My 100 gig drive is hitachi. The Model # is HTS541010G9SA00http://www.hitachigst.com/hdd/support/5k100/5k100.htm
The drive is unbelievably quiet. I loaded fttool to check and the accoustic level was turned on. I left it the way it was since adjusting it made no difference in speed. I did however, turn off the feature of it parking it's head to save power. As for it being sata, it's a big debate but it does seem that the sata 5400 drives are faster than the pata 5400 drives.
I believe the magnifying button is on all a600 series, and yes it is 1024x600. It works with a sony driver so I'm sure it could be modded to use a different setting if you wanted to.
The a/v docking station has everything. 5.1, svideo in and out, DVI, tv tuner, audio amp, etc etc. I haven't used most of the connections yet, but the speakers sound clear up to their highest volume. If the laptop will be stationary for most of it's use, I would highly recommend it. I just watched t2 and forgot I was using a laptop.
My games are maybe 1 - 2 years old and have not had any issues with the x600. I'm using the stock sony drivers with the attool to overclock. Not that I needed, but just wanted to. I might try the latest omega drivers for the fun of it. I wouldn't expect the latest games to have any issues, but just going from it's specs, you'd problably would want to turn the quality down for the games to run smooth. I'm just speculating here.
I love this laptop and the docking station just gave it a 2nd personality. Going to hook up cable tonight.
Now I just need a wireless router with a hardwire lan capable of 1000mbps, does anyone know of any?