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I have a 2009 15" unibody MacBook Pro. It came with a 250GB, 5400 RPM hard drive. Will a 7200 RPM drive make it overheat?

I have read somewhere that putting a 7200 RPM hard drive in the MacBook Pro will make it shake and vibrate. Is this true?

Is there a certain brand that is better for the system?

And finally, is there anything else that I need to worry about?

  • Have you considered buying SSD instead of HDD 7200RPM ? It should give your MBP nice kick. – maseth Feb 16 '13 at 16:57
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No, no, no and no.

Have fun with the 7200 rpm drive of your choice. Mac drive mounting hardware is excellent and the drive screws are standard sized. Unless you get a drive with exotic firmware or physically too large to fit, there will be no issues relating to design. Only a faulty drive (or failing Mac) will cause issues.

Simple physics means a 7200 RPM drive has to generate more heat than a 5400 RPM drive, but in practice, this is well within a normal Mac's ability to cool - even when you never let the drive spin down - something else like CPU load will be needed to get the internal fan to spin up.

  • Is there a brand that you would recommend? – Josh Gabbard Feb 16 '13 at 5:50
  • @JoshGabbard Both Seagate and Western Digital make fine drives. – Fomite Feb 16 '13 at 7:02
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    While I agree with this answer as one who has put 7200 RPM drives in many MBPs I can say that they do run hotter. Overheat, no, but hotter, yes. It's well worth it though as one gets the most size for the buck (still) with a HDD over an SSD but an SSD is the ultimate solution for speeding up an older MBP if one can afford the price difference. – Richard Feb 16 '13 at 11:29
  • @JoshGabbard I heard from an NetApp sales that Western Digital drives are great. Just a thought, and I particularly prefer them. – Shane Hsu Feb 16 '13 at 11:31
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    @JoshGabbard While most drives will work due to the standardized SATA connectors and dimensions, I highly recommend you to get one that has been peer reviewed and confirmed to work in your MBP. I once purchased a SSD that had firmware issues with a '07 MBP that resulted in beach-balls every few hours. That same SSD worked flawlessly in a '11 MBP however. – gentmatt Feb 17 '13 at 7:55
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I've got a MBP mid '10 and changed the 5400 rpm 250 GB HD with a Seagate 7200 rpm 750 GB. Even the original is a Seagate. I needed a Torx screwdriver for internal screws.

My mac is now a little more noisy (I hear a subtle noise during night :-P) and no hotter. Moreover it seems to me that the battery duration is only a little lower. All in all I'm satisfied. I need a big HD.

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Don't be surprised if any new drive has a problem in that model MBP. If you have a problem, the likely solution is to replace the SATA cable with the cable form a 2010 MBP. Available at iFixit.

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