Updated: 11/18/2022 by Computer Hope

RPM may refer to any of the following:

1. Short for revolutions per minute, RPM is used to help determine the access time on computer hard drives. RPM measures how many revolutions a computer's hard drive platter makes in a single minute. The higher the RPM, the faster the data will be accessed. For example, comparing two hard drives, one with 5400 RPM and another with 7200 RPM, the 7200 RPM hard drive can access data much faster than the other.


Newer computers with SSD (solid-state drives) have no movable parts and therefore have no RPM.

How does RPM affect the computer's speed?

As mentioned above, the RPM is how fast the drive platter is rotating (spinning). With a higher RPM, the computer read/write head can access a location on the platter faster to read or write data. Thus, the computer spends less time waiting for the hard drive, which increases overall performance.

Why are slower RPM drives used?

Slower hard drives are still used today to help reduce the overall cost of a computer. Some laptops still utilize 5400 RPM hard drives for this reason. Lower RPM speed hard drives are also used to backup data that doesn't need to be quickly accessed. For example, if you have millions of pictures, it may be cheaper to store backups of those pictures on a slower drive.

Can I change my hard drive RPM?

No. The RPM of a hard drive cannot be increased or decreased. If you find your hard drive is too slow because of its RPM, replace it or consider an SSD (solid-state drive).

Should I buy or use an RPM hard drive?

With the advantages of SSDs and how their prices continue to fall, we only recommend buying an RPM hard drive if it's used to store information that's not frequently accessed. We strongly recommend only purchasing a computer with a primary SSD for performance reasons.

2. RPM can also refer to the revolutions per minute a computer case fan or heat sink fan spins. With a high RPM, a fan moves air quicker to or from the computer or processor to remove excess heat. However, realize that as you increase the RPM of a fan, the noise or decibel (dBA) also increases.


A computer's fan RPM can be measured using software tools such as HWMonitor.

3. Originally short for Red Hat Package Manager, RPM is now a recursive acronym (RPM Package Manager) and is an installation and packaging tool used with Linux to install Internet downloads. RPM uses the .RPM file extension when creating a package. For users more familiar with Debian, this tool is similar to the Dpkg tool.

4. With advertising, RPM is the amount earned per one thousand page views.

Access time, APT, Computer acronyms, CPM, Decibel, Hard drive terms, Install, Measurement, Recursive acronym, Rev, Seek time, Setup