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Windows 7: Hard Drive Compatibility with different computers

13 Apr 2014   #1
zomboromano

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 
Hard Drive Compatibility with different computers

So I was recently told that upgrading my hard drive may help increase performance.

My current hard drive is:

Size: 500 GB
Interface: SATA
Rotational Speed: 7200 RPM

I have another computer that went out on me. The bios got bricked when doing a system restore on windows 8. So I sold off the ram, and the processor in the computer. Since I know neither would be compatible with my system.

However I do wonder about the hard drive.

It actually came with a SATA hard drive, but it was 1.5 TB.

I'm curious to learn more about upgrading hard drives. I'm interested in learning:

1: What type of hard drives would be good bang for your bucks for upgrading. How much of an increase in performance I should expect from each hard drive.

2: I currently have about 150 GB worth of stuff on my computer. I only have 100 GB free. How much does free space play into how well the hard drive runs? Is there a certain amount of space where the hard drive starts really slowing down (for example, if I'm only down to 30 GB it may start to get much slower)

3: I'm assuming if I move a hard drive in it won't boot up properly or work immediately. I'll maybe have to boot from a usb drive and then wipe the hard drive out? Then install windows? Just how that process works.

Thanks! I really appreciate all the wisdom I've gotten off of here. The knowledge given to me here has been extremely practical to me and very useful, and saved me hundreds.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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13 Apr 2014   #2
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

We'd need to know the make, model number, and size of any hard drive you have to properly comment on them.

Generally, the faster performance comes from 7200 RPM SATA drives made in the last 3 or 4 years. These drives will have high areal density and high capacity per platter--often 1 gb per platter. Western Digital "Black" drives and the most recent Seagate models are fast.

See some other comments below:

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by zomboromano View Post


1: What type of hard drives would be good bang for your bucks for upgrading. How much of an increase in performance I should expect from each hard drive.

Hard drive speed will have an effect only on operations that actually involve the disc. Fast drives generally are no substitute for a fast CPU.



2: I currently have about 150 GB worth of stuff on my computer. I only have 100 GB free. How much does free space play into how well the hard drive runs? Is there a certain amount of space where the hard drive starts really slowing down (for example, if I'm only down to 30 GB it may start to get much slower)

I've generally heard somewhere like 10 to 15 percent free space before it becomes noticeable. You are nowhere near that crowded. I've never noticed any slowdown on my drives due to space issues.

3: I'm assuming if I move a hard drive in it won't boot up properly or work immediately. I'll maybe have to boot from a usb drive and then wipe the hard drive out? Then install windows? Just how that process works.

Briefly, 2 methods:

1: Use a "clean install". You get the installation media in order. That could be an ordinary Windows installation DVD or a USB thumb drive you have prepared. You need the 25 character "Product Key".

You disconnect the old drive. Connect the new drive. Install Windows to the new drive. Update Windows through Windows Update. Re-connect the old drive through another cable. Copy personal data from the old drive to wherever you want it on the new drive. Re-install applications to the new drive. Disconnect the old drive and do whatever you want to do with it.

Or 2: you could "clone" the old drive to the new drive using an application like Macrium Reflect. Works pretty well, but not guaranteed. You could also make an "image" file of the old drive with Macrium and then "restore" that image file to the new drive. Works pretty well, but not guaranteed. The main advantage of this method is you don't have to reinstall your applications--it saves time. If it works.

Most would tell you to do the clean install method.

There are numerous tutorials on this site about how to do all of that stuff. Take a look at them.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Apr 2014   #3
soho1

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

First, unless you are building a PC from scratch, your new computer probably comes with Windows pre-installed and a recovery partition, so that is something to take into consideration before simply repurposing your old drive.

Yes, you can reinstall Windows on your old drive, assuming you have something to boot from.

But you might want to consider putting the old drive in an external case and using it as an external storage device.

Next, there are a several benchmark sites, but I like PassMark myself, and they publish things like drive performance and from there your performance / cost benefits.

You noted you are using about 150 GB. I myself recently upgraded from 120 GB to 250 GB solid state drive. They get cheaper all the time. Eventually I will likely need 500 GB to. In the 18 months I had this laptop, Windows alone has grown 30 GB due to updates, without considering the applications or data that I add.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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13 Apr 2014   #4
zomboromano

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

I don't normally use much more than I have now honestly.

But I'm not sure what brand the old hard drive is.

Current hard drive:
Size: 500 GB
Interface: SATA
Rotational Speed: 7200 RPM



Hard drive from better computer that I scrapped:
Seagate
Size: 1.5 TB
Interface: SATA
Rotational Speed: 7200 RPM

Would that hard drive give me much better performance?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Apr 2014   #5
zomboromano

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

If so, would I just need to unscrew the old hard drive, screw this one in, boot from a usb, wipe the hard drive and install windows 7 fresh???


(That's what I did with my current computer. I have no partion or anything of the sort. I have a windows 7 boot usb and I just used that to wipe it and start fresh, got rid of all the programs I didn't want anyway)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Apr 2014   #6
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

You need to do at least one of the following:

1: read from the label of the hard drives in question. It will show brand, model, and size

2: download Belarc system info tool from Belarc.com and run it. It will provide a complete report on your system, including hard drive brand, model, and size.

No one can comment on those drives without that info.

Newer and larger drives typically are faster, but as usual you get to define "much better performance". If your problem isn't hard drive related, it wouldn't help at all.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Apr 2014   #7
zomboromano

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

So I've found out what hard drives I have.

PassMark - Hitachi HDT725032VLA380 - Price performance comparison

That is what I have now..

And the link below is what I have on my other computer:

PassMark - Seagate ST1500DM003-9YN16G - Price performance comparison

Clearly a big upgrade at least for how bad the first drive was.

So my question is: Should I install both, if so what should I put on each drive? Will it be faster to put the operating system on the bigger one, and store smaller things on the smaller drive? etc.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Apr 2014   #8
zomboromano

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

Well I just installed both hard drives.

I'm about to wipe them both out. My main concern is:

What is the best way to use both of these hard drives? I'm basically looking to get the best performance out of my computer without buying anything. And this new hard drive had way better benchmarks from what passmark said.

So I'm mainly just wanting to know what would make my computer run more efficiently.

Like which drive should I have the operating system on, which drive should have all of my games, music, etc. etc. That's all I really need help with at this point.

Thanks again for the tip with passmark, and looking up benchmarks. I am such a noob with hard drives I didn't even know they had benchmarks lol.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Apr 2014   #9
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

1. Hang on to the Hitachi. Those are very reliable. The Seagates are not.

2. If you are looking for performance, none of those drives will give you better performance. In fact the bigger the drive, the slower it usually is.

3. A real performance boost you would get with a SSD for the OS. A 120GB drive for $69 would suffice. Then you put the user data on the Hitachi.

4. The Seagate I would use for non-critical data - e.g. images.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Apr 2014   #10
zomboromano

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

While I know the website I posted probably doesn't have a lot of data on the Hitachi I don't see anything that shows it performs better than the Seagate.

I appreciate the advice with an SSD. I will probably plan to upgrade to one eventually, but not now.

I'd like to find some good benchmarks somewhere but I couldn't find much.

Based off of those benchmarks I'd like to know again, should I only use one for a backup and put the os, all games, and everything all on one drive?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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