I tend to agree with you that the harddrive issue is overblown. I got the Hitachi Travelstar 80GN drive (Model#IC25N080ATMR04-0: they really need to rethink the model numbering scheme
). It's an 80 gb 4200 rpm drive with 8 mb cache. It was tested against a bunch of 7200 rpm drives in an Xbit Labs
test from last year.
While it's true it doesn't quite achieve the same speeds as the 7200 rpm drives, it wasn't any slouch either. Real life performance is what I'm interested in anyhow. Right now I'm still waiting on my 2 gigs of RAM to arrive. I only have 256 mb in there and other than games, Windows actually runs quite satisfactorily to me even though load times are a TAD slower than my desktop (which has 512 mb ram and a Samsung 160 gb 7200 rpm harddrive). When I get my 2gb of RAM, I'm expecting performance to improve quite dramatically. I don't really care if it takes an extra second or minute to transfer a large file. As long as the videos I'm watching don't stutter (they don't), and the games I play are smooth (I expect them to be when I get my RAM upgraded). Business applications? Meh. Word, Excel, and Powerpoint all run perfectly fine. I wouldn't notice another half second load time of a file. If I ever need to upgrade, it's an easy thing to do, and then I can plunk the 80gb drive into an external case and have a small external storage drive.