I'm getting ready to order a dell xps m1330 and I have to option of going the 5400rpm or 7200rpm routs with the higher been significantly more expensive. Would the speed be that noticeable to warrant an extra $200?
I would say yes. I went from a 4200 to a 5400 and there was a very noticable decrease in the time it took Windows to boot up.
AND, will the 7200 use more power and thus kill my battery that much faster?
Actually in my case the newer 5400 drive used less power than the 4200. The 4200 drive was rated for 5v 0.8A while the 5400 drive was rated at 5v 0.7A. Both drives were Toshibas.
Keep in mind that just because speed and capacity increase doesn't still mean they're still using the same old and moldy motors to spin these drives.