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Laptop HDDs cache size

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September 1, 2003 8:15:41 AM

Hi there!

I know THG posted a recent article reviewing the benefits of upgrading from a 4200rpm laptop hdd to a 5400rpm or even a 7200rpm harddrive. The models tested however, all carried a cache size of 8mb. I found a model on Toshiba's site that offers 5400rpm with 16mb of cache. Obviously this doubling of the cache provides performance increase over the 5400rpm/8mb drives, but what I would really like to know is how would this 5400rpm/16mb drive stack up against Hitachi's 7200rpm/8mb cache drive? The Toshiba model comes in at 40GB and half the price tag of the Hitachi 60GB/7200rpm drive. Just trying to decide if the Hitachi drive is worth getting over the Toshiba one.

Many thanks!

(I know that on a byte/dollar comparison the Toshiba is the better deal, but how about from a strictly performance viewpoint? I've always purchased my upgrades based on the old 10-15% boost margin. As in, the new component would be between 10-15% faster than the older one. So would the Hitachi 7200RPM drive offer say, a 10% boost in performance? Like would WindowsXP boot 10% faster timewise, etc etc. I know that the 7200rpm offers faster seek times, and that's already attractive, would the bigger cache on the slower rotating harddrive balance it out in any way?)<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Ippy2 on 09/01/03 05:26 AM.</EM></FONT></P>

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September 1, 2003 9:07:10 AM

I would go for the cheaper one, unless you need the extra capacity. Considering normal laptop usage the benefits will be very small, especially since both drives are quite fast. The 7200rpm drive will likely draw your batteries empty faster. It may get hotter in the laptop -it may even cause the laptop to switch the CPU down to a lower frequency!


Theoretically the 7200 disk should be 33% faster than the 5400 disk. However, the lower data density negates this quite a bit. Besides, I have 512 MB RAM in my system, the hard disk should be able to fill this in roughly 10 secs. The rest of the Windows boot time is spent elsewhere (initializing hardware, reading and interpreting configuration etc). In other words, I doubt whether you'll get a significant overall performance improvement. How much exactly is very difficult to predict, depends too much on your configuration
<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by lunitic on 09/02/03 09:35 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
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