Why I will be choosing a 4200rpm hard drive (probably)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by superleccy, Jun 10, 2007.

  1. superleccy macrumors 6502a

    superleccy

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2004
    Location:
    That there big London
    #1
    Hi

    Have been thinking long and hard about which BTO hard drive to get in my new SR MBP. I've come to a conclusion but I thought I'd post it here to get some second opinions.

    My needs:
    • It is important for me to be able to carry around all my stuff (particularly my iTunes, iPhoto and EyeTV collections) without having to cart around an external hard drive;
    • Today I just have 120Gb of stuff I want to keep on the HD of my MBP - but I want this machine to last as long as possible. For every computer I've ever owned since 1995, a creaking over-stuffed hard drive has been the main trigger for me buying a new machine;
    • I'll be doing some multi-track live music recording using GarageBand and possibly Logic Express in the future - but not very often and not when I'm "out and about".

    My solution:
    My reasoning:
    • The slower spindle speed of the 4200RPM 200Gb drive will be partly compensated by the higher data density.
    • I can't afford (OK, don't want) to wail until July to get the 7200RPM 160Gb drive.
    • The performance of any hard drive decreases at it nears capacity. If I got 160Gb, I'd be running it to near-full capacity for a greater duration of my machine's lifetime than if I got the 200Gb.
    • When using applications that absolutely must have a fast HD, I'll plug in the LaCie I mentioned above.

    My sources:
    • Various threads on this foum plus this.

    Would be very interested to hear ideas in support or against my thinking. Maybe you'll make me change my mind!

    Thanks in advance
    Superleccy
     
  2. SC68Cal macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
    #2
    Wow. That's a lot of data.

    Only thing I would maybe look into is the price that they charge for the BTO option vs just upping the size of that external FW drive to a Terabyte Raid.

    Or versus purchasing the hard drive and installing it yourself, if you are so inclined.

    I'm not sure if Apple charges BTO hard drives like they charge for ram.

    Otherwise, looks like you've got a plan, good luck!
     
  3. FleurDuMal macrumors 68000

    FleurDuMal

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    #3
    Tbh, I'm not even sure how much the average user would notice the difference in speed between 4,000rpm, 5,000rpm and the 7,000rpm. Perhaps for intense video editing, where you're messing with massive files.
     
  4. Igantius macrumors 65816

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    Apr 29, 2007
    #4
    The 7200 would certainly be useful when audio editing.

    Overall, well thought out!
     
  5. Super Macho Man macrumors 6502a

    Super Macho Man

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    #5
    Careful with that RAID 0. If just one of the two drives fails, you've lost ALL your data on those two drives.
     
  6. superleccy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    superleccy

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    Oct 31, 2004
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    #6
    BTO 200Gb 4200RPM is an extra £60.

    Good point. Lacie 1TB 7200RPM RAID is just £9 more than the 200Gb LittleBigDisk (RRP). But the LBD is smaller does not need an external power supply - which is nice. Something to think about, cheers.

    Yes. A few years down the line I will always have that option if I think it's worth the risk by then. Maybe there'll be a compatible 7200RPM 250Gb drive a couple of years down the line... or better!

    SL
     
  7. uicandrew macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    #7
    i was also waffling between 160gb 7200rpm and the 250gb 4200rpm (for the mbp 17)

    the barefeats article did it for me (i really hope there aren't any kickbacks with them)

    the key data from that article was that

    the 7200rpm speed hard drives are the fastest when EMPTY.

    but once you start adding data (they used 74gb in their test), that's when the 4200rpm performance increases and the 7200rpm performance decreases


    but if you're getting a large hard drive, that would mean that you have a NEED for the large capacity, or else why have the large capacity in the first place?
     
  8. chipchen macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2002
    #8
    umm... I would just get it stock and throw in a 250GB 5400 RPM drive. Space and speed.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152094

    Oh, and apps that need speed... plugging in a faster external doesn't do anything. Unless it's say photoshop and you set the scratch disk to the external, other than that... it will still run slightly slower.

    And the higher density doesn't compensate for the slower speed.
     
  9. JeffR macrumors member

    JeffR

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Location:
    DC Metro
    #9
    Partioning scheme

    I also ordered the 200Gb 4200 rpm drive. I am planning on partitioning it into a system and a data partition. That way, the smaller system partition gets the outer (faster) rim of the disk, and the seek times are reduced -- at least according to this article. It's the concept of partial stroking -- a smaller partition means the drive head doesn't have to travel as far during the seek operation. So will you be able to tell the difference between a 50Gb @ 4200 and a 160Gb @ 5600? Also factor in the increased density of the 200Gb drive. I suspect that for most users, it comes out to be a wash.

    Not everyone agrees with his math, so YMMV. But I am confident that even if there is no major real world gain, there is also no loss. Besides, coming from a Unix background, I like to have my system files and user data separated. Who knows, maybe with ZFS in the works it'll make for a simpler upgrade as well.

    Jeff
     
  10. Atomic-Ed macrumors regular

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    Jun 6, 2007
    #10
    I agree completely and 4200rpm drives have really poor performance on anything disk intensive. I would really consider a 5400rpm larger capacity drive.
     
  11. SC68Cal macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
    #11
    Valid points. I know that UNIX and Linux like to have seperate partitions for their swap files. Can't comment much on it, since Apple only uses the shceme for the UFS. Which they really ran through the wringer to support Apple Double :(

    They just need to make a filesystem that is a good netizen, and doesn't leave little poopies everywhere, like .DS_Store and ._filename to satisfy legacy things.
     
  12. superleccy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    superleccy

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    Oct 31, 2004
    Location:
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    #12
    I thought this drive was physically too big for the 15" MBP. I'll check it out, cheers.

    But, yes setting my scratch disk to be external Lacie - or rather keeping my GarageBand / Logic Express project files on there whilst I'm recording/editing them - that was the plan.

    I know the higher density doesn't entirely compensate for the slower speed. My reasoning was that increased density will not improve seek time at all, but would improve continuous read/write time - although possibly still not to 5400RPM levels. But then, if I got the 160Gb drive I'd loose the benefit because it would be nearly full from day 1.

    Cheers
    SL
     
  13. superleccy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    superleccy

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    #13
    Ooo cripes yes, I've been stung by that before! Something to factor into my backup design. :cool:

    Thanks for the reminder.
    SL
     
  14. elithrar macrumors 6502

    elithrar

    Joined:
    May 31, 2007
    #14
    Personally, decided to order my MBP with the standard 160GB 5400rpm drive, and will be upgrading to a 250GB, 5400rpm WD or Samsung over the next month. I'm preferring the WD because it keeps up with the 7200rpm Seagates [check the DIY thread on the 1st/2nd page of this forum] in benchmarks. I definitely need the extra space, and prefer to have as much data with me as opposed to sitting at home on an external -- which is useless to me if I'm, well, using my laptop for the reason I bought it: portability.

    I'd really suggest doing the same; it's a little trickier, but you get the increased capacity and the speed. The density of the 250GB drives, even at 5400rpm, is enough to keep up with the smaller 7200rpm drives. And the benchmarks posted in that thread definitely show how close they are across both seeks, reads and writes.
     
  15. BryanLyle macrumors 6502a

    BryanLyle

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    Aug 2, 2005
    #15
    I ordered the 250gb HD on my MBP 17. I am tired of running out of disk space and having to rely on external drives. This should at least a few months before it fills up :)
     
  16. Atomic-Ed macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2007
    #16
    I think your plan is a very good one and far better than the OP 4200rpm considerations. A little extra research, as you suggested up front, will yield him a much better end result.
     
  17. superleccy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    superleccy

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    Oct 31, 2004
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    #17
    Thanks for all your replies.

    Basically this is boiling down to whether I feel confident to take a screwdriver to my MBP.

    Hmmm.

    I am normally pretty good at dismantling and re-assembling things, but if I screw up I won't be able to afford to replace it and I'll be stuck with my iBook G4 for the next two years (this is how long it has taken me to save up for the MBP).

    Maybe I'll feel better about DIY in 12 months time - in which case I just need to pick a hard drive I can live with for the next year or so.

    Cheers
    SL
     
  18. FleurDuMal macrumors 68000

    FleurDuMal

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    #18
    Won't that be kissing goodbye to your warranty though? :confused:

    I would do the same, but I'd be worried about my warranty. And if this revision of MBPs are as unreliable as the last revision, I want my warranty intact!
     
  19. BryanLyle macrumors 6502a

    BryanLyle

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2005
    #19
    That is the exact reason why I wasn't going to do the upgrade myself. Doing it is pretty straightforward, but it also voids your warranty immediately.

    If we were talking about a Macbook, it would be a no brainer.
     
  20. whateverandever macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 8, 2006
    Location:
    Baltimore
    #20
    Hard drives don't slow down as they fill up. They slow down as they fragment. Mac OS defrags on the fly. A full 160GB 7200rpm drive will blow the pants off any 4200 rpm drive.

    In my experience, 4200 rpm drives are unbearably slow.

    I love the 7200 rpm drive for quick load times on small apps. I rarely ever have the long reads where a larger drive would actually benefit.
     
  21. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    #21
    It doesn't void your warranty. Apple has no way to tell if the computer has been opened up as long as you don't **** anything up. If you have to send the computer in for service for anything, just put the old hard drive in and they won't know the difference.
     
  22. superleccy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    superleccy

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2004
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    That there big London
    #22
    Yes they slow down as they fragment - which (as you say) isn't a problem for OS X. But don't they also slow down as they fill up because they fill up from the outside-in, and data density decreases the further away from the edge you go?

    (OK, I'm still not claiming this means this justifies buying a 4200rpm drive). ;)

    True. But it's the "**** anything up" I'm frightened of, in conjunction with sod's/muphy's law :eek:

    SL
     
  23. tejota1911 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2006
    #23
    I just installed the 7200RPM 160GB drive in my MBP and it wasn't very difficult at all. It literally took about 20 minutes to swap it out. Make sure you have the right tools(00 Phillips & #6 Torx screwdrivers) and you will be fine. There are very detailed instructions available at www.ifixit.com Don't rush and follow the instructions.

    Personally, I wouldn't even think about installing a 4200RPM drive in my computer. I don't care how big it is. I upgraded from a Fujitsu 120GB 5400RPM drive, and the Seagate Momentus 7200.2 drive is noticeably faster. Booting, opening programs, transferring files, everything is quicker with the 7200RPM drive.
     
  24. uicandrew macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 19, 2006
    #24
    is there ANY data that disputes the barefeats data that shows the 7200rpm hard drives slow down when it is filled with data? (and that the 4200rpm hard drives speed up when it is filled with data)

    I mean, it is useless to have a fast hard drive when it is fast only when it is a fresh install without all your information on it.
     
  25. uicandrew macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    #25
    if you don't do the upgrade yourself, then it would be an authorized apple service provider. I posed the question in another thread, and i was given the rate of $80 per hour for their services.

    since they won't charge you a partial hour, you're talking about paying $80 + the cost of the hard drive later on.

    i thought about asking another forum member (who regularly cracks open their macbook pro) and paying them to upgrade it, but just to ship/insure the macbook pro back and forth ($20 each way), plus to pay for their time, it would be better just to take it to a authorized service provider to guarantee continued warranty coverage
     

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