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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > 5400 vs 7200

5400 vs 7200
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Oct 22, 2008, 10:43 AM
 
any opinions on how big of a difference performance-wise this will make?
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Oct 22, 2008, 10:50 AM
 
Very noticeable difference in my MacBook from my 2006 5400 rpm drive to my 2008 7200 rpm drive.

I don't know how 2008 5400 rpm drives perform though.

Wrong forum?
     
solofx7  (op)
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Oct 22, 2008, 11:07 AM
 
I think this may be the right place for this.
I am trying to justify the higher price point for the macbook pro and the faster drive.
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Oct 22, 2008, 11:13 AM
 
Faster drives definitely make systems feel faster overall. A lot of the time the user spends waiting for the computer is often time spent waiting for some file operation to complete.

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solofx7  (op)
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Oct 22, 2008, 11:24 AM
 
hmmm...
trying to justify the MBP...
any help?
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Oct 22, 2008, 12:10 PM
 
That depends on what drives you're comparing. If you compare two drives of the same generation, it still depends on the capacities. Larger-capacity drives tend to have larger data densities/more platters which translates into faster linear read/write speeds. If the 7.2k drive is noticeably smaller, say 160 GB vs. 320 GB, then the 7.2k drive is probably smaller in that respect. Seek times are faster, though.

Also, if you have a larger drive, then your data will reside on faster parts of the drive. If you fill 150 GB data, then the the 320 GB drive will be significantly faster.

I went from a 7.2k 100 GB drive to a 5.4k 250 GB drive. The latter is a lot zippier. In short: capacity > rpm.
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Oct 22, 2008, 12:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by solofx7 View Post
hmmm...
trying to justify the MBP...
any help?
You can swap harddrives on both.
Regarding your `real' message: get what you can afford. If you really want a ProBook, but can't afford it now, then wait until refurbs are available, for instance. Or you've saved up more money
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Oct 22, 2008, 12:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I went from a 7.2k 100 GB drive to a 5.4k 250 GB drive. The latter is a lot zippier. In short: capacity > rpm.
Yeah, but how old was your 7200 GB drive? A couple of years can make a huge difference in speed.
     
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Oct 22, 2008, 12:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Yeah, but how old was your 7200 GB drive? A couple of years can make a huge difference in speed.
It was put into a first-gen ProBook, so it was less than two years older.
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Oct 22, 2008, 12:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
It was put into a first-gen ProBook, so it was less than two years older.
I get where you're coming from, but two years is a long time.
     
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Oct 22, 2008, 12:36 PM
 
... vs. SSD

Don't forget that third option.
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Oct 22, 2008, 12:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by solofx7 View Post
hmmm...
trying to justify the MBP...
any help?
I just "downgraded" from 2.4 MBP to the new 2.0 MB.

I, personally, couldn't justify MBP for these reasons...

- I have a Mac Pro, so I don't need oomph in my laptop
- wanted the smaller computer for more portability
- at this point in history, FireWire seems unnecessary to me and should not be a deciding factor in spending so much more on a laptop

If it were me, at this point in time, I'd go with the MacBook. Then again, your needs may be different and we don't know what they are (yet?).
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Oct 22, 2008, 12:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
I get where you're coming from, but two years is a long time.
Less than two years, more like a year-and-a-half (April 2006 to December 2007), about one generation.

But the general trend is still the same: 7.2k drives have a clear edge at the same capacity, but if you compare drives for the same drives, usually the 5.4k drive is larger and the larger drive has advantages even if they are from the same generation. Under realistic circumstances, the 5.4k drive will be faster in certain situations.

An example: for the same price you can get a 7.2k 120 GB drive and a 250 GB which spins at 5,400 rpm. If you fill both with 110 GB of data, the latter will be faster on average when doing linear read/write operations. The last GB of data reside on the innermost part of the 120 GB drive whereas they will fill only the outer regions of the 250 GB drives. In addition to having a second platter/larger data density, because for each revolution, `more data flies by' the further outside you are. That's why harddrives store their last GB on the inside.
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Oct 22, 2008, 03:32 PM
 
I am sorry, let me specify.
SSD drives are still too much money.
I would buy one if the size was around 200gb, there were significant speed games and in the $200 range.
My main thought about the drives is that i am trying to decide if the speed gain of the current macbook pro is worth it to get.
Not because of the money, but because of the going to pick it up in the store and walking out with the 5400 as opposed to custom configuring and getting the 7200 and waiting.
My thought is the speed worth the wait?
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Oct 22, 2008, 03:53 PM
 
Yes it's worth the wait.
     
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Oct 22, 2008, 04:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I went from a 7.2k 100 GB drive to a 5.4k 250 GB drive. The latter is a lot zippier. In short: capacity > rpm.
This is an important statement. If you are on a budget an have the choice between a barely large enough 7200 disk vs. a much larger 5400 disk, chances are you'll be better off with the latter.

Sure 7200 is faster than 5400 in many cases, but that is assuming you have the same amount of free space. As soon as you start filling up a fast disk it will begin losing ist advantage against a nominally slower disk with a lot of free space left.
     
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Oct 22, 2008, 04:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I went from a 7.2k 100 GB drive to a 5.4k 250 GB drive. The latter is a lot zippier. In short: capacity > rpm.
I did the same thing a couple of months back, when I got the stock 120GB on my late 2007 MBP upgraded to a 250GB 5400 Seagate drive. It's currently sitting at 142GB used, and while I don't know if it's faster, I;ve certainly never noticed any reduction in speed.
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Oct 23, 2008, 09:33 AM
 
Originally Posted by solofx7 View Post
I am sorry, let me specify.
SSD drives are still too much money.
I would buy one if the size was around 200gb, there were significant speed games and in the $200 range.
My main thought about the drives is that i am trying to decide if the speed gain of the current macbook pro is worth it to get.
Not because of the money, but because of the going to pick it up in the store and walking out with the 5400 as opposed to custom configuring and getting the 7200 and waiting.
My thought is the speed worth the wait?
Any thoughts on this.
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solofx7  (op)
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Oct 23, 2008, 10:13 AM
 
I think that I am very much decided on the pro, though I do not think that I need it and the price is a bit much this time around with the economy sucking.
But the features that have pushed me over the edge is the comments about the screen, more standard ram, better video card, and finally trying to decide on the HDD speed.
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solofx7  (op)
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Oct 23, 2008, 10:39 AM
 
roughly what speed difference will there be ?
how much of a difference when gaming?
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Oct 24, 2008, 07:54 AM
 
Gaming? None.
Every-day work, little.
Under certain conditions (special apps), some.
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Oct 24, 2008, 12:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Gaming? None.
Every-day work, little.
Under certain conditions (special apps), some.
thank you, i will pick up my unit at the store on tues or wed....
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solofx7  (op)
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Oct 24, 2008, 12:46 PM
 
does anyone have an idea on the speed gains of the SSD?
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Oct 24, 2008, 01:04 PM
 
That's a difficult question: cheap SSDs have a much lower read/write speed than harddrives, only rather expensive models are actually faster in that respect. Write speeds of cheap SSDs are much slower than read speeds. Both, cheap and expensive SSDs have much, much faster access times which help when you access lots of small, discontinuous data (compared to harddrives).

To give you an idea: one of the best SSDs on the market is probably Intel's X25-M 80 GB SSD. Let me compare it to an arguably fast (non-notebook) drive, the Velociraptor:
read: 205.4 MB/s vs. 108.6 MB/s
write: 75.9 MB/s vs. 75.9 MB/s
access time: 0.12 ms vs. 7.1 ms

So for 550 € you get 80 GB. If you go for cheaper SSDs, standard operations (booting, loading of levels) will almost certainly be slower on average compared to a harddrive.

Have a look here. The costs per GB for a fast SSD are still about 8 to 10 times that of notebook harddrives! I'd wait a little longer until they get cheaper and the capacities more reasonable.
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Oct 24, 2008, 01:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
That's a difficult question: cheap SSDs have a much lower read/write speed than harddrives, only rather expensive models are actually faster in that respect. Write speeds of cheap SSDs are much slower than read speeds. Both, cheap and expensive SSDs have much, much faster access times which help when you access lots of small, discontinuous data (compared to harddrives).

To give you an idea: one of the best SSDs on the market is probably Intel's X25-M 80 GB SSD. Let me compare it to an arguably fast (non-notebook) drive, the Velociraptor:
read: 205.4 MB/s vs. 108.6 MB/s
write: 75.9 MB/s vs. 75.9 MB/s
access time: 0.12 ms vs. 7.1 ms

So for 550 € you get 80 GB. If you go for cheaper SSDs, standard operations (booting, loading of levels) will almost certainly be slower on average compared to a harddrive.

Have a look here. The costs per GB for a fast SSD are still about 8 to 10 times that of notebook harddrives! I'd wait a little longer until they get cheaper and the capacities more reasonable.
thanks a lot, that helps
u rock...
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Oct 24, 2008, 02:01 PM
 
As to hard drives, in addition to speed size becomes very important when you reach 50% full or so. What Oreo said:
Also, if you have a larger drive, then your data will reside on faster parts of the drive. If you fill 150 GB data, then the the 320 GB drive will be significantly faster. ...the general trend is still the same: 7.2k drives have a clear edge at the same capacity, but if you compare drives for the same drives, usually the 5.4k drive is larger and the larger drive has advantages even if they are from the same generation. Under realistic circumstances, the 5.4k drive will be faster in certain situations.
At the same percentage full or if you keep your drive less than 60% full (IMO very appropriate) 7200 RPM drives provide significantly better performance during disk-intensive activities.

Note that the extra pixels and screen real estate of MBPs is a huge benefit IMO. Spending a thousand hours using a 15" 1440x900 as opposed to using a 13" 1280x800 is a very big deal.

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Oct 24, 2008, 02:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
As to hard drives, in addition to speed size becomes very important when you reach 50% full or so. What Oreo said:


At the same percentage full or if you keep your drive less than 60% full (IMO very appropriate) 7200 RPM drives provide significantly better performance during disk-intensive activities.

Note that the extra pixels and screen real estate of MBPs is a huge benefit IMO. Spending a thousand hours using a 15" 1440x900 as opposed to using a 13" 1280x800 is a very big deal.

-Allen Wicks
i think that the screen thing is a done deal.
this is really just a second computer for me.
i will have 2.
i do not really need it, but i would rather show up in class with a mac that my crappy work dell.
in any event, i have read so many negative things about the 13 inch, i think that i am turned off by that.
i am just a bit upset with apple that i cannot get the HDD speed upgrade at the store, so i have to let it go.
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Oct 24, 2008, 03:07 PM
 
320GB 2.5" Hitachi Travelstar 7K320 7200RPM SATA Notebook Drive with 16MB Cache - New, 3 Year Warranty - $99.97 after $20 rebate if purchased by 10/30/08:

http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Hitachi/0A57547/

For less than $100, the performance and capacity increases are tremendous.

I'm no expert, but my philosophy is to buy the base Mac, and max out the RAM and upgrade the hard drive through a third party. Upgrading the RAM & HD is not difficult.
( Last edited by DCJ001; Oct 28, 2008 at 08:36 PM. )
     
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Oct 24, 2008, 03:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by DCJ001 View Post
320GB 2.5" Hitachi Travelstar 7K320 7200RPM SATA Notebook Drive with 16MB Cache - New, 3 Year Warranty - $102.99 after $20 rebate if purchased by 10/30/08:

http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Hitachi/0A57547/
wow, thanks.
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Oct 24, 2008, 06:10 PM
 
I would just like to verify something. For those of you who have the new MacBook Pro with the 320, 5,400 or 7,200 RPM, what is the model number on the drive?

Mine is a Hitachi HTS723232L9SA62.

I just like to make sure about these things, I ordered the 2.8 / 320gb, 7,200 rpm.

You find out this information by going to: Finder, About This Mac, More Info, Hardware, Serial-ATA.
     
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Oct 24, 2008, 06:34 PM
 
Also, I see that the 320GB Serial ATA @ 7200 option at the Apple Store, for the MBP, is only $50.

But if you do the upgrade yourself, you can use the original 320GB 5400 RPM drive in an external drive enclosure. When I upgraded my MacBook, I got the one at the URL below for $11.99 with free shipping:

http://www.xpcgear.com/emvst25.html

Something to think about.
     
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Oct 24, 2008, 08:38 PM
 
I'm also planning to upgrading my mid 2007 Macbook. Didn't expect that I spent 120GB of space in a flash. I was planning to get this:
http://www.wdc.com/en/products/produ...77&language=en
or this:
http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?driveid=377

However, I was wondering if there is any noticeable disadvantage in battery consuming & the Macbook's temperature should I choose the 7200rpm. For comparison, I usually lose 10% of the battery for every 20 minutes while watching an .avi file under my current setting.

Any advice, please? BTW, I use the 2x2GB RAM kit. Perhaps that could contribute to offset the disadvantages (if there's any)?
     
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Oct 25, 2008, 12:31 AM
 
Get the 5400. A 7200 will be faster some times under certain circumstances. It will drain your battery a lot faster all the time.
     
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Oct 25, 2008, 01:33 AM
 
My recommendation is to keep the stock drive. Here's why:

1. This way you can evaluate for yourself whether the 5400 is sufficiently slow that you need the 7200 upgrade or not. If it works fine for you, then you can keep the 5400.

2. If you decide you want the 7200, just buying a 2.5" drive is often actually cheaper than Apple's upgrade prices, and they're easy to install yourself. You can then eBay the old drive to recoup some of the cost and make the upgrade really cheap, or you can use it in an enclosure.

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Oct 25, 2008, 04:10 AM
 
     
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Oct 25, 2008, 04:12 AM
 
Originally Posted by aaanorton View Post
A 7200 will be faster some times under certain circumstances. It will drain your battery a lot faster all the time.
In all of the recent reports I've seen looking at notebook drives, the wattage difference between 7200 rpm and 5400 rpm drives has been extremely low. Judging by that I would say in terms of emitted heat and battery life you are not looking at any considerable differences.
     
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Oct 25, 2008, 01:34 PM
 
Here are my speeds on my new MBP.

Duplicating 905 megs made up of 850 files.

Stock 5200RPM hitachi Drive: 59 seconds
New 7200RPM Seagate Drive: 32 Seconds.

That is a HUGE difference. I always read it was about 40% faster and this proves it. The whole machine feels much much faster at launching apps, opening photoshop files and running VM Ware with XP at the same time as OSX.

No more heat or noise than with the 5200.
     
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Oct 25, 2008, 06:25 PM
 
i just put a 7200 320 gig in my c2duo mbp. It's nice to have some space. I wouldn't use HD as a factor between the MB and MBP. In either case, i'd probably just plan on spending 100$ on a 320 gig drive and get the smallest one from apple. Then you can spend 15$ on an external case and you get a cheap small external drive and the fastest drive (short of SSD) you can get.

As for speed comparisons. I replaced a 160 gig 5400 drive. The new drive is clearly faster, but honestly, I haven't noticed a great improvement in load times for apps. File copies are faster though.

if you want to see a lot of benchmarks, toms hardware has a recent article on the new 320gig drives and compares 5400vs 7200. The samsung 320gig drive has a way higher sustained throughput than my old drive on those benchmarks.

I did a time machine restore via an external raid firewire 800 drive to my new 320 gig drive in about 2.5 hours - the tutorials online i found said that took "overnight". So I think the internal drive is faster
     
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Oct 25, 2008, 09:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by kanketsu View Post
However, I was wondering if there is any noticeable disadvantage in battery consuming & the Macbook's temperature should I choose the 7200rpm. For comparison, I usually lose 10% of the battery for every 20 minutes while watching an .avi file under my current setting.
No; the difference in power consumption is at most tenths of a watt, sometimes in favor of the newer 7200RPM drive.

Originally Posted by aaanorton View Post
Get the 5400. A 7200 will be faster some times under certain circumstances. It will drain your battery a lot faster all the time.
No, it won't.

Originally Posted by analogue SPRINKLES View Post
Here are my speeds on my new MBP.

Duplicating 905 megs made up of 850 files.

Stock 5200RPM hitachi Drive: 59 seconds
New 7200RPM Seagate Drive: 32 Seconds.

That is a HUGE difference. I always read it was about 40% faster and this proves it. The whole machine feels much much faster at launching apps, opening photoshop files and running VM Ware with XP at the same time as OSX.
That may be due to the new disk having more free space or being less fragmented. Your results are atypical ceteris paribus.
     
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Oct 25, 2008, 09:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
That may be due to the new disk having more free space or being less fragmented. Your results are atypical ceteris paribus.
Oh please, this was files on a 2 day old mac with over 150 gigs off free space on both.
     
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Oct 26, 2008, 07:47 PM
 
Quite nice to see (although the article is not a recent one) that the 7200 is better for your batterylife.

Originally Posted by barefeats
POWER USAGE and YOUR BATTERY LIFE
Many of you have asked if the 7K notebook drives will drain your battery faster or make your laptop run hotter. Here's a shocker: the 5K WD Scorpio averages 2.5 watts for read/write functions. The Hitachi 7K200 uses only 2.3 watts. When it comes to "active idle," the 5K WD drive requires twice as much power as the 7K Hitachi (2.0 vs 1.0 watts). In other words, the 7K Hitachi 200G notebook drive will have a lower impact on your MacBook Pro's battery life (and generate less heat) compared to the 5K WD 250G drive.
http://www.barefeats.com/hard96.html
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Oct 26, 2008, 10:24 PM
 
Thanks for the insights. I see that 7200rpm is probably not as power hungry as I thought. No significant extra heat or battery consumption, so it seems.

I'm leaning toward getting the WD3200BEKT, but I would like to know about the noise factor. From the system profiler, my current HD is ST9120822AS. I can't hear any noticeable noise from it. Now I also have an external 250 GB WD Passport; this one DOES have noticeable sound coming from it, albeit not very loud (it sounds like low fan noise). I can also feel it vibrating - the Seagate stock HD doesn't vibrate at all.

My question is, should I replace the stock HD with the WD3200BEKT inside the Macbook, will I get more noise & vibration? If it does give the same vibe & noise level as the WD External Passport, I think I'll need other alternatives... probably from Seagate?
     
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Oct 26, 2008, 11:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by kanketsu View Post
My question is, should I replace the stock HD with the WD3200BEKT inside the Macbook, will I get more noise & vibration? If it does give the same vibe & noise level as the WD External Passport, I think I'll need other alternatives... probably from Seagate?
The Hitachi drive in my signature is silent and vibration free. I would imagine that the 320GB 7200 RPM Hitachi drive that I referenced a few days ago for $99.97 would be the same.
( Last edited by DCJ001; Oct 28, 2008 at 08:35 PM. )
     
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Oct 27, 2008, 11:10 AM
 
my 7200 samsung is basically silent. the 7200 spins faster so its possible to get more vibration but the new drives do a good job of damping it.
     
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Oct 27, 2008, 05:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by solofx7 View Post
any opinions on how big of a difference performance-wise this will make?
Well you can find some information http://www.lowendmac.com/ppc/power-macintosh-5400.html and http://www.lowendmac.com/ppc/power-macintosh-7200.html

I've got a 5400 that I'm trying to rehome, interested?

     
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Oct 27, 2008, 05:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by Ted L. Nancy View Post
... vs. SSD

Don't forget that third option.
On a serious note, SSD isn't much faster (in some cases slower) than a 7200 drive. The important difference is that the SSD doesn't have any moving parts. No heads to scratch platters or anything like that. They're safer all around for data integrity.
"…I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than
you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods,
you will understand why I dismiss yours." - Stephen F. Roberts
     
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Oct 27, 2008, 05:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
On a serious note, SSD isn't much faster (in some cases slower) than a 7200 drive. The important difference is that the SSD doesn't have any moving parts. No heads to scratch platters or anything like that. They're safer all around for data integrity.
Based on the below comparison of HDD vs SSD in the MacBook Pro 2.8GHz, their conclusion is "When you balance speed with price with capacity... the Hitachi 7K320 HDD provides more bang for the buck [than the SSD]":

http://www.barefeats.com/mbpp08.html
( Last edited by DCJ001; Oct 27, 2008 at 07:08 PM. )
     
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Oct 27, 2008, 06:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
On a serious note, SSD isn't much faster (in some cases slower) than a 7200 drive. The important difference is that the SSD doesn't have any moving parts. No heads to scratch platters or anything like that. They're safer all around for data integrity.
On the downside the SSD's have limited read and writes so who knows how one can tell when the end is near.
     
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Oct 27, 2008, 07:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by analogue SPRINKLES View Post
On the downside the SSD's have limited read and writes so who knows how one can tell when the end is near.
Please source that FUD.
I've never read anything about a read cycle limit for flash, and the write cycle limits are now (within the last few years) incredibly high (~1.5e6 cycles). It would take over 60 years at a (impractically high) average write rate of 100MBps to run out of write cycles with a 128GB SSD.
     
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Oct 27, 2008, 07:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by solofx7 View Post
hmmm...
trying to justify the MBP...
any help?
If Snow Leopard is any indication, I think the advanced GPU will kick in as a co-processor, and then the MacBook Pro will really take off, and leave the MacBook in the dust.. yes, I'd buy into the future potential and go with the 7200rpm drive too..
     
 
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