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7200 rpm HDD may increase your PS3's performance

The standard HDD that comes with your PS3 is 5400 rpm -- not bad, but not the best on the market. We've stumbled across a write-up detailing the addition of a different hard drive, running at 7200 rpm, and its effect on a various array of games and other such things. While we wouldn't recommend you all rush out and do this, as long-term effects can't possibly be gauged just yet, it's still interesting to consider the ways Sony fans can customize their console to be unique. We'll outline the results below.
  • Temperature testing against the two hard drives yielded a minimal difference; no overheating will occur with a 7200 rpm drive, ostensibly.
  • Installing demos after downloading off the PSN had an average of ten seconds shaved off due to the higher rpm drive, except that Tony Hawk demo, with destroyed over forty seconds of install time. Impressive.
  • Loading games generally yielded minimal results, unless you consider 2 seconds of load time a big deal.
In conclusion, yes, a 7200 rpm drive increases your PS3's performance, but it's generally nothing that makes soil our underwear. While two seconds off load time is nice, it's not like we'd do much besides scratch ourselves in that time frame. And sometimes, it's a great itch to scratch and playing a game would totally throw us off. Thoughts?

Reader Comments

(Page 1)

1. i dont know much about these things, however i DID install a 160GB HDD in my ps3, but i made SURE it was a 5400 rpm because i read that 7200rpm only increased speed and nothing else, and could potentially increase the chances of overheating...

but if this turns out to be something, i may upgrade to a much bigger HDD because over 60GB is already gone on my current one.

i can only think of if i wouldve kept the 60GB that was there, all the stuff i wouldve had to delete to get new demos and videos and such.

Posted at 7:45PM on Oct 2nd 2007 by Justin

2. I fully intend to upgrade the HDD in my PS3 and hadn't really given the RPM's much thought but I assume I would go with 7200 since it's a little faster.

Knowing that the faster RPM speed doesn't have much of an effect doesn't really matter to me all that much. The PS3 is fast and slow enough for me so no harm no foul.

Although I still have 30GB left over I feel that by the time Home comes around and Sony really starts getting closer to offering services like music (SingStar) and eventually movies (probably via Home or straight up download like XBL) most everyone will be upgrading. And personally I'd rather Sony didn't release any more SKUs with bigger HDDs. Better off just partnering up with Western Digital or Seagate with PS3 upgrade kits from 100GB up to 500GB flavors.

Posted at 7:49PM on Oct 2nd 2007 by MRBlue

3. If only Solid State Drives would become more common soon...

Posted at 7:53PM on Oct 2nd 2007 by ruibing

4. @2

Thats something that always confused me about Sony. They never had an PS3 branded hard drives or PS3 branded headsets. These things are money makers and for a games division that is losing money, I cannot believe they don't take advantage of them.

By the way, don't waste your money on 7200RPM if the same size is available in 5400 RPM. It doesn't make enough difference for you to notice.

Posted at 8:03PM on Oct 2nd 2007 by Andy

5. I'm in the market right now for a HDD for my PS3... But I'm looking more for an external USB HDD.

I'm looking at the 500GB/750GB/or1TB with 7200 rpm. I know it seems like overkill but not really. I'm planning on using my PS3 as a media center. I want to be able to archive all of my DVDs (over 200) onto the external HDD; connect it to my PS3; and play the movies dirrectly off of the HDD. I Love My PS3!

Maybe can do a "How-To" on this as it gets a little tricky with the FAT32 formatting issue...

Just a thought.

Posted at 8:04PM on Oct 2nd 2007 by BrokenFern

6. That's funny. When I got my PS3, I had just traded my 100 GB 7200 RPM drive in my laptop for a 250 GB 5400 RPM drive (was desparate for space). So I took the 100 GB and put it in the PS3, giving me 40 extra gigs plus a speed boost. Now I know it was worth it (you can't say I shouldn't have wasted the money since it was just sitting around not being used). Cool!

Posted at 8:08PM on Oct 2nd 2007 by Micah Neumark

7. I think the idea is for 3.2 GHZ hard drives to come out eventually so that the 7 cores, system RAM, and hard drive will all run at that speed. If anyone else knows more about this please add.

Posted at 8:08PM on Oct 2nd 2007 by Rob

8. get a my book brand external hard drive, they are pre formatted fat 32. I recently found a 750 gb western digital my book on sale at best buy over the labor day weekend for $179.00. I hooked that bad boy up to my ps3 and it worked like a charm, jsut plaug and play. what's better, i can also plug it into my laptop and again, just plug and play. Btw, any recommendations on a good program to archive my dvd collection so I can put it on my external harddrive?

Posted at 8:10PM on Oct 2nd 2007 by kbs1

9. Why not go all out and test the 10000 RPM HDDs?

Hell, go crazy on it and get a 15000 one. I wanna know how much of a speed increase that will give.

Posted at 8:19PM on Oct 2nd 2007 by John Q Sample

10. @4

I, for one, am glad they do not make "special" rebranded hard drives and headsets and say that they are especially made to optimize the PS3 experience. So far the only company that does anything to earn a buck has been Microsoft with its overpriced hard drive upgrade kits, headsets, and more.

Posted at 8:30PM on Oct 2nd 2007 by ruibing

11. does it matter which HDD u get, like any kind of labtop HDD

Posted at 8:30PM on Oct 2nd 2007 by jeffrey

12. @7

The 3.2 GHz is the CPU speed, which is usually a front side bus multiplied by a multiplier. The FSB is the frequency (communication rate) between the major components of the system, such as the RAM and North Bridge (I don't think it has a south bridge). These days consoles are really just customized computers, especially the 360 which just has a special PowerPC CPU. The slowest device on a computer (and PS3) is the hard drive, with a access latency of 10-100 ms. This is why RAM (access time of 10 ns usually) is needed to buffer the data ahead of time so the CPU doesn't have to stall waiting for the next set of instruction or data to come. Then its further cached in the cache of the CPU, which has even less latency.

You must remember that frequency has nothing to do with "speed." It is the synchronized clock rate. Each instruction usually takes a few clock cycles to finish for CISC architecture CPUs, so it really depends on how efficient the programmer is at using low clock cycle instructions (i.e. shift right) to do the same as a high clock cycle instruction (i.e. divide).

The point is that even if you make the clock speed between all components of a console or computer 3.2 GHz, the hard drive will still slow everything down, because of the mechanical nature of the device. This is why if you have a new computer and you feel loading up programs is still slow, blame it on either Vista or the hard drive.


Those Raptor hard drives are not available in 2.5" form factor yet, and they are like a tornado even in their bigger 3.5" form. They have been known to cause a lot of vibrations on a poorly equiped computer case.

I think the best alternative made be Raid 0 with two 7200 RPM 2.5" hard drives for those who just like trying to speed everything up. Of course you simply doubled your chance of data failure as well.

Posted at 8:41PM on Oct 2nd 2007 by ruibing

13. SSD is the way to go; the one on my VAIO TZ is equiv. to a 10k rpm HDD (it gets a 5.2 on the Vista rating program)... makes Vista hum along nicely.

Posted at 8:46PM on Oct 2nd 2007 by phattie

14. It'll be good for me to get a new Hard drive, because Home, and rumors of video download service, etc.

I go 31 GB left!!!

Posted at 8:49PM on Oct 2nd 2007 by goku1910

15. I bought one of them PS3 drive bay adapters you posted a while back and an eSATA drive case. I put a 200G 7200RPM SATA drive with 16MB of cache in the case and ran a wire form the eSATA on the case to an eSATA PC slot plug (came with the drive case) From there, I ran the SATA cable to the PS3. Works like a charm. I had to hide a bit of wire, but it allowed me to set the drive down a few shelves. I don't have to worry about that hard drive heat and the drive actually performs a little better than the 5400 that I had. The only bad part is forgetting to turn on the drive case power. (They really need an instant on feature in those when a signal is detected in the eSATA port.)

Posted at 8:59PM on Oct 2nd 2007 by Andir3.0

16. they will be releasing hard drives with flash memory caches. if the ps3 is compatible with these, *that* would show amazing improvements. it would easily be possible in a firmware update :)

Posted at 9:10PM on Oct 2nd 2007 by chaod


be aware, that different drives produce different amounts of heat. while it may work for one drive, another may not.

i personally tested this (wanting to jump to a 160gb drive) several months ago, and tested a western digital (dont remember the exact part #). the rise in heat was too much causing the fans to run damn near constantly.

unless you know what you are doing, i would highly suggest sticking with a 5400rpm drive. even the worst heat offenders in the 5400rpm range wont exceed what the ps3 is capable of dealing with. however, you can easily overheat the system by throwing in the wrong 7200rpm drive.


i would suggest getting a networked external storage personally... or a dual purpose. that way, you can access your media from anything in the home, not jsut the ps3. you could do something along these lines:

i personally picked up a qnap ts201 earlier this year, and it is the best investment i have ever made. strapped in 2 1tb hard drives, and was up and running. it also runs a dlna media server (which ties directly into the ps3 flawlessly with NO setup) to stream all your compatible files... movies, pics, mp3's, etc. its a little more expensive, but WELL worth it.

Posted at 9:28PM on Oct 2nd 2007 by Microdot

18. Does anyone know if a 14k RPM drive works in the PS3?

Posted at 10:29PM on Oct 2nd 2007 by Tom

19. Well a RAID sub-system would make a substantial difference with 3.5" 7.2k rpm drives.

Posted at 11:06PM on Oct 2nd 2007 by Jason

20. Seriously guys. Get a gigantic 5400rpm drive. Much cheaper, usually same amount of cache, and it has less chance of overheating.

Sony as well as various game devs have warned us time and time again from using 7200rpm, so I will take their word for it for now until SSD drives are cheaper.(in 3 years)

Posted at 11:45PM on Oct 2nd 2007 by OrganicShadow

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