4200 RPM vs. 5400 RPM Hard Drive - Performance vs. Battery Life

Discussion in 'News Headlines' started by toomy, Nov 18, 2008.

  1. Barry J. Doyle

    Barry J. Doyle Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    4200 RPM vs. 5400 RPM Hard Drive -Performance vs.Battery Life

    [​IMG]

    Here at TabletPCReviewSpot.com we have hadthe subject come up time and time again. Readers want to know: Which hard drive should I get in my Tablet PC? This year more manufacturers than ever are offering a 5400 RPM hard drive optionover the 4200 RPM found in most notebooks and Tablet PC's.

    The chart below (March 2003)illustrates the anticipated adoption of the 5400 RPM drive in notebooks/Tablet PC's. In truth it seems that we are about a year behind the anticipated numbers in this chart.

    [​IMG]


    Performance

    First let's clear the air on just what "RPM" means in terms of hard disk performance. Just like a Dremel tool or a dentist's drill, a hard disk's speed is measured by "rotations per minute". Although in theorya faster spinninghard drive is better, what really countsin regards toperformance is the actual seek time or "access time" each drive model offers.

    Below is a table which displays the various maximum and minimum throughput of different drives(amount of work that the drive can do) andtheir corresponding spindle speed (RPM). Note that lower access times equal better performance.

    Drive Max MB/s Min MB/s Access Time (ms)
    Toshiba MK 1031GAS
    100 GB 4200 RPM
    28 MB/s 13 MB/s 18.7
    Hitachi 4K80
    80 GB 4200 RPM
    30 MB/s 15 MB/s 20
    Fujitsu MHU2100AT
    100 GB 4200 RPM
    32 MB/s 16 MB/s 20.1
    Samsung MP0804H
    80 GB 5400 RPM
    32 MB/s 15 MB/s 17.9
    Western Digital Scorpio WD800VE
    80 GB 5400 RPM
    34 MB/s 18 MB/s 18
    Toshiba MK8026GAX
    80 GB 5400 RPM
    35 MB/s 19 MB/s 17.9
    Seagate Momentus 5400.2
    100 GB 5400 RPM
    36 MB/s 18 MB/s 17
    Hitachi 5K80
    80 GB 5400 RPM
    36 MB/s 18 MB/s 17.6
    Hitachi 7K60
    60 GB 7200 RPM
    39 MB/s 19 MB/s 14.7


    Based on this data, one can conclude that the performance boost of a 5400 RPM drive vs. a 4200 RPM drive is notable. What is truly discouraging though is that even withsome models that are considered to be a"faster" drive, you could wind up with negligible performance. This is the case with the 100GB 4200 RPM Fujitsu MHU2100ATwhich has a 32 MB/s maximum throughput and a 20.1 ms seek time. On the other hand, the 80GB 5400 RPM Samsung MP0804H has a matching 32 MB/s maximum throughput and a 17.9 ms seek time.The differenceresults inonlya modest 2.2 ms (millisecond)performance boostover the Samsung which is 20GB smaller than the Fujitsu.

    In looking at the overall performancedifferences between the4200 RPM and 5400 RPM drives in the table, the extra speed may seem miniscule to some. However, one would assume that during large data tranfers, the extra performance boost can make quite a difference since the benefits can be multiplied several times. So if you are going to use your machine for large transfers necessary for video editing or DVD duplication, the investment in the faster drive could be well worth the money.


    Battery Life

    Aconstant debate concerning battery lifeand faster hard drives has been a hot topic among mobile computing enthusiasts. Will a 5400 RPM or faster hard drive take away from precious battery life?

    Here is the answer: YES and NO!

    After carefully researching this issue, we have found the lowdown facts. Just as the Pentium M processor has been designed to improve performance over its desktop cousin (the P4).Intel's covetedmobile chipmanages to squeeze out incredible battery life. In this way, the "best" of the faster hard drives have been designed with power saving technologies of their own.

    The Pentium M has different "states" such as "deep sleep" and the ability to cycle down its own clock speed to save power. A similiar technologyused in hard driveshas been introduced by Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. Dubbed ABLE or "Enhanced Adaptive Battery Life Extender" by Hitachi, this technology provides significant power savings by allowing the hard drive to enter "idle" and "adaptive" modes. In the latest version of this technology (3.0), the following modes are featured:


    Performance Idle
    Active Idle
    Low Power Idle
    Adaptive Standby [/li]

    So in going back to the original question regarding the effect thatfaster driveshaveon battery life, this factoris dependant on the type of technology used in the drive. Obviously if the drive is manufactured by Hitachi and features ABLE technology, battery drain should not be an issue. Although at this time we have not researched other hard disk manufacturers, it is a sure bet that they will follow suit with technologies similiar to Hitachi's ABLE.

    For more information on ABLE technology, visit the offical link:

    http://www.hitachigst.com/hdd/research/index.html


    -Barry

    Note: Currently we are reviewing the HP TC4200 Tablet PCwhich has a 5400 RPM hard drive...


    Sources:
    PowerNotebooks.com
    Hitachi San Jose Research Center
    Tom's Hardware Guide

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2015
  2. arclite

    arclite Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I knew nothing we discuss here will escape the CIE's eyes :).

    Question, do you mean HDD with ABLE technology can stop spinning during idle mode? Wouldn't that kill the seek time during its start-up? If you own an iPod (non-shuffle), you'll know what i mean. It's slow when it seeks even mesly 3mb songs.
     
  3. Barry J. Doyle

    Barry J. Doyle Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    arclite,

    Hmm...

    Interesting point, however just as a Pentium M can wake right up, I suppose the ABLE enabled (love how that sounds) hard drive can zip into action when called upon by the CPU. I am guessing that the ABLE technology couldn't have an impact on seek times or it wouldn't be worth the effort.
     
  4. Andrew

    Andrew Just a Guy Staff Member

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  5. Barry J. Doyle

    Barry J. Doyle Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Thanks for the info. Andrew. I bet that 7200 RPM drive noticeably eats battery life. But that is some serious speed in a notebook.
     
  6. InSearchOf

    InSearchOf Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Thanks for an insightful post Barry!

    I was wondering what your thoughts (and others reading this thread) are regarding the HDD's speed for digital video creation.

    I'm in the market for a desktop replacement notebook that can handle at least pro-sumer level of video editing. This would include transfer of digital content from MiniDV tapes via FireWire to the notebook's primary HD (containing the Windows XP Pro), at least one external Firewire HDD (at least 200 GB capacity and min 5,400 RPM) to hold typically 10 hours of video data at a time, and utilizing video/audio applications such as Adobe Premier 1.5 Pro and/or Vegas Video 6, Sound Forge (whatever the latest version is), some titling apps, etc.

    I truly believe in AMD technology (Pentium served my needs well in the past, but for video power needs, it would be somewhat more costly for my micro budget). So I originally jumped at the opportunity of getting my hands on a Gateway MX 7515 notebook ($1,199 @ Best Buy :) ) that contains the AMD Athlon 64 4000+ CPU, 1 GB DDR, and a Fujitsu 100 GB HDD (4,200 RPM) -- I believe the one you've listed in your post above. This certainly was a very impressive deal and I had heard rumors that several computer buffs working at BB had purchased this model for themselves too! But I ended up returning it :( due to several reasons, one of them being that I felt the HDD would be somewhat slow for my needs. For some odd reason I also felt this Gateway model is really an eMachine disguised in a Gateway clothing -- can anyone confirm this??? I know Gateway now owns eMachines, but when I started researching online, I found (after my purchase) that all eMachines AMD laptops had exactly the same notebook casing/color as the Gateway MX7515, except for the different logos!

    And for some reason which yet I can't explain to myself :confused:, I'm drawn to the asthetics/design of the HP Pavilions sporting the AMD Athlons. So I'm now eyeing the HP Pavilion zv6000 series where I can customize it (probably Athlon 3800+ or 4000+) and select a 5,400 RPM drive (but not sure what brand/model they will throw in).

    My budget is around $1,300 + possible extended warranty (like accidental damange coverage). What are your thoughts on HDD. And perhaps this particular area is not about notebooks in general, but if I may ask, what are your thoughts on the Gateway MX7515 and also the HP Pavilion zv6000 series?

    Suggestions and past experiences are GREATLY appreciated!

    Mahmood
     
  7. sitespt

    sitespt Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hello people.
    1st post. Here it is:

    I have a notebook with a Fujitsu MHV2080AT PL (4200RPM) and sometimes it is VERY slow opening some programs or while playing.

    I think it's the HDD because it only stops when I see the green light of it working.

    I have 512MB RAM and 1.7 Centrino... working with windows XP and FAT32 in system HD.
    Maybe the FAT32 and NTFS interfeers with this slow?
    I'll convert to NTFS as soon as I think to format it in the future.

    Thank you all
     
  8. vagabond

    vagabond Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Barry,

    Regarding the table that compares various HDs via Access Time:

    Curious as to how the Access Time was derived.

    For Example: The 100GB Seagate Momentus 5400.2 drive is noted above with an (average?) Access Time of 17 ms.

    Seagate's product manual for the same drive quotes the following:
    Average seek time = 12.5ms
    Average seek read = 12.5ms
    Average seek write = 14.5ms
    Full-stroke seek ms = 22(typical), 24(max)

    My confusion (or ignorance) stems from not seeing the number quoted in your table to match any of Seagate's specs.

    Is there additional calculation in your number above? Please explain how you derive your Access Time numbers.

    many thanks.
     
  9. vagabond

    vagabond Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I'm sorry Barry - I misquoted. I gave the Seagate Momentus 4200 RPM specs. Instead, I should have quoted the 5400.2 specs.

    So, I post the 5400.2 specs now, from Segate's website:

    Average seek (ms) = 12.5
    Latency (ms) = 5.6
     
  10. spacty

    spacty Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hi.....
    This site is really cool man.....
    Thanx.....
     

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