Hard Drive Storage
Image source: NewEgg.
The hard drive isn't as much of a critical element as all the previous components we have already listed in regards to gaming. Sure, faster transfer rates and low seek times can make a difference (mainly in level load times), but it rarely effects actual game play as the performance difference between today's models is getting smaller and smaller. Throw in the premium price associated with the features that produce only nominal performance boosts and it becomes difficult to justify the high performance drives available today given our budget.
Still, we need a decent amount of storage, and the Western Digital Caviar SE WD800JD 80 GB is in the higher end of what we would consider our needs for storage size. It comes with a SATA/150 interface, 8 MB cache and 7200 rpm spindle speed. You probably could settle for less but the economies of hard drive models make this an excellent buy for the money at $57.50.
The SATA drive market has matured to the point that we no longer have to pay the premium we did, say, a year ago when comparing them to the ATA models. Our motherboard also supports SATA I,I but SATA 150 represents the smartest performance to price ratio at the moment.