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I'm planning on buying a new Macbook Pro, and originally was going to get the 7200rpm 500gb option. I'd heard a while ago it will make computer games go faster (is this true...?). I've ALSO read that there are some issues with the 7200rpm 500gb drives and "clicking" as well as overheating and draining battery life faster as compared to the 5400rpm. Are any of these claims true? Does anyone know if running windows with bootcamp sees any of the above problems with the 7200rpm option in addition to osx?

Edit: At this point, I'm mostly interested in:

  1. How much does battery life change with the 7200rpm hard drive vs the 5400rpm hard drive?
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4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I got the 7200RPM fitted into my MBP (it's about 2-3 months old). I use VM Fusion all day long and wanted the best VM performance I could get. My MBP is on all day, 6 days a week, and it's always busy - and I've never had the drive overheat, on battery or mains. There will always be a few bad drives in any batch, but I would say that if you run large, disk intensive applications (virtual machines, photoshops, movie and photo editing) then you should consider the faster drive.

I can't see how a faster drive is going to have a huge impact on games - the graphics card, available memory, processor speed and optical disk speed will all have a bigger impact than the hard drive speed, I would have thought.

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can anyone confirm that the rpm of my harddrive doesn't affect gameplay significantly? –  hatorade Aug 23 '09 at 12:50
2  
no it won't, but it will affect every-day use a lot.. starting and switching between applications, loading and saving projects, general multi-tasking and operating system response will be better. Personally, in a laptop - the drive performance is usually the bottleneck - get the fastest drive you can afford and fit in it. –  Oskar Duveborn Aug 23 '09 at 15:08
    
@oskar: when you say drive, are you referring to hard drive? i don't really do intensive read/write operations. i'm pretty much concerned with games and being able to play movies on my computer. i think 5400rpm might be good for that since games only read/write during loading, and that way i can avoid heating up my computer and having a shorter battery life. –  hatorade Aug 23 '09 at 15:38
    
+1 @oskar - good point there, actually. –  robsoft Aug 24 '09 at 4:59

Just with regards to the clicking with the 7200RPM drives, Apple released a firmware update a few days ago that is supposed to resolve this issue.

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@chage: 'supposed' is a rather intimidating word... any confirmations? –  hatorade Aug 23 '09 at 11:49
    
I know the download is available: support.apple.com/downloads/Hard_Drive_Firmware_Update_2_0 I'm just not sure if it works - I have nothing to test one :) –  Ben Short Aug 24 '09 at 1:53

7200rpm spins faster than 5400rpm.

This means that data can be read quicker, but at the expense of using more power.

If you want fast and less battery life go for 7200.

If you want longer batteries at the expense of a slightly slower data throughput, go for 5400.

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@rich: heard anything about the other issues i mentioned? noise + overheating? mac osx vs windows? –  hatorade Aug 23 '09 at 11:47
    
Well, what I'm saying is that if you spin something faster, then any OS will have to use more power and hence more batteries. –  Rich Bradshaw Aug 23 '09 at 12:29
    
@rich: point taken. i guess all i have left in my question is if 7200rpm will affect computer game play compared to 5400rpm. –  hatorade Aug 23 '09 at 12:54

I cannot express this enough... get a solid state drive. If disk size is an issue, get an external drive for things you don't use frequently. The speed benefits from an SSD overall make it a very worthwhile purchase. You can save $$ by buying it separately.

That said, I've put a few Seagate 7200RPM 500G drives in some coworkers laptops and they perform fine. Definitely an improvement over 5400RPM but no comparison to SSD.

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@churnd: again, i don't do intensive read/write tasks. i'm mostly concerned with gaming (and i guess playing movies off my harddrive). and i'm pretty sure games won't benefit that much from SSD for 7200 other than loading levels faster. –  hatorade Aug 23 '09 at 15:40

protected by studiohack Jun 24 '11 at 6:15

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