New Laptop: 7200RPM or 5400RPM ?

Discussion in 'hardware' started by The Shadow, May 3, 2012.

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  1. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

    I am going to order a new HP dv6t laptop and the only question I have in customizing its configuration is whether or not to opt for a 750GB 7200RPM HDD over the standard 750GB 5400RPM HDD. Both drives come with 32GB mSSD acceleration cache.

    I realize that the 7200RPM drive will provide faster disk I/O, but I'm wondering at what penalty in generated heat, noise and battery-life? :doubt:

    I'm not concerned with the cost difference - which is only $20.

    Any advice/insight would be appreciated.
  2. Escalader

    Escalader Registered Member

    If it were me I'd max the RAM and the rpm's you can always get a cooling dock. A lot of the time you are plugged in anyway and you can get a new battery. With the extra RAM you can treak the O/S to keep more of itself in memory so it doesn't have to RPM as much.
  3. Scott W

    Scott W Registered Member


    All other PC components being equal, that decision should be based on what you typically do on your laptop...

    Since both HDDs come with a 32gig mSSD acceleration cache, that in itself will result in a serious performance improvement in startup and opening commonly used files, regardless of which HDD you get. The 7200rpm drive's faster I/O would be most noticeable when dealing with large files.

    Of course the 7200rpm drive will produce more heat and consume more battery power than the 5400rpm drive so it's a really a question of whether you are typically copying/opening/saving large files. If not, you won't realize much of a performance advantage by getting the 7200rpm drive.

    Last edited: May 3, 2012
  4. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

    Hi Scott,

    Your reply was very much to the point (and makes good sense to me). As I work with large files rather infrequently, based on your explanation it seems that the 5400RPM drive should work out better for me insofar as generating less heat and consuming less battery-power (when there isn't a power outlet close-by).

    So unless someone else gives me a compelling reason to go with the 7200RPM I'll be ordering the HP laptop with the 5400RPM HDD.

  5. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

    My laptop originally came with a 5400 RPM hard drive and I eventually upgraded it to a 7200 RPM drive. The ram was already optimal and the disk was the only other upgradeable component. I immediately noticed an improvement in boot time and over all responsiveness. I don't notice any increase in heat and since I almost always plug it in any negative impact it has on battery life is irrelevant. If battery life is important to you it would be worth trying to find out how much impact the faster drive would have. Even if it's significant I would opt for an extended battery rather than a slower drive. Just my .02 - good luck whichever way you go :cool:
  6. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

    Hi Victek,

    Thanks for your feedback. Scott stated that my boot-time should be about the same because of the 32GB mSSD acceleration cache (if it were not for that, I'm sure that the 7200RPM drive would bootup faster).

    About 40% of the time that I'm using a laptop it's on battery power, so battery-life is important to me and because of that I have upgraded the laptop with a 9-cell battery).

  7. Scott W

    Scott W Registered Member

    Hey TS,

    Sounds like you are now good to go, but I might add that in case you are not a prior HP laptop user you should go down to Best Buy (or wherever) to checkout the HP's keyboard and touchpad to see if it's to your liking. Too many online buyers actually buy their laptop before laying hands on it (not a good idea)!

    Good luck,
  8. farmerlee

    farmerlee Registered Member

    I just got an HP envy 15 and i opted for the 7200rpm drive. From my experience theres no noticeable difference in battery life and barely any differences in heat or noise. There is however a noticeable difference in performance which is why i always go for 7200rpm. Screen size and graphics card will have much more impact on battery life than hard drive speed. One of the reasons i got the envy is its ability to switch between 2 graphics cards. I use the ATI card when plugged in and then switch to the more power efficient intel graphics when on battery power.
  9. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

    Thanks for your feedback. I believe that the dv6t also has the graphics switching ability. Btw, are you finding that the HP's keyboard and touchpad work pretty well?
  10. SoCalReviews

    SoCalReviews Registered Member

    I'm not sure there is much difference these days as long as you put install as much RAM as you can in the computer. 8GB to 16GB would be recommended for today's newer machines and it is becoming more common for users to install up to 32GB of system RAM. Either speed 5400 or 7200 should be fine. In the old days the faster disk speed was more important. The newer drives with more memory cache and especially the hybrid SSD cache RAM technology makes the drive speed less important for single user systems unless you are constantly accessing huge volumes of data more than your total system RAM and SSD cache RAM. If you want a slightly faster start up time for a bit faster access for huge volumes of data then go with the 7200.

    However despite the fact the documented specs may show them to have similar reliability the 5400 drive should run slightly cooler and theoretically should have a longer MTBF (mean time between failures) because it should physically have less wear on the bearings by spinning slower, slightly less heat wear from physical expansion/contraction during star tup and shut down and there should be a bit less stress on the drive's board circuitry since it is running slightly cooler. There might also be a slight improvement in battery life on a notebook using a 5400 drive. If you really want to know how much impact the faster drive speed is you could try looking up if someone has run performance tests on the same system using those two different speed drives. My guess is that while using the most common applications the difference is minimal for those two hybrid SSD memory cached drives you described.
    Last edited: May 6, 2012
  11. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

    Really depends on the specific model of drives. Faster drive with bigger cache might be able to spend more time spun down...

    My 7200rpm laptop hdd only uses 0.1w more to spin up than the 5400rpm version, but for some reason uses 0.5w more when spun up but idle and 0.1w less running at full seek.


    Cheers, Nick.
  12. berryracer

    berryracer Suspended Member

    After having used an SSD, I would never ever even consider buying an HD in my life again. The speed difference is simply insane!

    With that said, go for the 7200 RPM forget about 5400 that will be a major bottleneck for your laptops performance no matter how fast the CPU and graphics chipsets are

    having an mSATA SSD for cache is also useless, which is why I converted my mSATA SSD which comes with my notebook to a normal drive where I place my software installation files and keep Windows on the main SSD!

    7.9 score in the Windows Performance index and everything opens instantly
  13. SoCalReviews

    SoCalReviews Registered Member

    Nick, That information is kind of interesting about power usage. Assuming both the of drives are of a similar design with similar cache it takes the 7200 slightly more power to spin up than the 5400 which is logical but that really isn't much difference since it's only during start up. The .5w more when idle makes sense because the drive motor has to use more power to maintain a higher rpm with an increase in resistance of the drive bearings. The .1w less when running at full seek also makes sense because the faster 7200 drive should be a little more efficient at finding data on the drive than the 5400. Possibly the tracking arm(s) don't need to do as much work when it seeks data on faster platters and that off sets the power it uses to maintain it's rotational speed. I would guess that the size and efficiency of the drive cache would have much more impact on performance and power usage than the rotational speed of the drive. I would also like to see what the impact of greater system memory (4GB vs. 8GB vs. 16GB, etc.) has on total power usage.
    Last edited: May 6, 2012
  14. SoCalReviews

    SoCalReviews Registered Member

    Everyone says the improvement in start up and shut down time performance is huge. I have never owned an SSD nor have I been able to compare it using benchmark tests. I would like to know what the performance differences are with a computer that is already running (not start up time) and one that has 16GB or more of system memory for a single user running Windows, Linux or OSX because once the data is loaded up into system memory it's not working from the drive. It only needs to read or write to the drive for the time when it has a reason to save the data. I don't know how you can get that much of a performance boost on an already booted system if your amount of system memory exceeds what is needed for the programs you are running but as I said before I am not an expert on SSDs so maybe there is a dramatic difference. The other obvious benefit for SSDs used in notebooks is the improvement in shock resistance and decreased power usage compared to the older rotating drive technologies.
  15. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

    8 gigs maybe, but 16 gigs or 32 gigs in a laptop? What can you do on the machine that would actually benefit from that much system ram?
  16. AlexC

    AlexC Registered Member

    The Shadow, personally i would not recommend HP dv6 series to anyone. I'm working in a computer repair store and those laptops are very frequent "clients", due to damaged graphic card.
  17. SoCalReviews

    SoCalReviews Registered Member

    Video editing or running virtual machines concurrently for OSX 10.7, 10.8, Windows XP, 7, 8 and flavors of Linux. :thumb:
    Last edited: May 6, 2012
  18. farmerlee

    farmerlee Registered Member

    I like the keyboard but the touchpad took a little getting used to as the buttons are actually part of the touch surface so if you move your finger while its on the button it will move the cursor.
  19. farmerlee

    farmerlee Registered Member

    I agree, the speed of an ssd is simply amazing however they're just too expensive and storage capacity seems to be severely lacking in all ssd laptops i have seen.
  20. SirDrexl

    SirDrexl Registered Member

    For a desktop, yes, but the limited capacity can be a problem on a laptop, since you might not be able to add a second drive. I think there will be a need for mechanical HDDs for a while, for media storage and backups.

    But I guess it depends on how you use your laptop. It would be sufficient if you don't need to store a lot of files on the laptop itself. Maybe you have a desktop for that, or an external drive you only use at home.
  21. d0t

    d0t Registered Member

    The Shadow,

    I got a Dell 14 XPS. I5 480m, 500GB 7200RPM, Intel HD plus NVidia GT420m, 9-cell battery.

    Whenever I'm doing stuff that doesn't need the Nvidia GPU, the battery lasts forever. So, IMO, if your concern is the battery, you should get a notebook with two graphic cards.
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