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Difference between 5400rpm & 7200 rpm both ATA 133 drives

Posted on 2002-05-03
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
Apart from the obvious difference in rpm what is the significant diferences in the above two drives assuming both are the same size.
There was little difference in the price so I instinctively bought the 7200rpm drive.
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Question by:louwin
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16 Comments
 
LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:Crash2100
ID: 6989426
http://www.epinions.com/cmd-review-2206-D027984-3A1DD295-prod4
http://www.ajb.com.au/forums.asp?cat=ht&top=147


What is the Difference between 5400 RPM and 7200 RPM hard-drives?
http://www.pc-tweaks.com/pageviewer.asp?page=1&article=faq

The main difference between them is speed. If you are in the market for a new hard-disk, you shouldn't even waste your time with 5400 RPM hard-drives, because with how 7200 RPM drives seem easily twice as fast as 5400 RPM drives, and 7200 RPM drives are not much more expensive than thier slower counterparts, it is very much worth it to get the 7200 RPM drives.
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:kiranghag
ID: 6989481
faster is always costlier
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 6989484
There are also differences not directly related to computer speed performance:

1.  5400rpm drives draw less electrical power
2.  5400rpm drives typically make less noise
3.  5400rpm drives generate less heat
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Author Comment

by:louwin
ID: 6990857
Hi,

I read all the articles which seem to suggest there is a difference in speed & cost.  Then there are the considerations of power & heat etc.

I'm sorry but nobody answered the question.  I repeat -

There is NO appreciable cost difference.

Fater is NOT costlier.

I'm really NOT interested in power comsumption & heat dissapation.

If rpm is the ONLY difference which drive should I choose?

Rgds

Louis
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 6991778
Well you seem to have answered it yourself with your last comment.  If where you shop has the same price for either speed and you are not interested in externalities like heat then it should be a no-brainer to buy the faster.
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Expert Comment

by:chengxi
ID: 6993276
i would recommend you to choose the faster one. it is because now a days, motherboard manufacture support more on the 7200rpm hard disk. it gives you a faster speed, and some more it only have small difference in price, i cannot see why you choose a slower one...
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Expert Comment

by:Karnautrahl
ID: 6996506
Faster rpm would also indicate newer technology.  Probably going to last longer for one.  The higher speeds of UDMA 100/133 will be supported only on the 7200 rpm.  

If buying new it's going to work out more cost effective over time to get the faster and more modern hard disk.
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 6996673
AVOID CLICKING THE 'ANSWER' BUTTON FOR ERRONEOUS COMMENTS.

louwin, please use the 'reject answer' button to unlock this question Karnautrahl has so rudely blocked.
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Expert Comment

by:Karnautrahl
ID: 6996842
Hey I am new to this. Apologies for inconvencience.
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 6996876
It's not that you clicked 'answer' instead of leaving it at 'comment' because you're new (1/2 of all new people do that) it's that you're giving out completely erroneous information.  If by 'new at it' means you don't know about PCs, then just watch until someday you do know something.

"The higher speeds of UDMA 100/133 will be supported only on the 7200 rpm."

This is completely incorrect!  Not only are there 5400 rpm drives in Ultra100 and 133, in the largest capacities, THERE ARE NO 7200rpm drives.  The 160GB Maxtor, the largest IDE drive on the market, ONLY COMES IN 5400!  It is also only in Ultra133.

Key Features from Maxtor's website:
    * Maximum Capacity of 160.0 GB
    * Ultra ATA/133 Data Transfer Rate
    * 2 MB SDRAM Cache Buffer
    * < 12 ms average seek time
    * 5400 RPM

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Expert Comment

by:Karnautrahl
ID: 6996910
fair enough.  When I get a chance I better go do my research. I do a lot of work at home and do many things on here at once.  The consequence is that sometimes the details on the current hardware may elude me :) so once again aplogies for basing my answer on current experience and not having gone and looked for additional information.

Oh and thanks for the additional info.  I could do with a new drive.  a willingness to learn new things is one of the reasons I am here.   I would like to contribute but perhaps next time will spend some time on extra research before I reply.
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Author Comment

by:louwin
ID: 6998219
Hi,

Still NO real answers to my original question.

All things being equal why the 7200 in preference to the 5400?

Louis
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Expert Comment

by:chengxi
ID: 6998234
then tell us wat actually you really want to know....we provide you the difference but you just wont accept all kinds of opinion....
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 6999332
As far as I can tell this has been answered several times over.  What kind of answer are you looking for?  If you don't care about faster performance and you don't care about power/heat issues what does that possibly leave?
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Author Comment

by:louwin
ID: 7000903
For instance, a verified opinion that under heavy load the 7200 performs better or in burst mode 5400 is better etc etc.  Why produce the 7200 if is is no better?

magarity just said it was faster.  How faster if both are rated at ATA133?  Just faster in rpm?

What everyone appears to say is ignoring heat dissapation, probable cost, old/new technology (false as the 5400 is just as new!), rpm, noise, there is no difference, performancewise, between the two.  I find that hard to believe.
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LVL 13

Accepted Solution

by:
magarity earned 300 total points
ID: 7002548
OK, for different capacities, these differences do not apply correctly but if we assume two 3.5 inch hard drives of Xmegabytes:

1.  The 7200 will have faster random seek times.  This is the time between when the command "get some data from a certain place" is received by the drive and when it is actually read (or written).  There is lag because if the place where the data is located is just behind where the heads just went past, the platter has to spin all the way around to start.  Since 7200 is spinning faster than 5400, it will get there first.

2.  Since there is X bits per square inch stored on the drive, the faster that much space can go past the read/write heads, the faster that data can be sent to the CPU.  For example, say there is one MB per inch and drive A spins at 1 inch per second and drive B spins at 2 inches per second.  Drive A will be able to send the data at only half the speed of drive B.  Translate this to whatever density for a given drive means the 7200 is theoretically up to 25% faster.

3.  All drives come with at least a little cache memory.  This memory will accept data to be written at the full bus speed.  So, assuming two drives with equal cache and different splindle speeds, there will be no difference at the same bus speed.  If a 5400 and a 7200 have 2MB caches and you write less than 2MB of data, the performance will be exactly the same.  As soon as you write more than 2MB at the same time, the 7200 will go faster for everything above 2MB.  The same goes for reading.  If the drive's predicting logic is working well and it figures out what you will read next, and that is less than 2MB, there is no difference in the two drives.  Note that because RAM chips are cheap, many 5400 drives have larger caches to try to level their performance.  As soon as the two caches are different sizes, it becomes nearly impossible to give a determination as to which drive is faster without extensive testing under real world conditions.

Some people are concerned about heat and electrical use so they might buy the slower drive anyway even at the same cost.  Other people don't care so will get the faster unit.

Note that as soon as the drives are different capacities, the performance differences change.  There is twice as much data on a 160GB drive than an 80GB drive.  So a 5400rpm 160GB drive would have data moving past twice as fast than a 7200rpm 80GB drive.  So twice as much data at 25% less speed means the 5400 in this case is roughly 75% faster.  Furthermore, at ultra high capacities, the density is very, very high.  So the read/write head has to be at EXACTLY the right place.  This is easier to do the slower the spindle turns which is why the giant Maxtors are only 5400.
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