The Computer Blog

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Samsung Spinpoint M6 versus Seagate Momentus 7200.4 in a MacBook Pro

Last night, I installed one of the new Seagate Momentus 7200.4 five hundred gigabyte hard drives in my MacBook Pro. It is one of the first 7200 RPM drives for a notebook bringing desktop speed to your portable set-up. This is after a few weeks of running the Samsung Spinoint M6 in the same machine. Both these drives are some of the first 500GB size drives in a 2.5 inch format. So, what I intend to talk about today is a somewhat subjective comparison between the two in case you’re struggling about which one to buy for your MacBook or MacBook Pro.

Since they’re both 500GB hard drives, the trade-off’s you have to consider are speed, noise, heat, and power usage. Once you’ve seen the Seagate in action, you’ll have no doubts about its additional speed. Application launch times now rival those of any desktop. For exact numbers on how fast it is, go to barefeats.com and take a look at the read/write tests they ran. The Seagate beat everything they compared it against. So, if speed is more important to you than battery life, buy the Seagate and install it. You won’t be sorry.

If battery life is more important to you than speed, then the Samsung Spinpoint M6 is the drive to pick. The Seagate seems to drive my battery down at least twice as fast as the Samsung does under the same usage and the same power settings under OS X. (Yes, I know Tom’s Hardware said that the Seagate drive had one of the lowest wattage requirements when at rest; I have to report to you what my experience is…and I can watch the percentage readout tick down with the Seagate in my MBP.) The Samsung is slightly better in the “low noise” department as well, though the extra noise from the Seagate is a background “whoosh” that I have lean close into the machine to hear in a quiet environment. In most office environments, I doubt if you’ll notice any difference in the hard disk noise at all.

I haven’t noticed the MBP’s fans kicking on any more than they did before. I do feel the fans are closer to kicking on than they have been, but that’s all I can say about it.

Which do I like better? I honestly haven’t decided, yet. I’m running the Seagate to see how I feel. I may actually decide I like the lesser noise and better battery life I get out of the Samsung. Generally, though, I tend to like all the performance I can get. If living with the Seagate doesn’t prove too hard to live with, I may have given one of them a new home.