5400Rpm Vs 7200Rpm Hdds For Gaming – Which Should You Choose?

When building or upgrading a gaming PC, one of the key components to consider is your storage drive. The two main consumer hard drive speeds are 5400rpm and 7200rpm.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: 7200rpm HDDs are significantly faster than 5400rpm drives and will provide a better gaming experience with faster load times. The performance boost is worth paying a bit more for a 7200rpm drive.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll examine the differences between 5400rpm and 7200rpm HDDs and whether the faster 7200rpm drives are worth it for gaming. We’ll look at real-world gaming load time comparisons, pricing differences, and when a 5400rpm drive might still make sense.

Rotation Speeds and Performance

5400rpm Overview

When it comes to choosing a hard disk drive (HDD) for gaming, one crucial factor to consider is the rotation speed. The rotation speed of an HDD determines how quickly the disk can access and retrieve data.

A 5400rpm (revolutions per minute) HDD is a common option for many gamers due to its affordability and availability. These drives spin at a speed of 5400 revolutions per minute, which is slower compared to higher-end options like the 7200rpm HDDs.

Although 5400rpm HDDs are generally slower when it comes to data access, they still offer decent performance for casual gaming. These drives are suitable for gamers who prioritize budget-friendly options or have less demanding gaming requirements.

They can still handle games with lower system requirements and offer plenty of storage space for game installations and data.

It’s important to note that while 5400rpm HDDs may have slower data access, they can still provide a smooth gaming experience for less demanding games. However, for more demanding games or if you require faster load times and better overall performance, it might be worth considering a higher rotation speed like the 7200rpm HDDs.

7200rpm’s Faster Data Access

If you’re a serious gamer or someone who plays resource-intensive games, a 7200rpm HDD might be a better choice. These drives spin at a faster rate of 7200 revolutions per minute, allowing for quicker data access and retrieval.

The higher rotation speed results in reduced loading times, faster file transfers, and smoother gameplay.

7200rpm HDDs are known for their improved performance and are often preferred by gamers who want a competitive edge. The faster data access provided by these drives can significantly enhance the gaming experience, especially in games that require quick response times or have large file sizes.

Compared to 5400rpm HDDs, 7200rpm drives generally offer better overall performance and are more suitable for demanding gaming setups. However, it’s important to consider other factors such as storage capacity and price when making a decision.

Load Time Comparisons for Games

When it comes to gaming, load times can make a significant difference in the overall experience. Faster load times mean less waiting and more playing. One factor that affects load times is the rotational speed of the hard disk drive (HDD).

Two common options available in the market are 5400rpm and 7200rpm HDDs. Let’s compare the load times of these two options to help you make an informed decision.

Boot and Level Load Times

Boot time refers to the time it takes for a game to launch and load all the necessary files to start playing. Level load times, on the other hand, are the time it takes to load different levels or sections within a game. Both of these factors contribute to the overall load time experience.

5400rpm HDDs have a lower rotational speed compared to their 7200rpm counterparts. This means that they may take slightly longer to load games and levels. However, the difference in load times between the two options is not always significant and may vary depending on the specific game and the overall system configuration.

7200rpm HDDs, with their higher rotational speed, generally offer faster load times compared to 5400rpm HDDs. This can result in quicker game launches and shorter level load times. If you’re someone who values speed and wants to minimize waiting times, opting for a 7200rpm HDD might be a better choice for you.

Game Launch Speed Differences

Game launch speed is an essential aspect for many gamers, especially those who enjoy playing multiple games or frequently switch between different titles. The faster the game launches, the sooner you can start playing and enjoying the gaming experience.

With a 5400rpm HDD, game launch speed may be slightly slower compared to a 7200rpm HDD. The difference might be noticeable if you’re launching several games in quick succession or if you frequently switch between games during your gaming sessions.

On the other hand, a 7200rpm HDD offers quicker game launch speeds. This means you can jump into your favorite games faster without having to wait for an extended period. If you value efficiency and want to minimize any delays in starting your games, a 7200rpm HDD is worth considering.

It’s important to note that load times can also be affected by other factors such as the game’s optimization, the overall system specifications, and whether you’re using an SSD or HDD. While a higher RPM HDD can improve load times, it may not be the only determining factor.

Cost Difference Between 5400rpm and 7200rpm

When it comes to choosing between a 5400rpm and a 7200rpm hard disk drive (HDD) for gaming, one of the key factors to consider is the cost difference. The speed of the HDD can have a direct impact on the overall gaming experience, but it’s important to weigh that against the cost.

Budget-Friendly 5400rpm Drives

One of the advantages of opting for a 5400rpm HDD is the lower cost compared to a 7200rpm drive. These drives are often more budget-friendly, making them an attractive option for gamers who are looking for a more affordable solution.

While the lower rotational speed may result in slightly longer load times and slower data transfer rates, it may not be a significant concern for casual gamers or those with a limited budget.

Additionally, 5400rpm HDDs are typically quieter and produce less heat compared to their 7200rpm counterparts. This can be beneficial for gamers who prioritize a quieter gaming experience or have concerns about heat dissipation within their gaming setup.

Premium for 7200rpm Speed

On the other hand, 7200rpm HDDs offer a significant boost in speed compared to 5400rpm drives. With faster rotational speed, these drives can provide quicker loading times, faster file transfers, and smoother gameplay.

This can be particularly advantageous for gamers who demand high performance and want to minimize any potential lag or delays during gameplay.

However, it’s important to note that the increased speed of 7200rpm drives often comes with a higher price tag. These drives are generally priced higher than their 5400rpm counterparts, and this premium may deter some budget-conscious gamers.

Ultimately, the choice between a 5400rpm and a 7200rpm HDD for gaming depends on personal preferences, budget, and gaming requirements. For those who prioritize cost-effectiveness and are willing to compromise on speed, a 5400rpm drive can be a suitable option.

On the other hand, if speed and performance are paramount and budget is not a limiting factor, investing in a 7200rpm drive may be the way to go.

Use Cases for 5400rpm Drives

Secondary Storage

One of the main use cases for 5400rpm drives is as secondary storage. These drives are often larger in capacity and more affordable compared to their 7200rpm counterparts. This makes them ideal for storing large files such as movies, music, and photos.

If you have a large media library and don’t require fast access times, a 5400rpm drive can be a great choice. It allows you to save money while still providing ample storage space for your files.

Non-Gaming Tasks

Another use case for 5400rpm drives is for non-gaming tasks. If you primarily use your computer for web browsing, document editing, or other everyday tasks, the speed difference between a 5400rpm and a 7200rpm drive may not be noticeable.

In these situations, investing in a 7200rpm drive may not provide any significant benefits. The slower speed of a 5400rpm drive will still be sufficient for these tasks, and you can save some money by opting for the slower drive.

It’s important to note that while 5400rpm drives may be slower than 7200rpm drives, they are still capable of handling most non-gaming tasks with ease. The speed difference is more noticeable when it comes to gaming and other high-performance tasks.

For everyday use, a 5400rpm drive will still provide satisfactory performance.

If you’re unsure whether a 5400rpm drive is suitable for your needs, it’s always a good idea to consider your specific use cases and requirements. Assessing your storage needs, budget, and performance expectations can help you make an informed decision.

Additionally, seeking advice from reputable sources such as PCWorld or Tom’s Hardware can provide valuable insights and recommendations.

Maximizing HDD Gaming Performance

When it comes to gaming, having a high-performance hard disk drive (HDD) is crucial for smooth gameplay and faster loading times. Two common options to consider are 5400rpm and 7200rpm HDDs. Let’s explore how you can maximize HDD gaming performance.

Combined SSD and HDD Setups

One effective way to optimize HDD gaming performance is by combining it with a solid-state drive (SSD). SSDs are known for their lightning-fast read and write speeds, making them ideal for storing your operating system and frequently played games.

By installing your OS and games on an SSD, you can significantly reduce loading times and improve overall system responsiveness. Meanwhile, you can utilize a larger capacity HDD for storing less frequently accessed games, multimedia files, and other data.

According to a study by Tom’s Hardware, combining an SSD with an HDD in a gaming setup can result in faster game load times and smoother gameplay. This setup allows you to take advantage of both the speed of an SSD and the storage capacity of an HDD, giving you the best of both worlds.

External Drive Considerations

If you prefer the convenience of an external drive for gaming, there are a few factors to consider. While external HDDs can provide additional storage space, they may not offer the same level of performance as internal drives.

However, if you opt for an external SSD, you can still enjoy the benefits of faster load times and improved game performance.

When choosing an external drive, make sure to check its interface and connection type. USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 Gen 2 offer faster transfer speeds compared to older USB 2.0 connections. Additionally, Thunderbolt 3 provides even higher speeds for those with compatible devices.

It’s worth noting that external drives may not be as portable as their smaller counterparts. However, they can still be a great option for gamers who need extra storage capacity or want to easily transfer their games between different systems.

So, which HDD should you choose for gaming?

While 7200rpm HDDs generally offer better performance compared to 5400rpm drives, the ultimate choice depends on your specific needs and budget. If you’re looking for maximum speed and performance, consider combining an SSD with an HDD in your gaming setup.

On the other hand, if you prefer the convenience of an external drive, make sure to choose one with a suitable interface and connection type.

Remember, a well-optimized HDD setup can significantly enhance your gaming experience, ensuring you spend less time waiting and more time playing your favorite games.


While 5400rpm HDDs can save you money, 7200rpm drives deliver markedly faster load times and a smoother gaming experience. The extra investment is justified for most gamers.

In a few budget or secondary storage use cases, a 5400rpm drive still gets the job done. But when it comes to primary gaming storage, 7200rpm is the way to go.

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