Yeah it can be very annoying. Defragmenting, formatting and error checking times are all proptional to the size of the HD. Of course capacity is increasing a lot faster than speed so each time you upgrade you will notice how much longer it takes.
since i leave my computer on all the time, i've set it to optimize each of my three hard drives every 3 days, and on sunday, my computer rests. since it does it at 5 am, i never have a problem with it.
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there higher a hard drives rpm means it will be able to find stuff on the hard drive faster, faster rpm = faster seek time. that means it can find the clusters quicker and move them quicker when doing things like defraging.
i had a brand-new 7200 rpm HDD, there was a minor defect in the inside of the casing that caused extra friction. the HDD overheated, melted the plastic covering, and seized within 2 min. of startup. at the same time, the cooling fan on the cpu had a bearing seize, and the cpu overheated about 10 sec faster than the HDD. took almost a week to figure out what the hell went wrong