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Choosing the Hard Drive

For the hard drive, I chose a Western Digital Raptor 10,000 RPM Serial ATA. This is a blazingly fast ATA hard drive that achieves SCSI speeds, but without the hassle of SCSI drives. This one is the smaller-capacity drive, limited to 36.7GB, but as I run a tight ship I generally won't use more than 50% of the space at any time. It has a full 8MB buffer and only a 2.99 ms average latency; the full specs are listed in Table 1.

You can't use slow, clunky IDE cables for this; for a high-performance drive you must use high-speed, rounded ATA cables. Instead of using the plain black cables that shipped with the mainboard, I chose an ultra blue UV reactive cable to show well against the UV lighting. We'll discuss aesthetic lighting and cabling in the next part of this series.

Table 1 Details of the Western Digital Raptor 10,000 RPM Serial ATA


Rotational speed

10,000 RPM (nominal)

Buffer size



Average latency

2.99 ms (nominal)


Contact start/stop cycles

20,000 minimum


Seek times (average)

Read seek time

5.2 ms

Track-to-track seek time

0.7 ms


Full stroke seek

10.2 ms


Western Digital Raptor 10,000 RPM serial ATA cost: $92.

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