Hard Drive: Western Digital WD5000AAKS (500 GB)
Western Digital provided the 15 test hard drives for our test systems. We would have opted for a Raptor hard drive, but its 150 GB doesn't provide sufficient capacity to provide our raw benchmark data and the Windows installation, including the necessary applications. The WD5000AAKS is a Caviar SE16 drive with 16 MB cache, Serial ATA/300 and a 7,200 RPM spindle speed. Though it cannot compete with the latest hard drive generation (Samsung Spinpoint F1 or Seagate Barracuda 7200.11), it is a solid performer and a reliable workhorse. Thanks to its under $120 price tag, this model offers an exceptional price/performance value.