5400rpm vs 7200rpm HDDs

By Snowy Commando
Feb 5, 2003
  1. Besides the obvious that most people use the latter which are faster for running applications.

    Would it make sense to have a secondary storage drive as a slower 5400rpm?

    i'm interested in the difference in spindle whining noise and with 2 HDDs in a case it might make more sense to keep the whining noise down to minimal.
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    These are the stats for WD Caviar 120GB

    5400 rpm:
    Idle Mode - 34 dBA (average)
    Seek Mode 0 - 37 dBA (average)
    Seek Mode 3 - 34 dBA (average)

    7200 rpm:
    Idle Mode - 35 dBA (average)
    Seek Mode 0 - 39 dBA (average)
    Seek Mode 3 - 37 dBA (average)

    I'm no audio expert, so I won't try to draw any conclusions from these. Maybe someone smarter will.
  3. Snowy Commando

    Snowy Commando TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 148

    Well i do know that ~28dB is average room levels and from those stats i can only conclude that the 5400rpm is still quieter by 1 dB at full seek mode then 7200rpm at idle.
  4. RustyZip

    RustyZip TechSpot Paladin Posts: 322

    I've got one of those WD 80Gb 7,200rpm drives and i don't even hear any noise from the drive... Silent as a errrm flea??
  5. Snowy Commando

    Snowy Commando TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 148

    maybe i just need a more recent drive for storage as the 15gb is not cutting the mustard as is a few yrs old.
  6. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    Those DBA ratings are WAY off from WD. The hard disk, being in your case, is quite inaudible. It is the quietest hard disk I've ever heard.

    I have both a 5200RPM 120gb and a 7200RPM 80gb.. I actually think the 5200RPM drive has a higher "idle" noise than the 7200RPM, although both drives are super quiet while seeking.

    The performance boost is worth it.
  7. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942

    You mean 5400rpm, naturally ;)
  8. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    Yes. ha.
  9. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,714   +397

    Do new hard drives even make much noise? I have 2 IBM deskstars, and a maxtor and all 3 are 7200rpm and I can't normally hear them seek. But my roommate has an old P3 Gateway and I can hear that thing thinking across the room.
  10. young&wild

    young&wild TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 993

    I believe faster HDD are getting quiter...i can;t hear anything when my 80GB WD Caviar 7200rpm seeks...but what 's really annnoying is that when my 1.5 GB WD Caviar seeks, its pretty noisy with the screeching sound
  11. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Many manufacturers these days use fluid bearing motors, which are much quieter than old ball bearing ones.

    If you're interested in hard disk reviews & comparisons, check out
  12. hdmk

    hdmk TS Rookie Posts: 104

    My WD800JB is absolutely silent. I cannot hear it at all.
    If you have any fans on your computer, there's no way you'll hear it.

    It also helps that it is amazingly fast as well. It's an amazing drive. :D

    My 20gig 5400rpm Seagate is so much comparison.
  13. Snowy Commando

    Snowy Commando TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 148

    I think older slower drives are noisier then some newer faster drive
  14. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    Old, slower drives ARE louder. I've had the pleasure of working with many old system srecently and one thing they all have in common is they all have the loudest drives I've ever heard.

    We are talking about 1-4GB drives here.. Probably not even 1/20th as fast as the fastest drive out right now. Also, some more recent 8-13gb tend to be loud as well.
  15. Snowy Commando

    Snowy Commando TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 148

    so in terms of my original question, i think buying a slower but new 5400rpm 40gb drive purely for storage, that means, rarely for running apps off of would be OK and cheaper.

    After all, who needs fast storage only space. Noise will even less of an issue.
  16. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

    Awhile ago when I only had a 10GB WD 7200RPM drive, I bought a 20GB Seagate 5400RPM for just storage of big stuff. It was like $120, which was the most I could afford. I was in love with it!

    I do not regret the choice, I still have both drives and they're great!

    So to your question, I'd say yes. Because 5400RPM drives are cheaper. Price is the only thing I'd agree with however. I believe that 7200RPM is worth the performance increase, but if you're into budget stuff, 5400RPM is great!

    The 5400RPM is in another machine of mine - and it has 2 fans in it. Still can't hear the HDD.
  17. Snowy Commando

    Snowy Commando TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 148

    heck, i wouldn't even mind a 4200rpm drive if it made a nice difference to the price. I don't believe HDDs in general cater for different levels of user say like the GFX card companies do.
  18. RustyZip

    RustyZip TechSpot Paladin Posts: 322

    Because most newer drives are faster, quieter, bigger etc, i tend to use my newest one for Windows, Apps etc and my older for Backup, Storage etc... Then when i buy another new one the previous new one becomes the Backup, Storage etc...
    Am i making sense????
  19. Snowy Commando

    Snowy Commando TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 148

    yeah, my 15gb drive used to be my primary and orginally cost twice what the 40gb costs which now costs half as much as an 80gb.
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