Blacko

Replacing Macbook hard drive

Recommended Posts

Hi everyone,

I'm the owner of a 2009 Macbook Pro (Unibody). Actually, I've got the Hitachi HTS545025B9SA02 (250 Go, 5400 rpm) in my laptop. However, I need more room for my storage (and I don't want to go with an external hard drive). Do, I'm planning on replacing the internal hard drive of my laptop for a new one (500 Gb).

I've looked around and red a few reviews. From what I understand, at this moment, Samsung (SpinPoint), Hitachi (TravelStar), Seagate (Momentus) and Wd (Sorpio) are the good choices to go with. Nevertheless, I'm still not quite sure whether to choose a 7200 rpm HD or a 5400 rpm one. I'm questioning myself as to know if the speed difference would really perceptible. I'm a normal user (Word, iTunes, iPhoto, Firefox, Mail, iCal, QuickTime, downloads, etc.). So, I'm wondering if the 7200 rpm versus the 5400 rpm would make a difference, in terms on performance, for my usual utilization of my laptop. Do you think it would?

Just to be sure, Samsung doesn't make 7200 rpm hard drives for laptop right?

Also, if I go with a 7200 rpm HD, I know the WD Scorpio Black (500 Gb) is the most efficient one (in 500 Gb models), but my concerns are about the heat, the noise, the vibrations and the power consumption of such hard drives (7200 rpm). Comparatively to 5400 rpm drives, do the 7200 rpm ones consume more, make more heat, make more noise (I'm frequently working in my room which is completely silent and my actual HD is totally silent and non vibrating) and more vibrations? In all the reviews I red, these concerns were less talked about than the speed and performance of the drive itself. I know it's different from one to an other, so in which order would these drives be ranked for each categories (noise, vibrations, power consumption and heat): Seagate Momentus XT, Seagate Momentus ST, WD Scorpio Black and Hitachi TravelStar (or others if there's another good model I forgot) (all in 500 Gb model)?

If I got with a 5400 rpm hard drive, what model, still with 500 Gb of storage, would suit me up well (still for the heat, noise, vibrations and power consumption issues)? What would you recommend me (between the Samsung SpinPoint, Seagate Momentus, WD Scorpio Blue and Hitachi TravelStar (this one or this one), or others if there's another good model I forgot) and why?

Also, what's the difference between the two TravelStar listed above (5400 rpm drives)?

Finally, as a personal choice of you, wich drive (in 500 Gb model) would you get (whichever 5400 rpm or 7200 rpm) for a laptop and why?

I read my topic and I realize it's quite long. However, I'm planning on changing my hard drive and would like to make the best choice (being well informed). So, thanks a lot guys for your help and your time and have a great day.

Blacko

Edited by Blacko

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No worries on the length of your post, and welcome to the forums.

It's not always an easy task to figure out which drive to go with. You're not aching for top-tier performance, you seem to be more concerned about things like heat, noise and battery life. Even so, if it were me, I'd be leaning heavily toward the Momentus XT. With the price down to $120 now, from the $155 release pricing, it's a pretty good deal for 500GB.

There's also the new 750GB Momentus (regular, no flash memory) that we just reviewed. If you've already loaded up 250GB of data on your machine, this might give you more headroom and it's a good performer. For $100 it's a very good option.

To answer your main question though, I think the benefits of 7200 v 5400 are noticeable and easily offset by any small battery loss.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to the forums. :)

Upgrading the hard drive to a significantly faster model will perceptibly increase your performance. Your 250GB 5400RPM drive will be quite slow next to more modern 7200RPM drives.

I highly recommend going with a 7200RPM spindle speed. Because the platters are spinning faster, the drive has a lower access time, and a "snappy" system is all about access time. A lower access time will make a difference every time you do something that requires hard disk access such as opening a program or file and booting up.

In the past, 7200RPM drives used to run a lot hotter/noisier and consume more power than comparable 5400RPM drives. However today that is no longer the case. You won't be able to tell the difference in any of those areas with the right 7200RPM drive today.

I suggest a Hitachi 7K500; it is in my opinion the "best of breed" of modern 7200RPM mechanical hard drives. I also own the WD Scorpio Black 500GB (WD5000BEKT) and while benchmarks say it's faster, I don't notice a difference and it is noticeably noisier. The 7K500 on the other hand is quiet and just as fast. There is essentially no vibration from either drive. Here's a relevant review:

http://www.storagereview.com/western_digital_scorpio_black_500gb_review_wd5000bekt

I also own a WD Scorpio Blue 500GB 5400RPM, and it is noticeably slower compared to both my 7K500 and the WD5000BEKT, and the Scorpio Blue 500GB is one of the faster 5400RPM drives available.

Avoid the Seagate 7200.4 at all costs; compared to the WD/Hitachi 7200RPM drives, it has poor quality and subpar performance. It has a lot of vibration and noise by comparison as well.

So in conclusion, the Hitachi 7K500 is your best bet. Samsung makes a 640GB 7200RPM drive (HM640JJ) that is supposed to be good but I have no experience with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

Thank you both for your help and advice.

It's reassuring to know that I can find a 7300 rpm drive without to much battery loss, noise, vibration and heat. However, concerning the Seagate Momentus XT, I heard a lot of problems about the auto-spin off problem that is not resolve with the Macs (french forum... : )... So that brings me to consider more Hitachi and WD's drives. There is not Samsung 7200 rpm drives right?

This said, the Hitachi looks great and like it's the same company as the HD actually in my laptop, I think I should expect a similar feeling with it (but faster). At first, when reading the reviews, I was totally in for the WD Scorpio Black. It's the fastest one from many tests. However, I also had good inputs about the Hitachi TravelStar without the noise problem (not that this is a problem for the WD, but I saw a few topics about it, but only little noise, but as I'm working almost all the time in a silent room...). If anyone could confirm my statements, I would appreciate. If you have a another point of view, please let me know.

Finally, on my MacBook, I have a Sudden Motion sensor which retract the heads of the hard drive when it feels a movement. I'd like to know (1) if the Hitachi TravelStart has this system and (2) if so, will it be in conflict with the actual system in my Mac (I'll have twice the Sudden Motion sensor).

Again, thanks a lot!

Blacko

Edited by Blacko

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a motion sensor in my both my HP notebooks (ProBook 5310m and EliteBook 8740w) and the 7K500 and WD5000BEKT function fine with them; the hard drive light glows orange when I move the notebooks around, indicating it has shut off the hard drive. You will have to double-check to see if they will still work with the MacBook, I unfortunately don't know. At the very least I can tell you it won't cause any compatibility problems (whether or not the motion sensor works, that is).

Samsung does make 7200RPM drives; their best drive at the moment is the HM640JJ, which is 640GB 7200RPM and not all that expensive. I have no experience with it. Reviews state it has good performance (not quite as fast as the 7K500/WD5000BEKT but you wouldn't notice the difference between them). I am on the NotebookReview.com forums a lot and we have lots of people with the HM640JJ, no complaints yet.

That said, based on my own experience I would still recommend the 7K500. Great drive. I have been using it since it first came out. I have yet to read a comment from someone that's used a 7K500 and hasn't liked it. It will be a big upgrade from your current drive.

P.S. about the Seagate XT -- haven't heard of that spin-off problem but then again I don't surf Mac forums. I'd create a thread about it here and ask.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

Thanks for the informations. I'll look up to see if it will still work (anybody could answer me on that please?). At least I know it won't create a confilct!

Concerning the Momentus XT's problem of auto spin-off, they talk about it here.

Thanks again!

Blacko

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks a lot Brian!

One last question... My MacBook Pro unibody is equiped with a Motion Sensor. Do you know if the Hitachi TravelStar 7k500 is also equiped with a Motion Sensor? If yes, by replacing the original HD of my MacBook with the Hitachi TravelStar, will the original Motion Sensor be replaced by the one on the hitachi HD? Or will both (the one on the Hitachi and the one on my MacBook) work together?

Thanks again,

Blacko

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really don't know how Mac handles this and since you posted that in the other thread, let's not bring it up here too ;) Hopefully someone else with more Mac experience can help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now