View Full Version : Recommendations for upgrading MacBook Pro Hard Drive

01-13-2007, 07:36 PM
I have a MacBook Pro with a 120 gig hd and about 10 gigs of available space left. My options are to upgade to either a 160 or 200 gig internal drive.

The only 200 gig model I am aware of (via the OtherWorldComputing web site) is a Toshiba 4200 RPM model. There are two 160 gig choices: either a Segate or Hitachi 5400 RPM model.

Any recommendations, pros/cons? I would prefer the 200 gig, but I'm hesistant given the speed reduction.


01-13-2007, 10:24 PM
Unfortunately, I haven't looked into the reliability of either of these models -- anyone else out there?

01-20-2007, 04:05 PM
Not sure how reliable this is, but I came across this review while researching those two drives myself:


Hope this helps!

01-20-2007, 06:47 PM
thanks firas.

I find it interesting that the article suggests performance in hard drives aren't all that different once they are filled with data (real world conditions) versus when they are empty.

Kind of like the mpg claims on cars when they are tested in labs.. your actual mileage (or hard drive speed) may differ.

01-21-2007, 07:10 AM
You're welcome Tony. Yeah, that's marketing for you :) If all the manufacturers actually gave us the real facts that we needed, we wouldn't have to scour the Internet for reviews :) However, keep in mind that performance is relative to the percentage of used disk space. Obviously 80% of a 160 GB drive is less than 80% of a 200 GB drive. Also note, that the comparison showed that the 5200 rpm drives are more power efficient than either the 4200 or the 7200 rpm drives, which I found very interesting.

01-27-2007, 10:02 AM
I worked on low-level spindle test software for the big "S" drive manufactorer for years. I learned some very interesting things about disk drive technology and the fact that faster RPM does not always equal faster performance.

Most drives these days do enhanced caching. Unlike the older drives most read an entire set of tracks at a time. Depending up on how big the cache is, how it is organized and what you are asking from it can HUGELY effect speed.

During the early years I was working on a 100gb drive. BIG for the time but small now days. This drive spun at 3600 RPM. Transfer rates were fairly slow compared to current drives but then one day one of the engineers walked in with a new controller card. We shut the drive down, slapped on the new card and resumed the read-write test. He had doubled the transfer rates by simply enlarging and reorganizing the cache access algorithm.

What it boils down to is that the relative difference between a 4200 drive, a 5400 and a 7200 can mean very little to a user depending up on your usage. If you are streaming TONS of media then faster RPM certainly equates to faster disk writes BUT only if the manufacturer has done the caching scheme right.

So these days, unless you are streaming media professional that demands the fastest possible transfer rates, you'll probably see little difference between the drives. So I'd suggest pick based on power efficiency and space needed.

Also in my opinion if you really are looking for the fastest possible disk speed a laptop is not the way to go. You can get MUCH faster bigger (non-laptop) drives for things like the MacPro.


01-27-2007, 07:37 PM
Mark, based on the bare feats article that Firas provided, the 5400 RPM drives seem most efficient from a battery use perspective. Would you happen to know why that may be the case?