If the new drive is also 7200 rpm, what you’re going to get is usually a faster drive, more modern with (possibly) more internal cache which could lead to a slight improvement. In any case, the difference between 7200 and 5400 rpm is not that much. There is a difference and you will notice it in certain things, but there are other factors that will affect performance way before the disk in a day to day usage. Unless all you do is write/read files from the disk, get the bigger disk you can afford. Of course you can always get a 2TB external FW drive and store all the junk there, while still having plenty of room in the internal drive.
Or you could get a smaller 128/256 SSD super faster drive and store most of your stuff in your external 500rpm drive (in a USB External Enclosure for 10 bucks), but leaving your OS in the internal super fast SSD.
Options… options… :)
In any case, always get as much ram as you can afford.