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5400 rpm VS. 7200 rpm (and better)

Rocky

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#1
Hey wassup everyone here @ Techpowerup.. im really into building my own pc and thought this would be one of the best places to learn alot more than i already know.

neways i was wondering, i wanted to have more than one HDD. I was hoping to have one HDD to hold all of my mp3's (about 30GB) then to have a HDD only to install any pc games that i have (i dont have much ... yet), then a general HDD for all other programs like my Photoshop 7, microsoft office... etc.

SO....

i was wondering what is the difference in 5400rpm and 7200rpm and which one should i buy??? and is there any reason i buy a HDD which has a higher rpm speed than 7200??
 

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#2
Firstly, welcome to TPU :)

the difference in the speeds of the hard drives are access times. for example, a 7200RPM hard drive may take 10ms to access a file, a 5400RPM may take 15ms. It really only matters on gaming and loading times in games a lot.

If you want seperate stuff, id say get a massive HDD, like 250-300GB and partion it out into however many sizes u want :)
 
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#3
TBH, not many drives 5400 drives exist nowadays, most that you can buy are 7200 (or higher) and the price difference is generally minimal. I agree with Pinchy, get a large drive for music and files and put games on your best drive.
 

Pinchy

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#4
yea i havent seen too many 5400's around (except in laptops). currently, i store all my music on a 10GB 4400RPM hdd :p and it gives me no troubles (7 years old and no bad sectors ;)) but if i was to install a game on that, it would lag and take AGES to load.

I, personally, dont see the worth of spending all the extra money for over 7200RPM (such as 10k and 15k). I reckon 7200RPM is best bang for your buck :)
 

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#5
It really only matters on gaming and loading times in games a lot.
For the most part I agree, but it also matters if you happen to import video from DV cameras and suchlike.

A bit of a niché market around here I'm guessing, but I thought I'd try be helpful anyway :p
 

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#6
I noticed a big difference in the time it takes to fully load Windows when I got rid of my old Maxtor 20GB 5400rpm-drive..
 

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#7
For the most part I agree, but it also matters if you happen to import video from DV cameras and suchlike.
lol yea i havent done much importing of vids, but it would make a diff.


I noticed a big difference in the time it takes to fully load Windows when I got rid of my old Maxtor 20GB 5400rpm-drive..
I cant really compare, because they are two different OS's, but back when i had windows 98loaded onto my old comp, with my 10GB 4400RPM HDD it took AGES to load. On the same comp, i put in this 40GB 7200RPM (but installed windows XP at the same time) and the loading time was HEAPS faster. like it took 3 mins on win 98, about 1.5 on XP. But another factor is that XP is designed to load faster :D
 

Rocky

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#8
thanks for the help guys!

It looks like i will only be using 7200rpm for my new build. also would there be anyway of
1. finding out what rpm is in my current dell (this old thing is GARBAGE! 866mhz...512SD RAM.. 20GB HDD) HDD
2. is it worth it to install a faster bigger HDD in this old thing for now while i can afford all components for my new pc??

also i just got a mini DV cam .. so i will be doing some importing of film.. so that i can learn to edit it and such.
 

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#9
1. On the label of the HDD it should have all the specs and stuff about it
2. A hard drive basically only allows you to have larger space, it wont speed up your computer :p so get it if u need the extra room
 

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#10
a faster hdd does make your computer faster .. moving to a wd raptor for my system drive made a great difference for me. of course when using the hdd just for storage it doesnt matter much, but still get a 7200 rpm drive. 5400 rpm drives are usually not much cheaper.
 

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#11
i think i worded it wrong :p

What i meant was that it wouldnt give u a performance increase in games, like you wouldnt get higher FPS. it would speed up load times and access times (for like opening MS word and stuff), make virus scanning faster, searches faster, etc, but i dnt think it would increase your fps in games

correct me if im wrong :D
 
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#12
5400 have one still valid use, sff pc's(mini cubes and such) where heat is a HUGE issue, moved from a 7200rpm drive to a 5400 on my buddys unit and it stoped heating the side of the case up so much that u could smell hot paint(stinky)
most of those sff cases have extreamly poor airflow, so anything to cut down on heat is a good thing :)
 

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#13
yeah it's not increasing your fps. a wd raptor x with transparent top may increase your e-penis though :p
 

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#14
So in recap...

Yes buy the 7200 for now till you get the chance to upgrade the rest. The hard drive is the slowest piece of hardware in the system and you will notice a difference in loading everything from programs, windows, game levels and when you transfer files. There are some great deals out there and like they said buying one fairly large one, about 250 to 320 gigs is a sweet spot right now. Partition it like they recommended to separate as you wish.

take a look at this great comparison of 17 hard drives
http://techreport.com/reviews/2006q3/maxtor-diamondmax-11/index.x?pg=1

From the numbers I subjectively favor the
Samsung T series and the
Western Digital k series

One thing you'll really enjoy is how much quieter the new hard drives are.
 
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#15
Yeah, you only understand once you see it for yourself . When i went from a new 7200rpm single drive to the sata 2 @3gb/s raid array yeah no more questions . and here is somthin else i am not knockin wd raptors they will probally out last my hitachi drives but... facts are facts maybe not exactly as fast but close enogh of offset the price differce. and ofcource as for as loading maps in game a good ping alway's helps. i gave a hundred bucks for "both" drives http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822145088

put a little work in your rig and you'll be happy !

faster software install's
faster virus/adware scans

yeah it all has to work togather

think of it as "a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link "
 

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#16
thanks for the help on this subject! i need to invest ASAP into a 100GB+ 7200rpm HDD for my garbage computer for now.
 
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#17
a couple of things i have noticed is.. copying large files from one part of a hardrive to another part takes two or three times as long as copying from one hardrive to another hardrive.. the heads have to move less..

and a biggish drive with a dense platter is faster than a smaller drive of a similar make with a less dense platter....

my 250 gig samsung is as fast as a raptor.. my 160 gig samsung is just average..

these are real usage tests not benchmark figures

i cant help but feel the smaller drive will live longer thow.. he he he

oh and an empty drive is noticably faster than a full one.. he he he

so a seperate nearly empty drive for the operating system plus basic apps is probably a good idea..

trog
 

Rocky

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#18
o i forgot to ask...

1st i need to find out what kind of interface my hdd runs.. but can i replace it with any other interface?? or do i have to keep the old interface.. cause since my PC is old, i think my hdd runs on ide.. i think? but i was thinking about wanting one of those nice SATA interfaces??

sorry if that was a major noob question lol.
 
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#19
a faster hdd does make your computer faster .. moving to a wd raptor for my system drive made a great difference for me.
Agreed: I saw the SAME thing, moving to Raptor X's @ 10,000rpm & 16mb buffers (especially in RAID 0), up from WD 120 jb 7,200rpm 8mb buffered units (fast, in & of themselves).

APK
 
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#20
oh and an empty drive is noticably faster than a full one.. he he he
Agreed: This is plainly noticeable & how I also structure my systems (I use a USB external SATA drive enclosure for storage, that has a WD 74gb RAPTOR in it).

so a seperate nearly empty drive for the operating system plus basic apps is probably a good idea..

trog
It is, if you are a performance-fiend... &, like most of us, here, I am... this IS how I do & have done my setups, & for nearly a decade now.

APK
 

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#21
o i forgot to ask...

1st i need to find out what kind of interface my hdd runs.. but can i replace it with any other interface?? or do i have to keep the old interface.. cause since my PC is old, i think my hdd runs on ide.. i think? but i was thinking about wanting one of those nice SATA interfaces??

sorry if that was a major noob question lol.
lol dont worry mate, i had the same problem.

Cus ur board is old, i reckon it only has IDE. i got my board about 2 years ago, and it dusnt support SATA (i just bought a new SATA drive and now have to wait till i get a new mobo to use it :()

ALTHOUGH u can get a PCI card with a SATA slot on it, and ive even seen an IDE to SATA converter :)
 
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#22
In reality the bottleneck of hard drives is their read/write times, not the transfer rate. The full SATA speeds will only be achieved when transfering buffered data, random read/write performance is not much better than standard IDE.

As your PC only has 5400RPM in it at the moment I'm guessing that it will, like Pinchy says, not have a SATA interface so go for IDE. If you want to see if your mobo supports SATA open the side of the case and have a look at what connectors there are!
 

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#23
Dont forget, SATA is also an IDE interface, the old ATA ribbon cables are PATA or just ATA.
 

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#24
Firstly, welcome to TPU :)

the difference in the speeds of the hard drives are access times. for example, a 7200RPM hard drive may take 10ms to access a file, a 5400RPM may take 15ms. It really only matters on gaming and loading times in games a lot.

If you want seperate stuff, id say get a massive HDD, like 250-300GB and partion it out into however many sizes u want :)

*i say do NOT do this, because if you have a 300gb drive, and it crashes, you lose everything.. I'd go with 2x 160gbs, or if you can, 2x 300gb's and divide your stuff among the 2 drives, and if you really want security, do a RAID setup so that everything is written twice, and identically backed up.
 
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Software Windows XP Home
#25
*i say do NOT do this, because if you have a 300gb drive, and it crashes, you lose everything.. I'd go with 2x 160gbs, or if you can, 2x 300gb's and divide your stuff among the 2 drives, and if you really want security, do a RAID setup so that everything is written twice, and identically backed up.
And identically screwed up when Window does something wrong! :roll: :roll: