I ordered a new system I'm building - Core i5 2500k, ATI 6950, 8GB RAM, etc. Trying to be on a budget, I'm going to stick with one of my spare HDD's laying around.
Since I tend not to install a ton of programs, I don't need a 1TB drive in my machine - I'd prefer it for storage as a secondary drive in case I crash/need to reformat/etc.
So I have these 3 drives sitting around:
200GB Maxtor Diamond Max 10. Model 6L200M0 SATA150
320GB Western Digital WD3200AAJS-00VWA0
1TB Samsung HD103SJ
Like I said, I'd prefer to use the 200GB or 320GB preferably, but I believe they are 8mb cache, and the 1TB Samsung is 32MB. Will I notice any difference in Windows/gaming? If so, I'll use the 1TB then. I've read elsewhere that I won't really see a difference...but all the posts I saw was from 2008.
The cache size is basically irrelevant. In theory, a larger cache means better performance, but after a certain point it doesn't make any difference and all the drive manufacturers include enough cache to optimize the performance of the drive.
What's more important is the mechanical performance of the drive, which depends on it's spin rate, platter density, and access arm speed. You'll find that the 1TB drive has significantly faster transfer rates because it's a 7200RPM drive and it has much denser platters than your smaller drives. Because of its higher capacity it will also tend to cluster at least the first files you install onto it into the outermost tracks, which will tend to reduce access times.
The difference isn't going to be huge, but I think you'll find that the 1TB drive gives you enough of an improvement that it will be worth using it instead of the smaller drives.