Does Upgrading Laptop Hard Drive Affect its Battery Life?

We get this question a lot from our readers. Whenever, anyone is about to purchase a laptop computer or upgrade his old notebook, he has this thought of upgrading to a hard disk with larger storage capacity but then wonders how much effect it will have on the laptop’s battery life.

The first myth that people generally have is that hard disks with greater storage will consume more battery power than one with lesser storage.

When we last talked about 10 Tips to Increase Laptop Battery Life, we discussed increasing RAM memory to increase battery life but did not mention anything about hard disks. So, if you have been looking forward to upgrading your Macbook’s hard disk at purchase or later, you should find this post somewhat useful. The same thing also holds for non Apple laptops like Dell and HP.

Laptop hard disk

Why Should I Upgrade my Laptop’s Hard Drive?

If you are a professional, you might have to carry a lot of your work related files. In case you travel a lot, you may also have a huge media collection on your notebook. Whatever be the case, if you can carry a single laptop device without the need of an external drive, it would surely make traveling easier and lighter.

Effect of Larger Hard Drive on Laptop’s Battery Life

Contrary to what you may have guessed, a larger hard drive does not consume battery power significantly greater than the ones with lower storage. On the contrary, if you have a larger hard drive, the disk will be denser and the disk head will need to move a lesser distance to access the same amount of data. Agreed, fragmentation might give you some bad results, but ideally you do realize how increased disk density helps.

Secondly, if you power an external hard drive via USB while on battery power you’ll lose much more battery juice than what you would have if you owned a larger internal drive.

Macbook Pro and 2.5" & 3.5" External Hard Drives

The external hard disk has its own advantages like portability, sharing ability etc. but if you need most of the data to yourself, it’s wiser to go for a larger internal hard disk.


These tips, obviously, won’t be much useful to those who have solid state hard drives like the new Macbook Air series. However, the rest of the laptop owners who still use spinning hard drives should decide for themselves if they have any other use of the external hard drive other than storing and accessing their own data.

If not, they should upgrade to a larger hard disk. If yes, we have another guide to help you choose the right external hard disk.

Credits: Post Image(via Flickr)