OT: Is 4200 RPM fast enough for a system drive?

slacy wrote on 2/8/2005, 2:04 PM

I'm really honing in on the Toshiba Satellite A75 as my road editing solution. Beautiful laptop, great roomy screen, still portable, great keyboard ... I just like it. Problem is ... it only comes with 4200 RPM hard drives. Period. I just called the Toshiba guy and he said there's no way to get an A75 with a faster drive (short of jamming in an aftermarket hard drive and voiding the warranty).

My question: if I'm using fast external firewire drives for capture/editing, can I get by with a 4200 RPM system drive? Am I crazy to even consider it?



BillyBoy wrote on 2/8/2005, 2:39 PM
It shouldn't be a problem. Things may be a tad slower, as long as you use firewire for capture, print to tape. How fast is the CPU rated?
johnmeyer wrote on 2/8/2005, 3:23 PM
It will probably be able to capture (another thread today on the same subject), but it will definitely feel sluggish with that slow drive.
slacy wrote on 2/8/2005, 3:59 PM
I've got a choice of a P4 3.2 or a 3.4.
slacy wrote on 2/8/2005, 4:01 PM
Well, I'm not going to capture on it. I'm just wondering if for general laptop use a 4200 RPM system drive is a bad idea. I mean, Toshiba makes good laptops, but even their most expensive laptops ship with the 4200 RPM drives. I'm just wondering if it's as important a spec as it might appear on the surface. From what I've read, rotational speed is just one piece of the puzzle, with access times nearly as, or just as, iimportant.
johnmeyer wrote on 2/8/2005, 6:12 PM
I can't believe they put such a slow drive in such a fast laptop. As discussed in the parallel thread on this subject, don't forget the on-board cache size. If this disk drive has only a 512K cache (which is true of many of these 4200 rpm drives), forget it. The computer will be dog slow.
scdragracing wrote on 2/8/2005, 6:53 PM
a 4200 rpm system drive is going to suck to matter how you cut it... it's typical for laptop manufacturers to do this, i got it in my top of the line fujitsu... take a look at the fujitsu laptop lineup before committing to toshiba, most especially the superior screen qualtiy(crystal view its called).

i ended up swapping out the system drive for a 5400 rpm drive, no biggie... tomshardware.com has some reviews of laptop hard drives that you'll want to read.
slacy wrote on 2/8/2005, 6:55 PM
Yeah, the folks at Toshiba offered that I could insert a CMS 7200 RPM drive on my own, which runs a cool $300 extra. This would also void the warranty. But damn, I do like this laptop, and damn, I am considering doing just that.
Red96TA wrote on 2/9/2005, 7:34 AM
I have a Gateway laptop with an 80gb 4200rpm drive and it works great for transferring dv tapes. It just takes a few seconds longer to boot the system.
riredale wrote on 2/9/2005, 2:07 PM
What HAS changed over the past 5 years in a big way is platter density, or perhaps more importantly, the number of bits per lineal inch of track. What this means is that, even if a disk is relatively slow in terms of rpm, the data can come screaming off the disk once the particular spot is found. If the disk is relatively unfragmented and/or if the application doesn't make the heads hunt all over creation for the next piece of data, the system will be fast. I believe this is why even the super-slow laptop drives don't drop DV frames like my Compaq desktop PC would back in '98.
scdragracing wrote on 2/9/2005, 2:25 PM
your old compaq from '98 was not at all comparable to even the slowest pc's you can buy today... things were horrible back then! it wasn't just the hard drive.

tomshardware.com goes into some of the differences between laptop vs. pc hard drives... the little guys just don't stack up at all... that translates into slower overall performance, because you are working with apps, possibly running things like the swap file, etc.

you should be able to buy the toshiba from a retail vendor that will install the bigger drive without voiding the warranty... the dirty little secret with lcd screens is that your new computer can come with dead pixels, and you can't do anything about it... so doing a visual inspection before taking delivery is a good idea.