Hard drive 5400 vs. 7200 RPM

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I'm planning to buy my first laptop in the near future and will be getting
7200 RPM (SATA) hard drives for it, but have a couple of questions.

First, my preliminary research leads me to believe that the dominant players
are Hitachi (with their TravelStar line) and Seagate (Momentus 7200.2). My
first question is really two parts:

A) Are there other brands / lines I should be considering and if so what are
B) Does either of these two (Seagate Momentus and Hitachi Travelstar) have a
significant advantage over the other or are they essentially identical?

My second question has to do with the popularity of 7200 RPM drives versus
their 5400 RPM counterparts. The web sites I've browsed seem to have a lot
more 5400 than 7200 models, which leads me to think that most laptop owners
settle for 5400. Is that correct, and if so why? Do laptop users just not
care that much about drive performance or does the greater cost and power
consumption of 7200 models discourage people from buying them?

Thanks in advance for your opinions.


Re: Hard drive 5400 vs. 7200 RPM

There is a huge (HUGE) cost difference between 5400 and 7200 rpm.  Also,
in terms of capacity, drives exist at 5400 that simply do not exist as
7200 rpm drives (at any cost).  You just have to decide how much the
extra speed is worth to you.  Most laptop users settle for 5400 rpm.

Western Digital, Fujitsu, Toshiba and a few other firms also make 2.5"
hard drives.

Tom Smith wrote:
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Re: Hard drive 5400 vs. 7200 RPM

Barry Watzman wrote:
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I have an Hitachi 80GB 7200rpm drive on a Sony GRV-670 2.8Ghz CPU.
Compared to my dual core desktop with 7200 rpm drives, the notebook
flies as if it had wings on its feet.  The original 3600 rpm drive was a

Given the capabilities of the new dual core CPUs that far exceed the
capabilities of my old 2.8Ghz single core CPU, a 5400 rpm drive must be
a serious liability in overall performance compared to a 7200 rpm drive.
A 10K rpm drive and any dual core CPU perhaps would match my current
CPU/7200 rpm drive .



Re: Hard drive 5400 vs. 7200 RPM

Tom Smith wrote:
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Hello Tom,

Generally, I'm not fond of anecdotal posts
about brand-name preferences but here goes:

My first Seagate experience was with a 5meg
HDD for an IBM-XT circa 1985.  Good stuff
since then, drives *made by* Seagate have
served me well.

My initial 2.5" experience was with an IBM
drive, 1440mb made in Hungary in FEB-97. It
still serves in a laptop that's used for
tuning the fuel injection and ignition on my
'vette.  It gets regular abuse and vibration
during 1/8th and 1/4 mile wide-open-throttle

My road warrior TPad was 'upgraded' with a
60g 5400 Hitachi drive last year and has
taken heavy travel abuse including a fall
from an overhead bin to a seat and then to
the deck.  Norton reports no bad sectors. I'm

Self-inflicted wound:  Early this year I
'suckered' for an ad by Frys for Maxtor
Personal Storage 3200 drives.  Bought two.
Long story made short -- Poor documentation.
  Seagate customer support has been polite
and sympathetic but limps along with a
regularly revised FAQ file constructed in
response to customer 'input.' Lesson:  Won't
again buy anything, "Assembled in China from
parts made in Thailand, Malaysia and China."

My all time record with drives:  a 3.5"
Fujitsu that has been running steady, save
power failures, for 13 years.  Too small for
storage, it now serves as boot & swap-file
drive in our Linux-Samba server--busiest
drive in the box!  Seagate, Hitachi, Fujitsu
-- all good in my book.  (Maxtor, hiding
under the Seagate label, not so good.)

Laptops, by their nature are a combination of
compromises not the least of which are
cooling and battery life--these interact with
your apps in a way that can make you very
pleased or very unahappy. You don't say what
applications you consider most important for
  this machine.

If your applications involve intensive
database access or are multi-threaded beyond
reason *and* you've opted for every byte of
RAM that will fit in the machine you may
benefit from a 7200.  If your needs are more
varied and you aren't maxing out the machine
with RAM then 5400 might be a more practical
and power economic choice.

If you are a road warrior, the time delay
going from zero RPM to being 'speed-stable'
might prove more important than track access
or rotational latency.  Spool up speed is far
better now than it was three or four years
ago.  Lousy implementation of ACPI in the
laptop (and how it works with your chosen OS)
may take a heavier hit than raw HDD performance.

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