.
  15. Giuly macrumors 68040


    They do, but they only changed the interface to (useless, and not supported by Macs today, but downwards compatible to SATA 3.0GBit/s) SATA 6.0GBit/s.
    Seagate on the other hand announced the Seagate Momentus 7200.5 750GB at 9.5mm height, which should provide a superior speed compared to the Scorpio Blue(and comparable to Scorpio Black), because of the 7200 RPM. It is listed but not available yet, at least here in Europe. You get the most bang for the buck from this one, as it's cheaper then the Scorpio Blue 750GB.
    Regrettably, other brands then WDC and Seagate are unable or unwilling to compete in the high-end 2,5" SATA sector except for Toshiba (as are WDC and Seagate), the MK1059GSM which seems to offer the same performance as the 1TB Scorpio Blue, but slightly cheaper. As Toshiba is an Apple OEM, they should be reliable, but is (as the Scorpio Blue 1TB) 12.5mm in height.

    The next Macs will most likely carry 12.5mm-harddrives, as they are becoming popular now, providing desktop speed and nearly space by adding only 3mm physical height.

    WDC and Seagate also focusing onto the 48Bit-LBA-problem, which can't address storage devices >2TB, that might be a reason for the minor updates in 2,5"-drives - the opposite may occur in the next couple of month, until 2,5" hits 2TB, too.
    As Mac-users they don't bother us until 8 Zettabyte (8.6 billion TB with 512B-sectors, 64 Zettabyte with 4K-sectors), as we got GPT with 64Bit-LBA.

    Seagate Momentus XT 500GB 7200RPM
    Seagate Momentus 7200.5 750GB 7200RPM for 9.5mm (which modern Macs are, according to the Seagate support, they get shipped to the distributors end-July to mid-August, but the support guy said that those are his boss's words and means rather end-August, so expect them early to mid-September on retail channels such as NewEgg).
    If your patience is running out, get the Western Digital Scorpio Blue 750GB 5400RPM, which is widely available.

    Western Digital Scorpio Blue 1TB 5400RPM resp. Toshiba MK1059GSM 1TB 5400RPM for 12.5mm, the later only being cheaper, but they don't fit into Macs, because they're too high.

    Regarding to power consumption, even the WD Scorpio Black 7200RPM draws less power then the Toshiba 5400RPM drives Apple include in the MB/MBP/Mini. The Scorpio Blue even less, the Momentus XT just a little more than the Toshiba drives, but depending on the state of the drive, i.e. when the SSD is used, it may even consume a pinch less.

  16. strausd macrumors 68030

    Jul 11, 2008
    Have you looked into the Seagate Momentus XT? Partially mechanical and partially SSD. 7200 rpm mechanical and 4GB SSD. Goes up to 500 GB for like $130. It puts the most used files on the SSD for much faster reads.
  17. yoak macrumors 65816


    Oct 4, 2004
    Oslo, Norway
    2 things about the WD. I have the 640 blue. I had to download a script or something to stop it from spinning up and down all the time.
    It solved that problem, but now it spins constantly and I can't make it go to sleep other than closing the lid.
    Actually 3 things, it makes more noise than the stock hd, it seems to be because it's not a thight fit. If I press down on my Mbp where the hd is located it's much quieter.
  18. jon08 macrumors 68000

    Nov 14, 2008
    Hey guys,

    I currently have a WD Scorpio Blue 500GB in my MBP. I was wondering if the 750GB version of Blue is any faster than 500GB?

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