Originally Posted by andypc
Mechanical harddrives are capped at 5.9
To get above 5.9 you need ssd.
Yes, but even capped at 5.9 there is a huge difference between mechanical harddrives.
I had a Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB installed, and it was my only HDD, ironically, it replaced a 640 WD Caviar tuned to be silent - and I put it in my Media Center because of that. But since the 640GB has 2 320GB platters, versus the 500GB's two 250GB platters, it was actually slower in some cases.
I now have a 1TB Caviar Black as my main drive - 2 platter 500GB each and I noticed a big improvment in responsivness, in game level loading, in web browser tab opening times (I have more than 50 tabs open in Firefox).
HDTune confirms it is a much faster HDD than the 500GB model. I have no idea why Windows caps the Experience Index for mechanical HDD's at 5.9, maybe it's because no mechanical HDD has yet reached the 6.0 performance threshold. But that does not mean the performance difference isn't there and isn't noticeable.
Having said that, an 80GB HDD has a much smaller aereal density, and thus the head has to travel more to fetch the same data. It IS a limiting factor.
I wouldn't buy anything less than a 320GB, single platter HDD nowadays. It really is not even worth buying less because the price difference is ridiculous.