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Old 11-29-06, 08:11 PM   #1
jschen
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laptop hard drive choice

I'm thinking of getting a MacBook Pro 17" laptop (with the 2.33 GHz Merom processor). I'm not too concerned about battery life or heat or noise. Which would give better overall performance? A 100 GB 7200 RPM drive or a 160 GB 5400 RPM drive? I assume they'd give comparable sequential read/write rates (lower rotational speed being compensated for by higher plate density) but the 7200 RPM drive would give significantly faster random read/write rates, right? So if I don't need a huge amount of space, I should get the 7200 RPM drive, right?
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Old 11-29-06, 08:28 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jschen
I'm thinking of getting a MacBook Pro 17" laptop (with the 2.33 GHz Merom processor). I'm not too concerned about battery life or heat or noise. Which would give better overall performance? A 100 GB 7200 RPM drive or a 160 GB 5400 RPM drive? I assume they'd give comparable sequential read/write rates (lower rotational speed being compensated for by higher plate density) but the 7200 RPM drive would give significantly faster random read/write rates, right? So if I don't need a huge amount of space, I should get the 7200 RPM drive, right?
If you don't plan on doing much video editing/porn, then go for the 100 Gig.
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Old 11-29-06, 08:42 PM   #3
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Also check the cache sizes. A larger cache can help performance too (the usual sizes are 2 or 8 megabytes, and you'll see more 16MB ones as time goes by). More cache is like having a bigger mini-fridge right next to your armchair in the TV room
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Old 11-29-06, 08:42 PM   #4
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Personally I would get a solid-state drive, way, way faster than both of those drives listed.
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Old 11-29-06, 09:02 PM   #5
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Also check the cache sizes. A larger cache can help performance too (the usual sizes are 2 or 8 megabytes, and you'll see more 16MB ones as time goes by). More cache is like having a bigger mini-fridge right next to your armchair in the TV room
Good point. Unfortunately, Apple doesn't specify what hard drive you'll get, so no guarantees. But basically all hard drives that match either description would come with a 8 MB cache. (I think. I can't find an exception offhand.)
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Old 11-29-06, 09:04 PM   #6
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Go with the 100MB one with 7200 rpm. Is it SATA also?
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Old 11-29-06, 09:38 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by jschen
Good point. Unfortunately, Apple doesn't specify what hard drive you'll get, so no guarantees. But basically all hard drives that match either description would come with a 8 MB cache. (I think. I can't find an exception offhand.)
If they're both 8mb cache, I'd go with the 100gb 7200rpm drive. Cool thing is the Merom is a drop-in replacement for the older CoreDuo Macs, easy upgrade for a 20-25% boost in performance.
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Old 11-29-06, 09:40 PM   #8
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Yes, only SATA interfaces. Danno, that is indeed cool, but I don't have an Intel Mac yet, so it doesn't do me much good. I think I'm going with the 7200 RPM drive.
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Old 11-29-06, 09:43 PM   #9
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How much capacity do they have on Flash HD's now?
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Old 11-29-06, 10:38 PM   #10
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The Samsung 32gb drive goes for about $1500 I think. The performance is worth it if you have that kind of cash. I'm going to put a 4gb one in my Hackintosh desktop as the boot & swapfile drive and use the hard-drives for data. Some articles:

UK Guardian - Flash memory ready to put hard drives in a spin
Toms Hardware - Conventional Hard Drive Obsoletism? (the benchmarks are off the charts! )

Cost per gig is still high compared to platters, so a hybrid drive with 256mb flash cache might fit right in between. Almost as good performance as pure flash for much less money: Samsung's Hybrid Hard Drive Exposed.

I think what's really gonna move the flash-drive market isn't laptops, but the iPods and other miniature devices that need a lot of fast memory in a compact size.

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Old 11-29-06, 10:41 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
The Samsung 32gb drive goes for about $1500 I think. The performance is worth it if you have that kind of cash. I'm going to put one 8gb in my desktop Hackintosh as the boot & swapfile drive and use the hard-drives for data. Some articles:

UK Guardian - Flash memory ready to put hard drives in a spin
Toms Hardware - Conventional Hard Drive Obsoletism? (the benchmarks are off the charts! )

Cost per gig is still high compared to platters, so a hybrid drive with 256mb flash cache might fit right in between. Almost as good performance as pure flash for much less money: Samsung's Hybrid Hard Drive Exposed.

I think what's really gonna move the flash-drive market isn't laptop, but the iPods and other miniature devices that need a lot of fast memory in a compact size.
Still be awfully pricey then. Not to mention a major hassle marrying the drives after stacking them in! I'd need to replace a terabyte worth of HD in my primary 'puter alone! Then there's the secondary 'puter!
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Old 11-29-06, 10:58 PM   #12
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I have a lot of laptops. I usually go with a small internal drive. 60 or 80 gig is more than sufficient. Then, I go with an external enclosure (250+GB) for my MP3's and videos.

Also, getting a bigger hard drive from apple is often pricier than upgrading it yourself.
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Old 11-29-06, 11:06 PM   #13
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Also, getting a bigger hard drive from apple is often pricier than upgrading it yourself.
Very true. But the options on the 17" laptop are as follows:

100 GB 7200 RPM drive ($90 cheaper; academic pricing)
160 GB 5400 RPM drive (default)
200 GB 4200 RPM drive ($90 more)

I doubt I'll ever have more than about 40 GB of stuff on the drive, so a slower 200 GB drive is pointless. I'm just wondering whether the higher plate density and the lower percentage of the drive filled of the 160 GB drive can make up for a slower rotational speed. I doubt it, though.
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Old 11-29-06, 11:17 PM   #14
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Have you in fact verified that the 160GB drive has higher areal density than the 100GB? It's not a given that a higher-capacity drive has higher areal density.

Stick with Plan A, get the 7200rpm drive
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Old 11-30-06, 08:40 AM   #15
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I'd go with the 5400rpm drive, unless you need speed. Reason is the lower RPM drive should run quieter, and put out less heat....thus better reliability.
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