General discussion

5400 rotational speed better option than 7200 in a laptop?

I've decided to upgrade my current hard drive and one of the aspects I'd been told to consider was the rotational speed of the drive, ie. 7200 rpm is better than 5400.

I went into a shop and the salesperson showed me a number of hdd's and when I asked for one with a speed of 7200, he said they typically sold and recommended 5400 for laptops, as "7200s are less reliable with notebooks" and said this was due to them being moved around, while a 7200 rotational speed is fine for desktops as they're fixed. In essence, the higher speed was fine when the box wasn't being moved around.

Is this really the case? As my days of Morris dancing, while using a laptop are behind me, is this advice nonsense or sense worth considering?



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If they say so.

I found such comments to change with each saleperson. Their job is to sell you what they have. It is a fact that what they have to sell us is what they will talk up.

But when upgrading you have to think about this with care. You don't want to replace a 5 Watt hard drive with one that draws 10 Watts. Why this is should be easy to figure out.


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Good point, Bob. My current HDD almost certainly turns at 5400. Are you saying that a 5400 typically draws 5w and therefore getting a 7200 would likely pose problems?

Also, I'm using a Toshiba A100 (PSAA8A-0GF010) which in the System Information lists the hdd as an "ATA" device. Am I okay getting a SATA device?


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To compare

We have to get the old and the new model make and model numbers. My numbers are just to get you thinking and only an example.

In most cases all this will be fine. There are OTHER issues like the OS but SATA is rare on Windows XP laptops so that usually is something we don't have to discuss.

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Have opened it up...

Hi Bob - I've opened up the case to find the current drive is a Hitachi Travelstar 80gb 2.5" 5v 1.0A 5400rpm SATA drive.

The one I was considering buying is a Seagate 320gb 2.5" (

When you mentioned about not swapping a "5watt" for a "10watt" hdd, did you mean 5v/10v?

And not sure about the what the answer was to the original question: i.e. is it really an issue upgrading from a 5400 to a 7200 rpm hdd in a laptop.

Thanks in advance for your help!


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See that 5V 1.0A?

That's a 5 Watt drive. I looked at your new drive and I can't find it's rating.

Also you are moving past the usual 127GB size and you didn't write this has XP. There are big issues with SATA, XP and drives over 127GB so that's a fail.

This sort of thing bothers some. All the details matter.

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Got Vista

Hi Bob, Thanks for the note and advice. I actually installed Vista on the machine (there was an upgrade offer when I bought the originally Vista machine...I was younger, very rash and am now not sure that "up" was really the way that should have been graded!)

But maybe that's good news, given the hdd I was considering. If Vista changes things, and the hdd was 5 Watts, would that work...and 7400 - I'm still not sure about the implications of going with that instead of a 5400.

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Watts what.

Ok with Watts out of the way there is no reason not to use the 7200 RPM drive. Vista removes the SATA and 127GB size issues.

The only remaining quirk is that some owners complain about the new drive noise. It will sound different and it is possible that when the drive seeks you may hear more of a click than before. Faster = usually a little louder.

Looks fine now that the details have been told.

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That's great

Thanks for the advice. I'll assume the add'l read/write speeds will offset the annoyance of the noise! Wink

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