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What will HD upgrade from 4200RPM to 7200 accomplish?

By johnhenry ยท 10 replies
Aug 27, 2007
  1. If I upgrade my X31's 4200RPM hard drive to a 7200 RPM, will it be noticeably and considerably faster?

    And will this lengthen or shorten battery life?

  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Yes it will be very noticeable. There is a tremendous difference.
    However, I recommend that you upgrade to the 5400 RPM on the X-31... as there are major issues with all the drives in an X-31. They are not normal Mobil 2.5 inch drives... and the BIOS is totally different... limiting a number of things and raising havoc over any changes.
    I don't think you can get a 7200 rpm drive that will fit the X-31, but I could be wrong. There are drives on the Hitachi site that are similar... but they do not fit.
    IBM Thinkpads with the X-60 and X-61 have switched back to the 2.5" mobile drives that go up to 160 GB 7200.
    Another issue is that 7200 rpm laptop drives last less than half as long... Most users are averaging 2 years instead of 4 years with the 7200. The new 5400's seem to be averaging about five years if well cared for.
  3. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 7,411   +809

    I have never compared battery life based on HD RPM speeds... it would make sense that the faster drive should draw more power and hence shorten battery life but no idea up to what point this will make for a tangible difference. You could also argue that the faster drive can load up things faster and take less time drawing peak power than the slower drive.

    All those considerations aside, if you want to maximize performance, there is a dramatic difference between the two.
    I still have an older T42 Thinkpad that uses a 7200rpm drive and it flies compared to other laptops with slower HDDs.
  4. johnhenry

    johnhenry TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 69

    Thanks guys.

    Well if this is all true, then I won't upgrade. Reliability is much more important than speed.

    Can anyone else confirm this?

  5. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    The proof is the market place. There are none. Do your own research. If you can find one. If you can afford one, buy it.

    You can begin to confirm this by checking the websites of the hard drive manufacturers. The X-31 uses a "legacy" "IBM" drive 1.8". Try to find one that is larger than 40 GB and 7200 rpm.
    Darned rare. Hitachi and Toshiba. IBM used them in the X3x series and the X4x series. For IBM there are no longer any 1.8" drives used in new models. There is now one 60 GB drive by Hitachi, and it is now 5400 rpm.
    What better proof than you can no longer get them.
    As far as I know, there is no longer any 1.8" drive at 7200 rpm, and the price of 1.8" drives with a capacity over 40 GB is close to $200. Even the 40 GB 1.8" drives are $150.
    There are ZIF drives, IDE drives, Hitachi Legacy, and IBM legacy drives in 1.8"
    If there was a market, which would be created by a reliable fast drive, you would see Fujitsu, Hitachi, IBM, Samsung, Seagate, Toshiba, Tri-Gem, Western Digital all selling them.
    Your mileage may differ. Do you own search. Let us know if you find differently. Try Newegg, CDW, PCConnections, TechDepot, Frys, Outpost, PCMall, TigerDirect, Directron, Krex, ZipZoomFly, CompUSA, Circuit City, Best Buy, IBM, Lenovo, PCSupply, Cyberguys, You are looking for something that no longer exists.
  6. johnhenry

    johnhenry TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 69

    Sorry Raybay, I hope I didn't insult you by asking for confirmation.

    And you're right, there don't seem to be any 7200 RPM (or even 5400) 1.8" drives readily available. All the 1.8"s I've seen online are 4200 RPM.

    If I were to find a 1.8" 7200RPM or a 5400RPM, there's still a chance it wouldn't work in my X31. Is that correct? (I'm not sure what you mean by the BIOS difference mentioned in your first post.)

    (Note: I live in Taipei. There are MANY items available here that are unavailable or discontinued online and in the West.)

    Thanks again for your help.
  7. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    The eason for the high price is the "Legacy drives". The hardware of the drive platters is the same in all of them, but there are five form factors that must be considered. The X-31 is called the "IBM Legacy" form factor which is different than the "Hitachy Legacy" form factor, the ZIF form factor, or the IDE form factor. I think the fifth is used in medical equipment.
  8. johnhenry

    johnhenry TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 69

    Warning for others who may read this thread: Some of the above information may be incorrect.

    After doing more research, I've found that the X-31 uses 2.5" hard-drives. It does not use the 1.8" as stated above. (The X-4x series uses these.) See this FAQ
  9. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,425   +112

    Somewhat, but you'll use more battery to run that speed. 5200RPM is better. You might just keep what you have until you need to buy a larger drive or the HDD fails..
  10. johnhenry

    johnhenry TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 69

    Thanks Tipstir!

    I've been in touch with a Thinkpad specialty group, and they recommended a specific (Hitachi Travelstar 7K100) for my X31. I'm cloning it now, getting ready for the switch.
  11. johnhenry

    johnhenry TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 69

    Just a quick update.
    Everything went very well with the installation. I used Acronis to clone the old drive. Afterwards I just replaced it into my Thinkpad and everything remained perfectly, including the hidden IBM boot partition.

    My startup time went from 1:02 down to 0:42, so I'm quite happy. Opening and closing applications is now MUCH faster as well. ;)
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