1. You may have noticed things look a little different around here - we've switched to a new platform (XenForo) and have some new forum styles and features. This how-to guide will help you find your way around. If you find anything that looks strange, post it in this thread.

Hard drive recommendations and benchmarks: 5400 rpm and 7200 rpm.

Discussion in 'Hardware Components and Aftermarket Upgrades' started by Phil, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. Phil

    Phil Retired

    Messages:
    17,039
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    455
    Last update: 5 June 2009

    Since we have a lot of threads with information scattered around I thought it might be good to have just one thread on this topic. Please share experiences, recommendations, relevant information or ask questions here about what hard drive one should buy. I'll kick off with some recommendations and other info:

    Often the question is asked "what hard drive should I buy?". It's a good question because the hard drive is often the bottleneck in a system's performance. A fast hard drive can make your system feel a lot faster. Most notebooks come with 2.5" hard drives, a few ultra portables come with 1.8".

    So what hard drive should I buy? This will depends on many factors like: the interface you need (SATA or PATA), your budget, how much storage you want and how important performance, noise, heat and vibration are to you.

    SATA drives
    It makes sense to base your buying decision on other cirteria: price, warranty, power consumption, noise and whether (you believe) you need a freefall sensor.

    These are the drives I recommend based on real world benchmarks by Techreport:

    When speed is priority: WD3200BEKT or WD1600BEKT

    When battery life is priority: MK5055GSX (lowest idle power consumption) Hitachi 5K500.b (lowest power consumption while playing video)

    When capacity is priority: WD5000BEVT.

    The best mix of speed, power consumption, capacity and noise: WD5000BEVT


    Alternatives:
    Hitachi 7K320 is a fast 320GB/7200rpm drive with fast multitasking performance. When it's cheaper than WD3200BEKT it's an interesting alternative.


    PATA drives recommendations:
    Samsung HM160HC (benchmarks here)
    WD Scorpio 320 GB


    Frequently Asked Questions:
    Are 7200rpm drives faster than 5400rpm drives?
    Sometimes but sometimes not. The overall speed of a drive is influenced by many factors: the rotational speed, acces time, I/O, data density, firmware and more variables. Some 5400rpm drives outperform 7200rpm drives. The WD3200BEKT (7200rpm) outperforms the WD5000BEVT (5400rpm) in multi tasking situations because of the lower acces times and higher IOPS.

    Are 320GB/5400rpm drives faster than 200GB/7200rpm drives?
    Generally speaking they come very close in performance, however the Hitachi 7K200 200GB manages to outperform all 320GB/5400 in non synthetic benchmarks.

    Should I be going for SSD?
    It depends on your budget and needs. The better SSDs outperfom all traditional notebook harddrives. They come at a high price though. Good SSDs are still a lot more expensive per GB than traditional hard drives. Other benefits of SSDs are that they are very shock resistant and more quiet.

    My hard drive makes a clicking noise. How can I make it stop?
    Search for HDparm

    How much difference will I notice between SSD, a fast hard drive and a slower drive?
    These benchmarks give a good idea: http://techreport.com/articles.x/15079/5

    How do I install a new hard drive while keeping the same OS install and data?
    This can be done through cloning the hard drive as described in this post.

    Where is my HDD space gone!?
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=167983

    But my HDTune/HDTach/SisoftSandra/ATTO/Vantage result is much better than the WD3200BEKT. Why do you say WD3200BEKT is faster?
    Synthetic benchmarks can be a nice and quick indicator but in the end they remain what they are: synthetic. To measure real life performance there's no other way then measuring real life performance. Sites like Anandtech, Techreport and Laptopmag show several real world benchmarks.

    * Benchmark sites:
    Here you can find many notebook hard drives benchmarked:
    Techreport latest 500GB drive benchmarks
    Tomshardware 2.5" charts:
    Techreport 2.5" hard drives and SSD test:
    Storagereview WD3200BEKT vs. Hitachi 7K200 vs. Hitachi 5K500:
    Storagereview WD 3200BEVT vs. Hitachi 7K200 vs. Seagate 7200.2:
    Tom's Hardware 14 way SSD test.
    HD Tune thread
    NBR WD3200BEKT vs. Hitachi 7K320 benchmarks
     
  2. XPS1330

    XPS1330 Notebook Deity

    Messages:
    967
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    30
    EDIT: First Post :D:D

    Good start.
    Is this a sticky?
     
  3. Phil

    Phil Retired

    Messages:
    17,039
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    455
    We can make it a sticky if we want to. I think it's a good idea.
     
  4. X2P

    X2P I♥COOLING | NBR Super Mod

    Messages:
    5,361
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    206
  5. 72hundred

    72hundred Revolutions-Per-Millennia

    Messages:
    1,228
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    55
    YES PLEASE MAKE IT A STICKY!!! This topic comes up every week practically!

    great work too :D
     
  6. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

    Messages:
    26,102
    Likes Received:
    602
    Trophy Points:
    531
    It's a very useful start but I can think of some relevant issues which merit inclusion since most people who can choose their HDD model are upgrading an existing HDD.

    Perhaps first is to advise the reader to check whether their existing HDD is PATA or SATA. Then, a cautionary note about LBA and the 137GB limit. Here's an example of the obstacles when upgrading the HDD on an older computer.

    Also the 500GB HDDs deserve a mention. In particular the only one which is standard thickness at the moment (Samsung HM500LI) has above-average power consumption.

    We might want to finish with a link to the quick guide to cloning a HDD (anyone want to write a full guide).

    John
     
  7. Phil

    Phil Retired

    Messages:
    17,039
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    455
    All good ideas John. When I have more time I will update the startpost.
     
  8. E.B.E.

    E.B.E. NBR Procrastinator

    Messages:
    8,625
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    206
    For a bit of in-depth reading about hard drives, I recommend this page. Written in 2000 but almost everything still applies.
    http://www.storagereview.com/guide2000/ref/hdd/index.html

    Not sure if this should be in the main post, but it's good to have it on the 1st page of the thread, anyhow. :)
     
  9. ltcommander_data

    ltcommander_data Notebook Deity

    Messages:
    1,398
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    55
    Right now I'm looking for a 320GB 7200rpm drive so your rankings are useful.

    However, I'm wondering where the conclusion that the 7200.3 is power hungry comes from? The Tech Report review shows that the 7200.3 is more power efficient that the WD Scorpio Black which is consistent with comparisons between Seagate and WDC's spec sheets for those drives. (Specifically the official specs show the Black having higher idle power usage than the 7200.3 while read/write and standby power is similar).

    The specs for the 7k320 lists it's power as even lower than that of the 7200.3, but I haven't seen independent confirmation of that.

    Based mainly on lower power consumption, I'm mainly considering between the 7k320 and 7200.3. Hitachi generally makes fast drives, and I'm currently using a 5k160 which was the fastest 160GB 5400rpm drive in its generation and I've had good experiences with it. And I've heard consistent good reviews about the 7k200. But these heat and vibration concerns make me nervous about the 7k320 since they'll probably be more noticeable on a thin, already hot case like a MBP.

    Any further comments on 320GB 7200rpm drives would be appreciated.
     
  10. Arez20469

    Arez20469 Notebook Enthusiast

    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    15
    I bought a notebook yesterday but need help deciding if I should change my order from a 320gb 5400 HD to a 200gb 7200. Here's what I'm wondering:

    -Even though 320gb is slower in rpm, doesn't the higher data density speed it up somewhat? Would this be enough to justify buying it over the 5400?

    -Since this isn't RAM, the only advantages come from starting things up, not keeping them running?

    -The 200gb 7200 also comes with "Disk Encryption". I heard this will ONLY slow down files if they're about 2gb. Is that true? Could there be any other problems?

    Basically, I've heard the 7200 has resolved any heat issues it might have had with the vast majority of companies, and at this point I'm wondering if it's worth the upgrade or downgrade (depending on how you look at it) from the 320gb to the 200gb.

    If the "Disk Encryption" slows down the hard drive more than expected, I can also consider a 160gb 7200rpm.

    So, what one would you guys want?
     
  11. Phil

    Phil Retired

    Messages:
    17,039
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    455
    As you can see in the benchmarks of the startpost all 320GB/5400rpm drives are outperformed by the Hitachi 7K200 200GB. For other brand 200GB/7200rpm the situation may (and will probably) be different.

    Generally speaking there will not be much difference between 320gb/5400rpm or 200GB/7200rpm in performance.

    The 160GB Hitachi 7K320 or 160GB WD1600BEKT could be very interesting in your situation.

    PS. I moved your post to this thread as it seems appropriate.

    Actually I was talking about the WD3200BEVT, not about the 7200.3. Good that you mention it, I will clarify it.

    I think you are right, because most of the complaint I saw were from MBP users. Check the forums of Storage review for more information or let me know if you want a link.

    Any further comments on 320GB 7200rpm drives would be appreciated.[/QUOTE]
     
  12. flipfire

    flipfire Moderately Boss Super Moderator

    Messages:
    11,217
    Likes Received:
    56
    Trophy Points:
    466
    My next planned upgrade will be a HD, im tempted to jump on the 64gb OCZ core

    Whats todays prices for the Scorpio black?

    WD has served me well in the past.
     
  13. sgogeta4

    sgogeta4 Notebook Nobel Laureate

    Messages:
    10,541
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    456
    wait a little longer. the cores are MLC and having some issues right now. I've seen the WD3200BEKT for around $180 USD, which is around the same price as the 64GB OCZ Core ($175 USD).
     
  14. Phil

    Phil Retired

    Messages:
    17,039
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    455
    Yeah OCZ Core has a bit too many red flags around it, this one for example: http://www.alternativerecursion.info/?p=106. Core V2 should be available in a few weeks.

    Hitachi 7K320 is $149 after MIR at zipzoomfly.
     
  15. Phil

    Phil Retired

    Messages:
    17,039
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    455
    There's a lot of info here on 7K320 and WD3200BEKT, some benchmarks and reports about noise.

    Interestingly enough some Thinkpad users are bothered by the noise and vibration of the BEKT while they're saying 7K320 is totally quiet. I wonder how much differences there between are individual drives because some reports are really conflicting.
     
  16. ltcommander_data

    ltcommander_data Notebook Deity

    Messages:
    1,398
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    55
    Well seeing how much firmware updates have improved the performance of the Velociraptor, I don't doubt there could be quiet a bit of difference between two drives of the same model depending on hardware revision and firmware. And things like noise and vibration could be dependent on how it's mounted and whether it resonates with other components in the system, so it could have large variations too.

    This makes things very confusing. I was almost settled on getting the 7200.3, mainly because the 7k320 hasn't been available in Toronto and the noise and heat concerns. Now there's reports that the 7k320 is good afterall plus the computer store I usually buy from finally listed the 7k320.
     
  17. jedisolo

    jedisolo Notebook Deity

    Messages:
    894
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    30
    In my T61 I am using the OCZ 64 GB SATA II SSD SLC not the core one and I like how it performs. The 128 GB Ritek SSD MLC version performs how I like it too except when ever I use Fraps to record video it stutters every now and then after I turn off fraps by pressing F9 it stops stuttering. It doesn't stutter however on my 64 GB SATA II SSD SLC.

    If you have the finances and you want to try out new technology than give a SSD a try.
     
  18. Phil

    Phil Retired

    Messages:
    17,039
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    455
    Tom's hardware has tested the latest 320GB/7200rpm drives now, it makes for some interesting comparisons:
    (Image by Tom's Hardware. Direct link to this chart)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  19. kingyubbo

    kingyubbo Notebook Guru

    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    15
    Great Sticky. Thanks for that.

    Just wondering whether I would be able to upgrade my 40GB 4200RPM IDE drive to either a 160GB or 250GB 5400RPM IDE drive on my Compaq V2000? Think it's worth the upgrade?

    Also, how do I make sure I am able to fully utilize the space? (I heard I needed LBA of sorts)?
     
  20. K-TRON

    K-TRON Hi, I'm Jimmy Diesel ^_^

    Messages:
    8,077
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    205
    If you love your laptop, I would go with either the HM160HC or the WD 2500BEVE drive. Both are good solid performing drives, and they will greatly decrease loading times over your 4200rpm drive. If you run hdtune on your current laptop, you can generate a benchmark much like the ones in my review of the HM160HC. From their you can determine what drive is best for you.
    Your system will probably have LBA issues, so the only way around this, is to partition the drive with a 137GB and say a 20gb partition, or with the WD, you can partition it into two 125gb spaces. You can get the Samsung drive for around $65, so for bang for the buck, it beats the WD.

    K-TRON
     

Share This Page