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5400 RPM and 7200 RPM

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December 3, 2009 9:30:12 AM

Hi,

I am planning to buy a laptop. I have two options for selecting the HDD. one is 320 GB with 7200RPM and the other one is 500GB with 5400RPM. I am planning to play games also in the laptop. Will it make much difference if I choose the 500GB HDD. I need to know whether the modern games depends on the RPM of the HDD??

More about : 5400 rpm 7200 rpm

a b G Storage
December 3, 2009 10:04:59 AM

The 7200 RPM drive will eat up your battery a little quicker but you will get better overall performance from it than the 5400 RPM drive.
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December 3, 2009 1:44:36 PM

if you want higher disc transfer speed, go for the 7.200 rpm. if you want longer battery life go for the 5.400 rpm
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December 4, 2009 7:40:36 AM

Hmm would 5400rpm be a better choice in terms of reliability/lifespan?
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a b G Storage
December 4, 2009 7:48:36 AM

Lifespan for the battery would be better. Not the HDD. Both 5400 and 7200 have the same reliability.

Its just a matter of luck if your HDD fails.

But in case of Seagate 7200.11, its lack of knowledge on the buyers part! :kaola: 
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a b G Storage
December 4, 2009 7:53:29 AM

True, but the 7200.12 is better, and neither is a notebook drive anyways :) 

(Speaking of which, I just got a Barracuda XT 2TB, and it flies. Peak read speed is >135MB/s, with 12.5-13ms access times)
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December 4, 2009 7:58:27 AM

hell_storm2004 said:
Lifespan for the battery would be better. Not the HDD. Both 5400 and 7200 have the same reliability.

Its just a matter of luck if your HDD fails.

But in case of Seagate 7200.11, its lack of knowledge on the buyers part! :kaola: 


Thanks. So does that mean even 10,000rpm hard drives should have the same reliability/lifespan as a 5400rpm drive?

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a b G Storage
December 4, 2009 8:09:40 AM

In some cases, they're better. For example, the Seagate Cheetah enterprise drives, which spin at 10,000 and 15,000 RPM, are more reliable than almost any desktop drive. It's more about the specific design than it is about the spin speed.
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December 4, 2009 8:10:23 PM

I got 5400 RPM drives in my desktop and they are fast enough. It's not really an important factor in performances.

If you want speed and efficiency, you should consider a SSD.
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December 4, 2009 8:20:40 PM

I wouldn't buy a new laptop with a 5400RPM hard drive. Either 7200 or spend some serious money and go SSD.
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December 5, 2009 4:57:28 AM

Just found the answer to my question.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/samsung-spinpoint-5...

"High spindle speeds can be considered the trade-off against high capacities, as vibration, heat dissipation, reliability, durability, and power consumption (among other factors) become an issue with faster rotation. Hence, the fastest drives come with much smaller platter diameters to meet all of these demands, and hard drive makers will try to avoid the highest rotation speeds in the mainstream for these reasons, as capacity is easier to sell."

As for me, I'd choose 5400rpm since I'm just a paranoid, ordinary user and don't care much about speed.


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a b D Laptop
a c 114 G Storage
December 5, 2009 3:12:53 PM

That doesn't apply to your comparison for a different reason:

"High spindle speeds can be considered the trade-off against high capacities, as vibration, heat dissipation, reliability, durability, and power consumption (among other factors) become an issue with faster rotation.. Hence, the fastest drives come with much smaller platter diameters to meet all of these demands, and hard drive makers will try to avoid the highest rotation speeds in the mainstream for these reasons, as capacity is easier to sell."

The reason it doesn't apply is twofold:

1. Both platters in your comparison are exactly the same size.

2. Neither of the drives in question falls into the "high spindle speeds" or "fastest drives" category. What they are referring to is the practice of sticking 2.5" "notebook size" platters into 10k or 15k desktop drives.

7200 rpm drives are the "standard" on the desktop and long proven reliable for longer periods than we typically keep computers. Running 7200 rpm on a 2.5" notebook drive certainly puts less of a strain on drive components than it does on a 3.5" desktop drive. The so called "green" 5400 rpm drives are simply engineered to save power and cut heat dissipation. You want 3-6 hours of batter life and want a bit less heavy copper (heat sinks) in your notebook, get 5400 rpm. You want 33% faster loading times and speed, get a 7200 rpm drive.



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December 5, 2009 4:50:42 PM

I just can't understand why anyone would actually pick a 5400RPM drive over a 7200RPM drive as long as price isn't an issue (not that big of a price difference either). If you're worried about battery life, upgrade to a bigger battery or control power settings via the OS.
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a b G Storage
December 5, 2009 6:09:33 PM

Here is something you should consider when comparing the performance between these two drives.
If they both use the same number of platters, the 500GB HDD will have a much higher data density (+56%) which will result in a higher performance despite the lower rotation speed (-33%).
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a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
December 5, 2009 7:25:44 PM

^ sorry but the density of the drive will not make up for the rotational speed difference, no way, no how. There is no physical way possible a 5400 rpm drive will ever compete with a decent, quality 7200rpm drive.
7200rpm is not considered "high speed", it is the normal average speed of today's harddrives. 5400 rpm drives are used because they are considered "green", or energy saving, and they are slow.
High spindle speeds are talking about 10,000-15,000rpm high performance drives. Personally, I think 5400rpms drives are slow as cold molassas, and yes I can tell a big difference and no I would not own a PC.... desktop, laptop or other wise that had a 5400rpm drive in it.
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December 5, 2009 9:15:23 PM

binju said:
Hi,

I am planning to buy a laptop. I have two options for selecting the HDD. one is 320 GB with 7200RPM and the other one is 500GB with 5400RPM. I am planning to play games also in the laptop. Will it make much difference if I choose the 500GB HDD. I need to know whether the modern games depends on the RPM of the HDD??



Well, the games don't really depend on the RPM of the HDD, but choosing a 7.2 K over a 5.4 K will make a difference in performance. But, you also have to look at seek time and cache. And, since I'm guessing you're using SATA, you should look and see if it's SATA I (1.5 Gbps) or SATA II (3 Gbps).

And, if heat is really a big factor to you, you should go with a 5.4 K. But, just know that, because it's at a much lower RPM than the other option, it will be much slower. I have a 30 GB secondary drive in my primary computer which is 5400 RPM, and it's slow as f u c k.

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a b G Storage
December 6, 2009 6:23:42 AM

Mimoso said:
Here is something you should consider when comparing the performance between these two drives.
If they both use the same number of platters, the 500GB HDD will have a much higher data density (+56%) which will result in a higher performance despite the lower rotation speed (-33%).

Nope. The 500GB drive's increased density comes from two factors. First is an increase in the number of tracks on the drive. This makes zero difference in speed, but improves capacity. Second is an increase in the data density along a track. This increases both speed and capacity. Assuming both increase at about the same rate, the speed of a hard drive in sequential reads and writes will scale with the square root of the capacity per platter. So, the 500GB drive will have sequentials that are (500/320)^0.5 times faster, or 25 percent. This means that the increased rotational speed will have a bigger impact, all other things being equal.

In all honesty, they should perform about identically in sequentials (such as large file copying), but the 7200 will significantly win for random access, which is more important for boot or loading times.
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a b D Laptop
a c 415 G Storage
December 6, 2009 2:43:31 PM

cjl said:
In all honesty, they should perform about identically in sequentials (such as large file copying), but the 7200 will significantly win for random access, which is more important for boot or loading times.

This is a key point. I don't know how many times I've seen people look at sequential transfer rates and conclude that the disk with the faster transfer rate is better, period. WRONG!

In fact, sequential transfer rates and random access times are two completely different measurements, and having a good rating for one of them (transfer rate, for example) has nothing to do with whether the other one (random access time) is also good.

For most general-purpose use, random access times make a much bigger difference in overall performance, so that's what people should be paying the most attention to - and a drive that spins faster has a faster random access time.
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December 6, 2009 3:02:22 PM

I upgraded to a 500 GB 5400 RPM drive in my "portable" laptop for battery life. For my work laptop, which is bigger and on which I want faster disk speed, I went with a 7200 RPM model.
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a b G Storage
December 6, 2009 6:04:35 PM

cjl said:
Nope. The 500GB drive's increased density comes from two factors. First is an increase in the number of tracks on the drive. This makes zero difference in speed, but improves capacity. Second is an increase in the data density along a track. This increases both speed and capacity. Assuming both increase at about the same rate, the speed of a hard drive in sequential reads and writes will scale with the square root of the capacity per platter. So, the 500GB drive will have sequentials that are (500/320)^0.5 times faster, or 25 percent. This means that the increased rotational speed will have a bigger impact, all other things being equal.

In all honesty, they should perform about identically in sequentials (such as large file copying), but the 7200 will significantly win for random access, which is more important for boot or loading times.

Random access time is the sum of average latency and average seek time. The average latency will be lower (better) with the 7200RPM drive but the average seek time will be higher (worse) compared to the 500GB drive because the drive heads have to move further (obviously assuming both drives contain the same data).
So I think it's safe to say the performance difference between a 320GB/7200RPM drive and a 500GB/5400RPM drive is minimal at best. A lower price/GB, lower noise and lower power consumption may be much more attractive.

Some numbers:
Samsung HD501LJ 500GB 7200RPM: average access time over 100GB: 11.7ms
Samsung HD154UI 1.5TB 5400RPM: average access time over 100GB: 11.4ms
The sequential speed of the 1.5TB drive is more than 30% higher.
Obviously these numbers will be less dramatic when comparing a 320GB with a 500GB drive but it's just to show that 5400RPM drives can be faster than 7200RPM drives.
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a b G Storage
December 7, 2009 1:10:02 AM

Mimoso said:
Random access time is the sum of average latency and average seek time. The average latency will be lower (better) with the 7200RPM drive but the average seek time will be higher (worse) compared to the 500GB drive because the drive heads have to move further (obviously assuming both drives contain the same data).
So I think it's safe to say the performance difference between a 320GB/7200RPM drive and a 500GB/5400RPM drive is minimal at best. A lower price/GB, lower noise and lower power consumption may be much more attractive.

Some numbers:
Samsung HD501LJ 500GB 7200RPM: average access time over 100GB: 11.7ms
Samsung HD154UI 1.5TB 5400RPM: average access time over 100GB: 11.4ms
The sequential speed of the 1.5TB drive is more than 30% higher.
Obviously these numbers will be less dramatic when comparing a 320GB with a 500GB drive but it's just to show that 5400RPM drives can be faster than 7200RPM drives.

That isn't exactly a fair comparison, since the size difference isn't nearly as dramatic. In addition, that is assuming that the file distribution is identical, which is not by any means a guarantee.
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a b G Storage
December 7, 2009 4:02:54 PM

cjl said:
That isn't exactly a fair comparison, since the size difference isn't nearly as dramatic.

Yes, I know, that's what I said :) 
I'm not saying the 500GB/5400RPM drive will be faster, I don't even know which drives we're talking about. I'm just saying the performance gain is most likely minimal at best.
cjl said:

In addition, that is assuming that the file distribution is identical, which is not by any means a guarantee.

You can get this guarantee by creating two partitions on the 500GB: 320GB for all the OS and applications and the remaining 180GB for data.
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a b D Laptop
a c 114 G Storage
December 10, 2009 10:06:22 PM

visa said:
I just can't understand why anyone would actually pick a 5400RPM drive over a 7200RPM drive as long as price isn't an issue (not that big of a price difference either). If you're worried about battery life, upgrade to a bigger battery or control power settings via the OS.


People who run server farms love 5400 rpm drives. Solves heat and pwoer issues for them
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June 13, 2012 10:03:20 PM

jitpublisher said:
^ sorry but the density of the drive will not make up for the rotational speed difference, no way, no how. There is no physical way possible a 5400 rpm drive will ever compete with a decent, quality 7200rpm drive.
7200rpm is not considered "high speed", it is the normal average speed of today's harddrives. 5400 rpm drives are used because they are considered "green", or energy saving, and they are slow.
High spindle speeds are talking about 10,000-15,000rpm high performance drives. Personally, I think 5400rpms drives are slow as cold molassas, and yes I can tell a big difference and no I would not own a PC.... desktop, laptop or other wise that had a 5400rpm drive in it.



Data density is indeed a major factor, and has more impact than rotational seed. Think a little, if drive A has twice the density of drive B that means the distance drive A's heads have to travel for the next 'bit' is halved compared to drive B. A 33% increase in speed does not make up for 50% less distance to travel.
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