does 5400rpm vs 7200rpm hard drives really make a difference

5400/7200 just tells you how many times the magnetic platters in your hard drive rotates in a circle every minute. it has nothing to do with how fast the hardware can write or read values, or how fast it can seek around the disks, which are the only thing you really care about in terms of performance

7200rpm drives tend to be a hair faster in many cases. expensive 5400 drives will beat out cheap 7200s too.

if you’re worried about disk performance in any way, you need to get an SSD. SSDs vs. spinning rust drives were the most marked performance increase i’ve ever seen in a computer