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Thread: 5400 RPM or 7200 RPM HDD? Heat?

  1. #1
    5400 RPM or 7200 RPM HDD? Heat?
    I'm looking into getting a Hard Drive for a 13" MacBook Pro that was recently released. I've read posts on MacForums and MacRumors and across the net abroad looking for an answer and have yet to get a clear consice answer.

    I use my computer HEAVILY for it is my personal computer that I use for video (iMovie, Adobe After Effects, Final Cut Pro/Studio), audio (Audacity, GarageBand, ProTools), and image (Photoshop) editing. I'm also designing a website and will maintain it from this laptop (Dreamweaver). While I know the web site design doesn't seem taxing, I'm using Adobe Flash Catalyst and Flex to design the site in conjunction with Dreamweaver and the site will have streaming video and a lot of Flash which can be quite taxing... And that's just what I do at home in my free time.

    At work I use all the same programs and even more resource hungry development tools. So while it would be nice to have the performance of a 7200 RPM drive to match the 8GB of RAM I shelled out nearly $700 for @ OWC, I am concerned about how hot the unit will get with 8GB of RAM crammed into it and it being aluminum and all. While I know aluminum is supposed to handle heat better than other metals, it's still a metal and is bound to get a lot hotter than the polycarbonate MacBook shells that proceeded it. I use this computer from 6:30 a.m. to 2 or 3 in the morning almost everyday except weekends which I usually get up around 9 or 10 in the morning, but even still, the computer stays on unless it's in my bag in transit from home to work or vise versa or I'm on the road alot one day in which case, I turn it off until I either get back to the office or go home.

    So now that you have a clear understanding of my situation, please advise whether my need for the performance outweighs the heat I am going to generate from a 13" frame packed full of high speed heat emitting RAM and Hard Drive or despite the speed difference is the 7200 rpm hard drive just run too hot to be safe (especially when combined with the maxed out RAM). I want the best of the best and the performance increase, but I don't want to fry my machine (can't afford to do that and miss even a day of work or loose even a days worth of un-backed-up data) and might I add I've already spent enough on this computer from hardware to software so saving $50 by going with a 5400 rpm 500 GB drive instead of a 7200 rpm 500 GB drive would be nice, but if the 7200 won't fry my machine, I'm willing to shell out $150 for a 500 GB 7200 for the performance increase. I need all the power I can get out of a 13" frame without causing problems or frying something.

  2. #2

    B&O's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 18, 2007
    Brit in Tokyo.
    OK having 8GB of RAM and a 7,200rpm drive won't cause any problems. It may run a little hotter but won't be crazy hot or anything. You shouldn't even need either upgrade as what you have is now is fine. However, I also understand that you want the best performance from your machine. Also Alu is very good at cooling. It is better than plastic as it is basically a giant heat sink.

    Also on a side note. I think you should try and get away from the computer more. You spend too much time in front of the computer:joke!
    MacBook Pro 2.66Ghz i7. Mac Mini 2.26Ghz C2D
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  3. #3

    Kash's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 03, 2006
    Irvine, CA
    I upgraded from a 5400RPM to a 7200RPM drive a while back and haven't noticed any adverse effects to battery life or heat. You'll get a significant performance boost with little to no consequences. I would definitely recommend this upgrade.

    Also, you shouldn't be seeing any heat increase from the upgraded RAM. Memory stays fairly cool unless you're overclocking it, which isn't available to you on a Mac, so it's not really a concern. Plus, with such a high amount of RAM, OS X will use the hard drive less for virtual memory, effectively increasing your battery life as the hard drive won't have to spin up quite so often.

    June 2007
    July 2009

  4. #4

    CrimsonRequiem's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 24, 2008
    I'm interested in seeing your website and your work. ^-^"

    Faster HDD is not really necessary. HDD space should be the number one concern, seeing as 500GB is the largest storage for an internal HDD that's where I would start.

    Seagate is currently the only one out with a 7200 RPM 500GB HDD, might want to check that out. Investing some money into an external HDD would also be the way to go especially when you do as much work as you do.

  5. #5

    bobtomay's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 22, 2006
    Texas, where else?
    Comparison of 7 500GB notebook drives - here.

    Agreed with Kash.

    And Crimson makes the best point. If you have not purchased an external drive and are not maintaining at least a daily bootable backup as of yet, you are only asking to have happen what you say you cannot afford - data loss. You really need to invest there before you worry about replacing the internal drive.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

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