Performance issues with 5600rpm vs 7200rpm hard drives

High performance oriented computer systems are the need of the hour and this demand seems to be justified, as hundreds of dollars are being invested on each system. Hard disk speed also plays a vital role in influencing a computer system’s performance.  For this reason, hard disks are sold at different RPMs and seek speeds, in order to cater the best of the application needs.

Here are some basics helpful to analyze the Performance issues with 5600rpm vs. 7200rpm hard drives

Hard Disk working- Hard drives consist of circularly spinning platters where data resides on them in form of magnetic charges or bits. These platters spin beneath the read/write heads, which R/W the charges. In order to find a specific bit of information on a platter surface, the R/W heads have the capability to adjust themselves back and forth.

RPM- The spinning rate of the hard disk platter is measured in Rotations Per Minute (RPM). A hard disk’s seek time to retrieve data from its platter depends on the platter’s RPM. The faster the platter spins, the less time the hard drive will take to pull open a certain bit of data. So, the performance of a hard drive is directly proportional to the RPM of a hard drive platter.

Data seeking time- Seek speed is also taken as an important variable in judging the performance of a hard drive. The amount of time a hard drive takes to locate a specific data bit is known as data seek time. So, platter speed and hard drive heads act as important components in driving this feature. The lower the seek speed number; the better will be the performance of the hard drive.

Hard Drives with 5600rpm vs Hard Drives with 7200rpm

Performance- As said earlier, an increase in rotational speeds improves a hard disk performance. If everything else about two hard drives are same, a HDD with 7200 RPM will perform sequential and random R/W operations in much lesser time than in a 5400RPM. Hard disk drive with 7200RPM can perform 102.6 MB/sec and 98.1 MB/sec sequential reads and writes. Whereas a 5400 RPM hard disk can perform 73.6 MB/sec and 70.1 MB/sec sequential reads and writes. (Note- the numbers can vary).

Benefits- For applications which need higher hard disk usage, HDDs with 7200RPM are considered as the best storage media. However, the only drawback is the power usage, where 5400RPM drives consume 43% less power and produce less heat than 7200RPM drives.

Note- A hard drive performance also depends on the kind of interface like SAS or SATA with which it communicates with the system.

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