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Laptop Hard Drive 5400 vs 7200rpm drive?

For many years I never considered anything other than a 7200rpm hard drive for my laptops. With my most recent laptop purchase, however, I elected to go with a 5400rpm drive for the first time. The main reason: heat! After doing a ton of reading about performance, nobody doubts that a 7200rpm drive is faster than a 5400rpm laptop hard drive. In my opinion, however, the small performance advantage one gets from a 7200rpm drive does NOT outweigh the significant increase in heat generation that comes from selecting a 7200rpm drive over a 5400rpm drive.

Along with the extra heat generation comes an increase in power (and therefore battery) consumption. Because I use my laptop often on the train, I like to maximize my battery life, and having a 5400rpm drive is one way to do that.

As portable computers get smaller and smaller, heat generation becomes more and more of an issue as more heat-generating components are packed into an ever shrinking space. So the next time you purchase a laptop, consider the size of the machine when it comes to heat generation, and also think about battery life as the faster 7200rpm drive will drain your battery more quickly than a comparably sized 5400rpm drive.

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  • This information is helpful to us. Thanks.

  • Mike

    It may generate more heat and use the battery faster, but it is also getting things going and accomplishing the tasks faster. That will generate less heat in the user who may boil over waiting for the next screen to open. Having a longer battery usage may not be so important is you could have finished the task so much sooner.

    • You make an interesting point but I wonder how many people really see that difference on a practical level. If photoshop and illustrator are what you need, then a workstation level machine may be appropriate. But if you are doing Word and Excel and some internet and Gmail, I’m not sure the performance difference will be so noticeable.

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