Disk Drive RPM
I never quite realized the incredible impact of disk drive speed until I switched (briefly) between laptops. I went from a Dell Insprion 9200.
It was a pretty fast box with 1 meg of memory and a decent Intel M processor (Centrino) with a 7200 RPM drive. I went from this to a Leveno (IBM) Thinkpad R60 with 512 meg, Core Duo and 4200 RPM drive.
Wow did boot times lag and overall performance was mediocre. Even after a memory upgrade to 1 meg it still had very slow boot times although overall performance improved. I’ve since moved to a Thinkpad T60 with 2 gig of ram, a faster Core Duo and a 5400 RPM drive. I still notice that boot times are better but overall performance is just OK. Now I know that lots of factors go into performance, but, at least for boot times (and I can’t wait til this is moved to flash), RPM seems to be king.
May 2013 Update: This is still true and manufacturers are putting out good laptop but with 5400 RPM drives. Don’t go there. The original post was 2007, how can they still be doing this to consumers. Good SSD storage is about as important as RAM for speed, but hold out for a minimum of 7200 RPM if you still use disc.