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Mac Thread, 13" Macbooks, upgrading 2.5" hard drives in Technical; Hello all, I'm looking to upgrade a number of 13" Macbooks (white, 2.0Ghz C2) this summer. They currently have 60 ...
  1. #1
    Gavmoo's Avatar
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    13" Macbooks, upgrading 2.5" hard drives

    Hello all,

    I'm looking to upgrade a number of 13" Macbooks (white, 2.0Ghz C2) this summer. They currently have 60 GB 2.5" SATA II Toshiba MK6034GSX (5400 rpm) drives in them.

    I'm looking to get larger capacity drives, and possibly upgrade them to 7200rpm drives if possible. Has/Does anyone have any recommendations/experience/issues with this? Is there any issues with replacing the 5400rpm with a 7200rpm ( i assume power consumption may rise), or does the motherboard cap the HD capacity?

    The laptops will also be imaged with Snow Leopard this summer.

    Any information would be appreciated


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    dayzd's Avatar
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    There are endless discussions on various forums around the web about 5400vs7200 rpm drives in laptops. (I know because I've looked before for my laptop.)

    Assuming the existing drives are 2-3 years old, a brand new 5400 drive should perform faster than what you have, without the added complications of power/heat.

    As far as I'm aware, 7200rpm drives will be a bit warmer and more expensive in the battery department, but I have no experience to say how much by... I'd assume there is a limit to the amount of power the board can make available to a drive, but I can see no good reason why it would not be able to satisfy power requirements of any drive within whatever the standard spec is for 2.5" drives.

    One thing you should check/watch out for is the height of the existing and new drives. My laptop can only take a drive 9.5mm high, while some are 12.5mm. I'm not sure which you'll need for a Macbook.


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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    My two year old 7200rpm drive is still noticibly quicker than a new 5400rpm drive on a compareable machine but it all depends on the data density of the drive. Sometimes they do make a difference but yes they do eat battery and you only really notice the extra speed when doing something with really large amounts of data like doing a full disk encryption.

    For a laptop that will be moved around a lot that you want to last well on battery and be as quiet as possible then go 5400rpm. The larger the capacity and the lesser number of platters inside the drive the better. This means that the data is more closely packed and 5400 still passes over more bits than a lower density 7200rpm drive in the same time period. Of course a drive with the same data density running at 7200rpm will be quicker but this will only be apparent on large data movements where the cache can't hide the true performance like a really large file transfer or copy.

    For those laptops I don't think that the additional cost of a 7200rpm solution would be worth it in comparison to the speed improvements that you would get.

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    I know someone who upgraded his hdd to 7200rpm in a macbook. He says it has improved performance but did mention battery taking more of a hit. He think he also mentioned the hdd being a little more noisier. Other than he said the upgrade in speed was probably worth it.

    But more importantly it can be done.

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