5,400rpm or 7,200rpm HDD??

By RustyZip ยท 29 replies
Jun 19, 2002
  1. Hi...

    Im on the lookout for another Hard Drive, and was thinking of probably a 80Gb or 120Gb.

    I also was going to go for 7,200rpm, but someone (who i think knows quite a bit) said that 7,200rpm drives create a lot more heat than 5,400rpm drives which makes them not last long.

    If thats the case, then I'd prefer to have a 5,400rpm drive for 5 - 7 years than a 7,200rpm drive for 2 or 3 years then die on me...

    Cheers in advance...
  2. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

    Right now the 20GB in my slow computer is a Seagate 5400RPM. The performance decrease from that to another HDD, a 10GB 7200, is remarkable. Reasing from the slow drive is a full 1/3 slower from the fast one. Another interesting note is that I've had the 7200 for 4 years and the 5400 for 2. Neither drive has shown any performance loss (or it's been so miniscule and I haven't noticed it) over the period of time I've had it. I think that if you buy a good model of HDD from a good brand than you won't have any problems with it (besides being obsolete) for maybe even the next 5 years. I know a certain friend of mine who's had the same one for 6 :eek:
    Of course, I make fun of him all the time :p
  3. uncleel

    uncleel TS Rookie Posts: 980

    This is true! Warped platters was the reason for most of the IBM (*Deathstar) complaints.
    I have a fan blowing on mine.
  4. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    heat, shmeat, just put a fan on it. That is what HDD fans are made for. You can either go for the kind that attaches to the bottom of the drive or the one that fits into a bay and blows over the drive. Either one is fine.
  5. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    I have experienced a very great performance increase during tasks like DVD ripping and significant lack of buffer underruns and stuff with writing CDs using a 7,200 RPM disk in there.....

    However, as was noted here by some members, that performance comes at a price and such drives DO get rather hot.
  6. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

    Well you're right SB, but the 5,400 RPM drive will still last longer, the question remans: performance or life expectancy?
  7. Butterball

    Butterball TS Rookie Posts: 75

    well i am here to say thaty without a doubt you should go wiht the 7200. placde a fan on it if you are worride about the heat but with such a large drive the slow disk would drive you nuts. I traded in a 30 gig 5400 plus a nice chunk of change for a faster and smaller dirve( 20 gig 15,000 RPM SCSI) and boy howdy i will never look back.
  8. RustyZip

    RustyZip TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 322

    Well, thanks for all the info guys...

    Looks like i'll be heading for a 7,200rpm drive - watching that temp gauge - and maybe get an extra fan if need be...

    Thanks again...
  9. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    For the newest wave of drives (Probably what you are getting), the heat issue is very minor.

    Newer 7200rpm drives are far cooler than the first ones that came out a few years ago, and even cooler than some 5400rpm drives, depending on the brand and model and age you buy. I remember I used to have a Quantum 7200RPM drive.. One of the first that came out and it was almost too hot to touch. The drive I have now (Maxtor 40gb) is barely warm to the touch, despite being on 24 hours a day. And many newer drives are even cooler that that.

    I wouldn't worry about at heat being an issue at all unless you leave your computer running 24x7, but I would mount a fan in the front of your case if you don't already have one just because it is a good idea. The cooler the better....
  10. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    Not worry about heat?? :eek: That's Blasphemy, Rick!

    But you are correct about newer drives being cooler.
    My two Maxtors are barely warm and I don't even use fans on them. The older drives in my other machines however range from warm to hot and I have fans on all of them. I also run my systems 24/7 and I am very cautious when it comes to my system temp. as Rick can tell you.
  11. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Now THAT's blasphemy, Storm! :eek: :eek:
  12. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    Why is that Blasphemy? Though I may be a bit extreme when it comes to cooling my systems, even I don't see a reason to cool something that isn't hot.

    I do have fans on most of the drives in my other machines because they do get hot.
  13. RustyZip

    RustyZip TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 322


    Well, i've gathered the necessary funds (ie: not told the wife!!!) and am on the lookout for a new 80 Gig - 7,200rpm drive.

    I've just thought though, will i get all the benefits from a 7,200rpm drive from my system. What i mean is that im presuming i need to buy a better IDE cable (other than the one for 5,400rpm drive, but do i have to think about internal bus speeds etc etc.

    What im getting at, is if im not going to get the full benefit of the speed, i might hold off buying the drive until i invest in a new motherboard, processor, memory etc...

    Pentium III 700
    Via VT82C694X
    Model 694X-686A

    Cheers in advance for any info...:grinthumb
  14. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    If you live in the U.S, I recommend www.newegg.com. Not only are their hard disk prices the cheapest I've ever seen, but many of the hard drives have free shipping too. Newegg's service and reputibility has been excellent for me as well.. I order there a lot.

    The speed will help your computer a LOT, regardless of what system setup you have. That is, unless your current hard disk peforms well. If what you have is indeed slow, hard disk speed is always a plus, and your board supports ATA-66, so you'll be able to take advantage of the difference.

    Since I own two of them, I highly recommend Western Digital's 80Gb and 120Gb drives. They are the overall fastest IDE drives out, come with a 3 year warranty and the JB models run very cool. I've noticed a good difference between my previous 40gb Maxtor and my 80Gb Western Digital Special Edition (JB).

    If you want to read up on what are some of the best drives out there, check out www.storagereview.com . The last time I looked, WD and IBM had the fastest drives, WD, Samsung and Seagate had the coolest (temperature of course :eek:) drives.
  15. RustyZip

    RustyZip TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 322

    Thanks Rick for the help and info...

    Alas im not in the U.S.:(
    I was thinking of using Dabs.com

    You say my board can support ATA-66, but can it support DMA/ATA-100 (Ultra)??
    Because im thinking of buying Western Digital's Caviar 80 Gig Drive. Code: WD800JB
    It says its DMA/ATA-100 (Ultra)...

  16. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    if your machine only supports, say, udma 33 then its okay to get a 66 or 100 drive, it will just run at 33.

    same for if it only supports 66, if the drive is 100 it will run at 66.

    so its fine to go ahead and get the drive, its compatible. if your motherboard came out in at least the last 3-4 years or so it should support drives of todays sizes (older boards had a limit of around 8 GB, older ones than that had smaller limits...)

    i don't think you have too much to worry about and you should go ahead and buy the drive. don't worry too much about udma 33, 66, 100 etc too much....

    I think you should be fine.
  17. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    Phantasm is right, the only thing you might have to worry about is if your motherboard doesn't support larger than 8GB drives which I'm pretty sure it does. You can get around this with utilities like MaxBlast from Maxtor. Sometimes a BIOS upgrade is all that is needed. In any case, you shouldn't have too much trouble using the drive.
  18. RustyZip

    RustyZip TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 322

    Thanks guys for the info...

    Looks like i'll go ahead with the purchase.

    One other thing though:
    What would be the best way to connect this drive and my other drives to the motherboard - as in what order, (whats it called? errm channels?? you know which cable, master, slave thingies)

    WDigital 80 Gig Drive 7,200rpm
    Samsung 40 Gig Drive 5,400rpm
    Plextor CD/RW drive 12/10/32A
    Samsung CD Drive 32x

    Thanks once again fellas :grinthumb

    I'm afraid im pretty clueless when it comes to Computers, but if you want to know anything about any Window Furnishings (fabric/poles/rails/blinds/swags & tails etc etc) Im your man!?!?!?!?!?!:blush: :eek: :D
  19. SuperCheetah

    SuperCheetah TS Rookie Posts: 709

    Well to answer your question, most IDE cables have a master and a slave connector to them. You will want to connect your fastest drive (the WD 7200RPM) to the master to get the best performance assuming that is where your OS will be. Next, if you have another IDE cable and another open IDE slot on your mobo then I would connect the other hard drive to it. If not, then connect the 5400RPM hard drive as a slave to the master WD hard drive. This will decrease performance as it is a slave drive, but not too much.

    You say your getting a WD hard drive. You should try getting the 80GB 8MB buffer Special Edition version. They cost a little more (~30 dollars) but the performance difference is really noticeable. I own the 100GB special edition version and am very pleased with the performance. But then again if cost is an issue, a regular 2MB buffer will suite all your tasks just fine.

    Here is a good review of the 120GB Special Edition Western Digital drive from Tom's Hardware:

  20. RustyZip

    RustyZip TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 322

    Thanks SuperCheetah...

    If i put 1 Hard Drive on each cable, that means 1 CD Drive will act as the slave on each cable.
    Won't that affect performance more - as the CD Drives are slower???

    I thought it would of been better if i did this:-
    Master - 80 Gig - 7,200rpm
    Slave - 40 Gig - 5,400rpm

    Master - CD/RW Drive
    Slave - CD Drive

    Mind you, i dont know much about these things !!!:p
  21. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    with so much HDD space at your disposal, make sure that you have a good think about how to sensibly partition it beforehand.

    seperate partitions I think are a good idea:

    -A seperate partition for each OS
    -A seperate partition for games.
    -A seperate partition for downloads such as mp3s, divx movies, etc...
    -A seperate partition for data (documents, etc... downloaded program installation files, each....)
    -A seperate partition for the swap file
    -A seperate partition for assemblying CD layouts for burning.

    Of course, this places you sometimes in the rather bad position of needing 600MB of space, but only having 400 MB on one partition and 200 MB on another. So think carefully first about what you do.

    Certainly I would propose that the seperate data partition is a must, and also if you have a partition for downloaded files (if you have broadband and are always downloading) where you can then tidy up the downloads into CD layouts and then burn them, when all recent downloads have been burned you can quick format the partition and then start to download again.

    Games frequently don't need reinstalled even if you reinstall the OS because all they do is unpack a bunch of files into a directory and maybe use the games own config files instead of the windows registry so its adviceable to have a games partition as well.

    Use your imagination and certainly don't make the mistake of having all that 80 GB as one big partition. That path leads to data loss (in some scenarios) , silly large cluster sizes if using FAT32 and difficulties when you want to reinstall the OS.
  22. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    What I would do is put the new WD HDD as master on the primary IDE channel. Then, I would place the least used drive as slave.

    For example, if you don't plan on using that 8Gb anymore (except for maybe storage), then make it the primary slave, putting it on the same IDE channel as the WD.

    It's generally recommended to keep your CD burner off off the same channel your primary HDD is on. So you'll want your CD burner on the secondary IDE channel (probably master).

    Other than that, it doesn't matter much. Just put them in any old order that they work in. Some BIOSes are picky and won't let you have a CD-ROM master.. etc.. So you may have have to go though some trial error to get it working in a decent manner.

    The JB is a great choice. I love mine. It's quiet, cool and really fast. Since you are upgrading from that ancient 8gb, you'll notice a HUGE difference.... That 8gb probably isn't 1/4th as fast as your new WD and you'll feel the difference in about everything you do.
  23. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    Those two, IMO, are probably the most essential.
  24. SuperCheetah

    SuperCheetah TS Rookie Posts: 709

    Well said Rick, this is the format I would follow.

    And just curious, but why would you need a swap file with Windows XP, and why would you need to assemble CD layouts? This I don't really understand so if someone would clear it up for me I would be thankful.
  25. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    You need virtual memory in some form or another in most if not all comtemporary PC operating systems. Windows XP is just as demanding of a page file as Windows 2000 and NT4 were....

    Having the page file on its own dedicated partition means that the file does not become fragmented. page file fragmentation is a major cause of workstations and servers becomming slow and crappy.

    As to the CD layouts, say I am slowly downloading episodes from my favourate TV show. I keep shoving them into a folder until it reaches 650 MB size and then I burn to CD. I then delete the folder and then start again. Its easier to organise burning downloads IMHO but others might work differently. I have found this so effecient that I am now choosing to delete some downloaded media rather than burn it because I have too many damn CDs in the place already. Its helped keep things together and sensibly written so that my resultant CD collection is not as mess (i.e. where one simply burns to CD as soon as any particular file download is finished, films in 2 files wind up on seperate CDs, etc...)
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