Are there any conclusive tests on battery life for both of these disks?

It seems a 7200RPM would gain a great performance benefit, but if this would cost 1/2 of the battery life, I am not sure wether this would be a good choice.

What are your experiences?

3 Answers 3


If you look at the power consumption specification of drives on manufacturer web sites eg here you'll see that the idle power usage varies by about 40% between 5400 and 7200rpm models. That doesn't mean that the battery will run out 40% quicker, but it will have a slight impact.

I recently weighed up this option when purchasing my new 2011 Macbook Pro and went with the 7200rpm as the speed benefit far outweighed the negligible shorter battery life.

  • Thanks for the insights! Have you had any troubles with the vibration/noise in the 7200rpm disk? May 5, 2011 at 7:34
  • No, it came installed like that from the factory and it runs very quietly. With zero vibrations.
    – robzolkos
    May 5, 2011 at 7:59
  • I agree, I went the same way and there are no problems with noise or vibration.
    – David
    May 5, 2011 at 12:19

In general there is very little difference in power consumption between 5400 and 7200rpm drives. You'll need to check manufacturer specs for the drive you have in mind, as they vary, and a newer 7200 may even use less than an older 5400. But in the overall scheme of your MacBook pro, the differences are so small as to have a very negligible effect - possibly a few minutes in worst case.

The benefits in performance will definitely out-weigh the power issues.

That said, when I tried a 7200 in my previous MBP (Late 08 Unibody), I ended up putting the stock 5400 back in as I'd gotten used to almost silent/vibration free use of the machine, and the newer drive was noisier and vibrated a little bit more - now it's all relative, it was still better than my Dell work laptop, but I ended up putting it in a case and using it as an external backup drive.


I read all the specs. Here's what happened to me.

Upgraded stock 250GB 5400 drive in MBP to a 640GB 7200 RPM.

MUCH louder and battery life went from 5+ hours to < 2.

I'm thinking about going the other way and replacing it with a SSD for speed and move all of my pictures to the iMac. I tried too hard to make the MBP my desktop replacement and it shouldn't be.

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