If you absolutely have to buy a drive right now, then when it comes to looking at what drive you need to buy for yourself in the current artificial (because of stockpiling) shortage, you might be well-advised to consider:
- Disk speed - 5400rpm or 7200rpm.
- Whether you need it as a main drive for your PC or as a backup drive.
- If you need it as a main drive for your PC, then what chip technology and OS you have.
For example, over the last 11 months I have been obliged to buy two new laptops to replace failed, old units.
(I was fortunate enough to get the new ones at highly reduced - 50% - prices.)
One was an HP ENVY 14, Intel i7, with a ½Gb 7400rpm drive and Windows 7/64-bit (Windows Experience Index 5.9).
One was a Dell Inspiron, AMD Triple-Core M501R (refurbished model), with a ½Gb 7400rpm drive and Windows 7/64-bit (Windows Experience Index 4.4).
The Windows Experience Index is based on the lowest subscore
In the case of the HP ENVY, the disk transfer rate was the lowest
subscore at 5.9, and the processor was the highest subscore at 7.0
In the case of the DELL Inspiron, the disk transfer rate subscore was 5.9 also, but the lowest
subscore was the graphics at 4.4, and the processor was the highest subscore at 7.0 (same as the HP ENVY).
So, if I had of got these laptops with 5400rpm drives instead of the 7200rpm drives, then:
- in the case of the HP ENVY that would certainly have brought the lowest subscore lower - so the overall performance would have been further strangulated by the necessarily lower disc I/O performance - maybe to less than 4(?).
- in the case of the DELL Inspiron that may have brought the lowest subscore even lower - so the overall performance might have been further strangulated by the necessarily lower disc I/O performance - maybe to less than 4(?).
This could be compared to buying a 7litre V8 and fitting it with a small twin-choke carburettor. I could have probably bought a smaller 6-cylinder model for much less $$ and still got the same/similar performance.So:
- If you are buying a new PC/laptop, then ensure you get a main hard drive of 7200rpm, otherwise you are potentially throwing performance away, and you may be throwing your money away too.
- If you are buying a new main drive for an existing PC/laptop, then ensure you get a main hard drive of 7200rpm, otherwise you are potentially throwing performance away.
- If you are buying a drive to be used as a backup device, then, unless you have humungous data volumes to back up where optimum performance could make a significant and worthwhile difference to backup durations, it may be cheaper to buy a slower 5400rpm drive.
I have recently read that one of the disc drive manufactures will cease making 5400rpm drives, and one of the laptop manufacturers (I think it might have been HP) has said they will only be putting 7200rpm drives at least, into laptops from here on.
The other laptop manufacturers are probably already
doing this, as you can see their late-model laptops - e.g., with Intel i7 CPUs) but fitted with 5400rpm drives - being released to the market at seriously good discount prices - e.g., 50%.
Four weeks ago I bought a 1Gb 5400rpm hard drive as a backup device, at a really low price of NZ$129 (figuring it wouldn't be likely to get much lower). I am using it to replace the ½Gb 5400rpm hard drive that I had been using as a backup device and bought about year ago for a very reasonable NZ$86.
I would guess that those speculators who are stockpiling 5400rpm hard drives for the anticipated shortage may find that they are holding stock which is rapidly becoming obsolete/depreciated, and which may not be saleable before too long. Who knows but that, if you can afford to sit tight for a while, then you might find that those drives are coming onto the market at record low fire-sale prices?