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MBHockey
08-13-2006, 12:00 PM
My Titanium PowerBook went out of warranty last week on its 3rd birthday. I'm looking into replacing it, so that i know what i'll get if something does in fact break. I'm probably going to go with a MacBook Pro, and i wanted to know about the drive speed.

Is a 7200 rpm drive louder than a 5400?

Does it make the computer hotter?

One of the things i would have liked to have in this computer was a faster HD...this one is 4200 RPM i believe.

Are there any other advantages/disadvantages associated with a faster HD in a notebook?

trevor
08-13-2006, 12:11 PM
1. Maybe, but you can not answer this based solely on the rpm. Rpm is not really as important a statistic as most people seem to think. It would be better if you told us a specific 7200 rpm drive, and a specific 5400 rpm drive.

2. Probably, but again, you cannot answer this based solely on the rpm.

3. If, when you say faster, you are talking about the data transfer speed, then there are most definitely advantages. If, when you say faster, you are talking about the spindle speed, then maybe, maybe not.

As hard drives progress, the data transfer speed gets faster. The 'generation' of hard drive is a MUCH better indicator of data transfer speed than the spindle speed, which is a trivial statistic.

There were 5400 rpm drives from 1990. But if you compare the data transfer speed from one of those 1990 drives to a 5400 rpm drive today, you will find out that today's drive is far far faster. In that comparison, what did the spindle speed add? Nothing--both drives have the same spindle speed.

People often add a new drive to their computer, and then compare a three or four year old drive's speed to the speed of a drive from today's generations. Again, the new drive is faster. This will be true whether or not the spindle speed was faster.

Now, on the other hand, if you tell us a specific 5400 rpm drive, and a specific 7200 rpm drive, THEN we can give you some valid comparisons. Just going by spindle speed alone is foolish.

Trevor

MBHockey
08-13-2006, 12:14 PM
Understood Trevor, and thanks for that.

I am talking about the 5400 RPM 120 GB HD vs. the 7200 100 GB HD that are available for the MacBook Pro.

Currently, I am willing to give up those 20 GB of space (i currently have a 60 GB HD and it's got about 20GB free) for the faster drive. Is that foolish? Is the performance increase enough to justify this?

solipsism
08-13-2006, 12:20 PM
Don't forget the extra power consumption involved with the faster drive.

PS: I'm going to put in a request at MacWorld to do real world tests of transmission, noise, heat, power of HDDs. If such a comparison already exists please let me know.

voldenuit
08-13-2006, 12:28 PM
Whatever you prefer, buy the bare-bone version from Apple, then add bigger disks and more RAM at competitive prices. You get to keep/sell whatever came with the Mac and still save money...

You can even install a 160 GB Seagate (5400 rpm) if you like ;)

trevor
08-13-2006, 12:35 PM
This is a slightly old article, but it might be about the drive that Apple uses in the MacBook Pro for a 100 GB 7200 rpm drive: The Seagate Momentus 7200.1: http://barefeats.com/hard56.html

Or, it might not. If anyone knows for sure what Apple is using for the MacBook Pro, that would be useful information.

Trevor

bedouin
08-13-2006, 12:55 PM
I've been contemplating the installation of an equal or greater sized 7200 RPM drive into my MacBook. My only concern is really heat related and any possible oddities or damage that could be caused because of it. Reduced battery life is not a big deal to me, since I'm usually in a place with electric available and heat doesn't bother me much since the machine is rarely on my lap. Would a 7200 RPM drive produce enough heat to make the fans run significantly more? Fan noise does bother me.

trevor
08-13-2006, 12:59 PM
bedouin, you should check out the article I linked to above. Again, it's slightly old (September of 2005), but much of what it says I think you will find interesting. For example:

WILL A 7200RPM NOTEBOOK DRIVE DRAIN MY BATTERY FASTER?
The short answer is, "Probably not." You see, the 7200rpm drives are as much as 28% faster doing random reads and writes compared to the 5400rpm drives. They are as much as 80% faster than 4200rpm drives. Yet the Hitachi Travelstar 7K100 uses the same amount of power as the Travelstar 5K100. The Seagate Momentus 7200.1 uses only 10% more power than the Momentus 4200.2. The Momentus 5400.3 uses less power than the Momentus 4200.2. My theory is that the "speed to power" ratio is so good with the 7200rpm drives that the net effect on the battery is negligible.

The Hitachi 7K100 shouldn't produce more heat than the 5K100 (since use the same wattage when active), but the Seagate 7200.1 will likely run hotter than the 5400.3. Assuming the factory specs are accurate, the Hitachi 7K100 will generate less heat and use less power than the Seagate 7200.1. Here's the kicker: The Toshiba MK8026GAX 80GB 5400rpm drive that came in our G4/1.5GHz PowerBook uses more wattage than either of the 7200rpm drives mentioned above. We're definitely going to upgrade our 15"!

Here's the factory specs on power usage, performance, and noise levels:
<snip>

Copyright 2005 Bare Feats

Trevor

styrafome
08-13-2006, 01:17 PM
Thanks Trevor. Always good to bust a myth like "Gee, the drive's faster, it must use more power." I also remember when users got so angry at Apple for upgrading new PowerBooks with 4200RPM drives from 5400RPM drives...because they didn't realize the 4200RPM drives used a new recording technology that gave the new 4200s more throughput than the old 5400s.

As another example, does the faster speed of Bluetooth 2.0 drain your battery faster than Bluetooth 1.0? No, in many cases you save power. Why? Because of the faster speed, you can cut actual transmission time greatly, so the radio can spend more time resting.

Performance is a complicated thing to compare.

MBHockey
08-13-2006, 01:35 PM
Is 7200 RPM the fastest HD for a laptop possible?

guardian34
08-13-2006, 02:03 PM
I believe so MB. I know 10K and even 15k exist for 3.5" drives, but probably not laptop-sized 2.5"; Besides, heat could be more of an issue for those drives if they did exist.

Edit: Personally, if I were to pick between spindle speed or capacity, I'd take capacity.

MBHockey
08-13-2006, 02:04 PM
Thanks everyone

CAlvarez
08-13-2006, 02:56 PM
We have one MBP with the 120/5400 and one with the 100/7200, and can tell you that the faster drive definitely results in a faster system. It's impossible to say exactly how much, since we did the testing rather casually, but it's both measurable and noticeable. However, it only makes a difference when reading and writing, it obviously doesn't affect things like video playback, games, working on files already loaded, etc.

ArcticStones
08-14-2006, 04:40 AM
Whatever you prefer, buy the bare-bone version from Apple, then add bigger disks and more RAM at competitive prices. You get to keep/sell whatever came with the Mac and still save money...

You can even install a 160 GB Seagate (5400 rpm) if you like ;)

I’m really pleased after I took your advice to heart, successfully installing the 160 GB Seagate notebook drive (the largest available) in my 3.5-year-old PowerBook. That’s almost triple the original 60 GB drive. Works like a dream!

Shouln’t this be one of the standard configuartions offered by Apple...?

MBHockey
08-14-2006, 08:35 AM
Yeah, i'll probably do the same. I'll order the minimum amount of ram and the lower cost HD and just buy then elsewhere...

I'll be looking for 2.5" Laptop drives, correct?

solipsism
08-14-2006, 09:34 AM
Shoulnít this be one of the standard configuartions offered by Apple...?

What kind of speeds are you getting from the 160GB HDD? I ask because of this BareFeats article (http://www.barefeats.com/quad07.html).

trevor
08-14-2006, 10:10 AM
Hi solipsism, did you accidentally link to the wrong article? The one you link to is "SPECIAL REPORT: Internal Hard Drives in The Mac Pro", and is not about PowerBooks or any notebook computers.

Trevor

guardian34
08-14-2006, 11:19 AM
This one perhaps? http://www.barefeats.com/5472.html

solipsism
08-14-2006, 11:32 AM
Trevor, I linked to the correct article. The article states that 4 Seagate 750GB @7200RPM HDDs are extremely slow in the new Mac Pro. Is this a HW issue or something that can be handled with a firmware upgrade?

Since Apple isn't making a dime on any of these 3rd-party hardware upgrades I wouldn't put it past them to limit the upgrade capabilities of their consumer hardware products.

I then wondered if their notebooks could not correctly handle the 160GB drive, especially in a 3.5 year old Powerbook. Hence my previous question to Arctic Stones, "What kind of [read/write] speeds are you getting...?".

trevor
08-14-2006, 12:58 PM
Oh, now I see the connection.

Note that the Seagate 7200.10 drives acted oddly in the PowerMac G5 as well--there's some suspicion that those 7200.10 drives (of which the 750 GB model is one of the family) have not really had all the kinks worked out of them yet (http://barefeats.com/hard78.html):

CAUTION
We must alert you to something before you run out and buy the Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 SATA drive. We've had reports from expert sources that there can be problems with booting and mounting. Plus, Seagate has reportedly made changes to the hardware and firmware on the drive for their most recent manufacturing run -- which may or may not address the issues mentioned above. If you plan to buy one or more of these drives, we recommend you use a reputable dealer who takes returns without charging restocking fees in case it doesn't perform to your satisfaction.

I very much doubt that the 160 GB 2.5" drives will have the same problem, and the article that guardian34 links to above seems to agree with that belief.

Trevor

JDV
08-15-2006, 12:40 PM
The only drives I've seen at 10,000 or 15,000 RPM are SCSI drives, and I know of no way to connect one of those to a MacBook (or much of any laptop). 7200 are the fastest IDE or SATA drives at the moment. Their speed may also depend on drive caching, so two 7200 RPM drives may have different r/w speeds if one has a large cache than the other. As far as the noise of a drive, that is highly variable and may have as much to do with the mounting as with the drive. Cases with "quiet" drives usually used rubber cushions on the mounting rails to reduce vibration. ALL drives are going to make some noise. It's just that some noises are worse than others. A very high-pitched sound may indicate bearings going out, though that's less common in modern drives. There is going to be a certain amount of "clicking" when the drive heads move over the platters...that is the mechanical part of the system and can at least tell you that the drive isn't thoroughly dead.

While faster drives may well run slightly hotter, it isn't really a significant problem in most instances. The difference isn't huge.

Joe VanZandt

MBHockey
08-15-2006, 12:56 PM
Thanks for that JDV.

I believe i am almost 100% set on ordering a MacBook Pro once they get the Core 2 Duos. I will probably get 1gb ram in one slot, and buy an extra 1gb from crucial. I will also change out the HD and order a faster one online.

Now the only question remains...15.4" or 17" and if it'll be matte or glossy :D

voldenuit
08-15-2006, 02:56 PM
The only drives I've seen at 10,000 or 15,000 RPM are SCSI drives, and I know of no way to connect one of those to a MacBook (or much of any laptop). 7200 are the fastest IDE or SATA drives at the moment.

Not quite, at least Western Digital builds 10.000 rpm 3,5" SATA drives (Raptor).

We do however agree that there are no 2,5" disks with rpm>7200 for now.

MBHockey
08-15-2006, 03:17 PM
voldenuit, i think he meant for laptops not desktops.

JDV
08-15-2006, 09:53 PM
No, I was just mistaken and hadn't seen the Raptor drives. Thanks for the correction and update!

Joe VanZandt

mkoreiwo
11-02-2006, 11:33 AM
An old thread, but I was looking for feedback about drive speeds....

I just replaced the Seagate 100/7200 drince in my Macbook Pro with the Hitachi 160/5400. I was shocked at the difference in "perceived" performance. Carlos is right... the speed when accessing the disk is definitely slower. I actually feel I am on a slower machine!

I really had no choice in the matter, as I needed a larger HD to accommodate a viable windows partition for boot camp at work. Now at least I have room for both operating systems AND room to install some s/w on the windows side.

Anyone else have a similar experience?

ArcticStones
11-02-2006, 11:53 AM
I just replaced the Seagate 100/7200 drince in my Macbook Pro with the Hitachi 160/5400. I was shocked at the difference in "perceived" performance. Carlos is right... the speed when accessing the disk is definitely slower. I actually feel I am on a slower machine!

...Anyone else have a similar experience?
Well, this summer I upgraded to a Seagate Momentus 160 GB harddrive in my old PowerBook. I had to; my old disk crashed. It felt luxurious to move from 60GB, increasing capacity by a whopping 166%! :)

I have not noticed any significant speed problem. The few quirks and bizarre delays Iím noticing may well be attributable to software, and are in fact not unlike what I experienced before the upgrade. On the other hand, I have not measured disk speed in any objective way.

My PowerBook is fairly old (a 1 GHz with 1GB RAM purchased in March 2003).