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5400 vs 7200 rpm...

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April 25, 2011 4:07:56 PM

I'll try to keep it brief. My girlfriend has a few years old HP desktop. Last year we replaced the CPU, mobo, and RAM so it has an E5400 2.7ghz and 4 gigs DDR2 800. We also upgraded to Win 7 64 bit. It was a nice upgrade and helped quite a bit... but...

She wants to upgrade it again. The main thing is once Windows is loaded it takes a while for it to become responsive. I've checked resource monitor and it shows the HDD is just going and going and going while CPU usage is fairly low, so I'm pretty certain that her 300gb 5400RPM drive is the culprit here.

We're looking at buying a 7200RPM 1TB drive.
Probably one of these:
Seagate 1TB Barracuda 7200.12 SATA II w/ 32MB Cache ($52)
Hitachi 1TB Deskstar 7K1000.C SATA II Internal Drive Kit w/ 32MB Cache ($70)
Western Digital 1TB Caviar Black 7200rpm SATA III w/ 64MB Cache ($80)

So the question is, first off, is it likely we'll see a decent performance gain? We'll probably partition 100gb on the drive for C: and then use the rest as media storage, and leave the 5400rpm drive for backups.

Secondly, she wants "the best" so I'm curious which of these 3 drives will be the best? It looks like probably the WD drive but I'm no HDD expert. Of course she only has SATA II available, but the WD drive is on sale and cheaper than its SATA II brother. Does that matter? Oh and I suggested a 2x 500gb RAID 0 set up but she's not interested.

And finally, she is somewhat interested in an SSD as she's seen how fast they are since I have one. But they are very expensive still and we're also going to upgrade the monitor, GPU, and PSU so all together it's already going to be over $400 so I think the SSD will be held off until much later.

More about : 5400 7200 rpm

a b G Storage
April 25, 2011 4:24:10 PM

the sataIII WD will revert back to sataII when connected. it would be my choice in the lineup you selected.

you will notice a difference in start up times and some of the sluggishness will go away however you will still have some. 10,000rpm drives (velociraptors) are loud and expensive but cut down on this even more.

the ideal solution would be to use a SSD for applications/OS and a HDD for music/photos/storage. you can get a 60gb sataII ssd for around $120.

starup times & general responsiveness are definitely notable. even on sata ii. i'd make sure to see if you need a bios flash though. i think the new sandforce controllers eliminated this issue.
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a c 143 G Storage
April 25, 2011 4:28:12 PM

You'll see a gain... but I can't quantify what she may consider decent :D  (only a SSD I can say for sure... decent :)  ).

Out of the three drives, I would say for the price the Seagate is the best but reliability, I would put into WD ballpark. I would actually recommend a fourth option, the Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB. It is the best of both worlds.. IMO. It is cheaper like the Seagate and reliable like the WD. It will actually out perform the WD on a SATA II port.
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April 25, 2011 4:38:51 PM

Well, like I said we've checked out some SSDs but even if we buck up on one now like a 60gb, she's still be stuck with a pretty small storage drive so I think we'd kind of have to buy an HDD anyway, and that means it's another $130 or so for a 60gb drive.

I'd love to get the Samsung F3, I've seen some reviews and it seems really great but unfortunately our local retailer doesn't have it. My gf is more of a "have it now!" type than an order online and wait a week type lol.

I'll see if we can maybe budget for the Seagate and an SSD, that'll be a little over $500 for everything though. Might be more than it's worth right now, although, I suppose the nice thing is in the future it's only another few hundred for a sandy bridge upgrade and then it'll be a pretty sweet PC.
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a c 117 G Storage
April 25, 2011 5:51:45 PM

Do a hardware test on the drive, either it's going bad or you have a virus. Even a 5400 rpm drive should not be having a hard time loading Windows. Although that's moot if you get a new hard-drive anyway, but if it tests OK you can just format it and use it for backups.

Newegg will ship an F3 within a couple of days. Or go with the WD Black. Hitachi and Seagate are not as good.
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April 25, 2011 7:18:17 PM

What sort of hardware test? I've never tested a HDD before.

Also, I should get her to run a defrag + optimize... she has a fear of losing her data if she defrags it because someone told her it wears out the drive faster or something. I've tried explaining that it's safe but... we'll see...

Anyway thanks for all the suggestions guys!
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a c 117 G Storage
April 26, 2011 1:43:13 PM

wolfram23 said:
What sort of hardware test? I've never tested a HDD before.

Also, I should get her to run a defrag + optimize... she has a fear of losing her data if she defrags it because someone told her it wears out the drive faster or something. I've tried explaining that it's safe but... we'll see...

Anyway thanks for all the suggestions guys!


Drives were made to be used pretty much 24/7, running a defrag every month or 2 won't hurt anything.

For the drive test, the BIOS may have an option to run a test on the drive, or a boot disk like Ultimate Boot CD has several drive utilities for different vendors.

In my view, even a suspected bad drive is better to replace than deal with a crash later on. I just picked up a 1gig F3 for $55, cheap to keep 14 years of kid pictures safe.
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April 26, 2011 2:33:39 PM

Well I cleared up a bit of junk on her HDD and ran a defrag and optimization. It was only 5% fragmented but there were chunks of deleted data throughout so the optimization was definitely needed. It seems to be running a little smoother now. We're still exploring the options but anyway thanks for the help.
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April 26, 2011 2:34:00 PM

Best answer selected by wolfram23.
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