Hard Drive RPM

What is Hard Drive RPM?

Hard Drive RPM refers to the rotational speed of the platters inside a computer’s hard disk drive (HDD) and is measured in revolutions per minute (RPM). It determines how quickly the hard drive can access and transfer data.

A higher RPM typically means that a hard drive can read and write data faster, resulting in quicker load times for applications and files. However, higher RPMs also mean greater power consumption, heat generation, and noise levels.

It is important to consider the balance between speed and other factors when selecting a hard drive for a computer system.

Understanding Hard Drive RPM

What is Hard Drive RPM

Hard disk drive RPM is the unit that indicates the speed, and, in turn, the performance of the disk drive.

Originally, the hard drives were designed to spin at a speed of 1200 RPM.

Later on, there were the upgraded disk drives that spun at the rate of 3600 RPM and were available for many years, until these were replaced by the latest hard disk drives that had a platter spinning at 5400 or 7200 revolutions per minute.

A few specific models of modern hard disk drives can even spin at a huge speed of 10000 or 15000 RPM.

RPM of the disk drives is used to measure the access time of the hard drives of the computer.

The same RPM unit is also used to measure the speed of the fan in the computer case or the heat sink fan present in it.

When the speed of the hard disk or the fan in the CPU case or heat sink is more, the decibel of noise level, measured in dBA, will also increase.

However, to ensure a better user experience, the industry has tried to include several features and some of these are nothing short of any histrionic innovation.

They have tried reducing the physical footprints of the hard drives on the computer casing to increase the level of performance and storage density dramatically.

Over time, the hard drive technology has grown and the newer techniques in its manufacture have helped the makers to come up with better models that are comparatively more consistent. They have made notable changes in:

Read Also:  HPFS (High Performance File System) Explained

The RPM not only denotes how fast the platter rotates but also indicates how quickly the data is transferred from it to the host computer through the read and write data.

This process is called the data throughput. This is measured in gigabits, also spelled as gigabytes, per second.

However, the data throughput is correlated to the density of data packed or stored on the platters of the hard drive as well as the speed at which the platter spins. In short, it all depends on the RPM of the hard drives.

There are different measuring methods and specifications involved in determining the performance and RPM of the hard drives.

As for the areal density of the hard drives, it is measured in two ways namely, BPI or Bits Per Inch and TPI or Tracks Per Inch.

The TPI increases when the tracks are positioned closely together and the BPI increases when the data bits are closely located on the track.

When the aerial density is more, the data passes through the read-write head of the platters more quickly, and, in turn, improves the throughput performance and the data transfer rates between the hard disk drive and the computer, desktop or laptop.

As for the RPM, the specifications are as follows:

The speed of the hard disk drives is also determined by two particular types of performances. These are:

Therefore, when you compare two specific types of hard disk drives, it is the RPM of the different hard disk drives that will impact its performance, higher, the better, if all other things are equal.

How to Check HDD RPM?

You can check the RPM or speed of your hard disk in different ways but the most common, reliable and simple way to go about it is to check the label of it.

This will mention the precise RPM of the hard drive. However, you will need to check it in your computer but that does not mean you will have to pull it apart. Just go to the set up and look up for the properties of the hard drive.

However, if you are not comfortable with it and may be apprehensive that you may change the configurations of your computer system unknowingly, you can also check it up on Google, but for that you will need to follow specific steps.

Just find the model number of the hard disk drive in your computer, type it in the search box, and Google will do the rest for you. You will come to know every little detail of the hard drive in your computer easily.

Now, for this you will need to know the exact model number of your hard disk drive. If you know it already then it is easy, but if you do not know the model number, do not fret or curse yourself because you are not alone.

Use your computer and follow any of these two steps to know the model number of the hard disk drive in it.

Read Also:  3 Ways to Defrag a Hard Drive

Use the Device Manager:

This will show the model number when it expands and you can use Google to know about its speed.

Sometimes, the expanded ‘Disk Drives’ may not show the hard disk model number. In that case you should:

This will show the model number of your hard disk drive, which you can now Google search to know the RPM.

You can also use the System Information Tool to know the model number of your hard drive in this way:

On the right hand side you will see all the details of your hard drive along with its model number. Search it on Google to know the RPM.

If all these are too much for you, then you can also use a reliable third-party software to find out the RPM of your hard disk drive. The software will also tell you about other specification of it such as:

You can download one of the several software available and save it in your computer. This will allow you to check it, as and when required, to measure the level of performance of your hard disk drive on a regular basis.

Using third-party software is simple and fast. You will simply have to download its setup file, install the program and launch it to look at all the details of the hard disk drive.

However, the different types of attributes shown may vary according to the type of software you use. Check for the RPM, along with all other attributes of the disk, under the ‘Rotation Rate’ head.

How Does It Work?

Any typical hard disk drive will come with two specific electric motors namely:

The RPM of the disk motor is controlled by an external rotor that is connected to the disks. It has fixed stator windings.

On the other hand, the actuator support arm holds the read and write head connected to the mechanism with thin cables or printed circuits.

These cables actually amplify the read-write head along with the other electronics that are mounted on the pivot of this actuator.

The head support arm of the actuator of the hard disk drive is made from very light material but is very stiff to support high speeds of 7200 RPM and an acceleration of up to 550 g.

Questions & Answers:

What is a good RPM for a hard drive?

The short answer to this question is: it all depends on your usage and purpose. A hard disk drive with slower speed is good enough if you use it for storage purposes only.

Read Also:  What is High-Level Formatting? (Explained)

On the other hand, for having better performance of your laptop or desktop computer, anything between 5400 and 7200 RPM is the best. Anything more than that will mean too much heat and consumption of more power.

Which is better, 7200 RPM or 5400 RPM?

Once again, it depends on the usage. A hard disk with 5400 RPM will be lighter and slower in transferring data as compared to the 7200 RPM but it will also cause less damage to your computer.

Ideally, you will not notice much difference when you use your computer, laptop or desktop, for general purpose. If the slight difference in price does not bother you, you can go for a 7200 RPM hard disk drive. This will also fetch you a higher resale value for your laptop.

Is a higher RPM hard drive better?

Ideally, it does, but just by 20%, and it also depends on your choice. If price does not matter to you, a 7200 RPM hard disk drive will read faster, write quickly, execute any program faster, run on any operating system and transfer files faster.

However, it will be noisy, use more power and heat up your computer pretty quickly by a considerable extent.

If you want better performance of your computer, a hard disk drive of 7200 RPM is better but if you want to store files only, go for the slower 5400 RPM variant.

Please be informed that the lifespan of faster hard drives may be shorter than the slower ones as well.

Does an SSD have RPM?

No, because SSD stands for Solid State Drives and does not contain any moving parts in it. Most of the Mac hard drives are SSD and therefore there is no RPM associated with it.

Does HDD RPM matter?

Though it is enough to have a hard disk in your laptop or desktop computer of 5400 or 7200 RPM, you may also choose one that can spin at 15000 RPM, if you want to use it for research purposes.

However, the actual benefit of a high-speed hard disk drive, whether 5400 or 7200 RPM hard disk drive, is negligible.

It is only the temperature and power consumption difference that matters. Technically, you should be more concerned with the cache size because higher the cache size, better will be the performance of your computer.


Hard Drive RPM refers to the rotational speed of the platters inside a computer’s hard disk drive (HDD) and is measured in revolutions per minute.

A higher RPM means faster read and write speeds but also results in greater power consumption, heat generation, and noise levels.

RPM is used to measure the access time of the hard drive of the computer and can impact the performance of the hard drive.

The industry has made notable changes in the speed at which the platter rotates or the RPM and the bits storage density on the circular and spinning platters.

Hard drives can be checked for their RPM by looking at the label or typing the model number in the search box.

It is important to consider the balance between speed and other factors when selecting a hard drive for a computer system.