I'm looking to replace a dead hard drive in an older notebook. The current (bad) hard drive is a Toshiba 60 GB 5400 RPM HDD with 16 MB cache. It's very difficult to find replacement ATA-100 notebook drives with 16 MB cache. Do I even need this extra cache? Is twice the cache noticeable?
Tom's Hardware has a pretty good collection of harddrive benchmarks, pick your drives and see for yourself.
p.s. i remember reading somewhere that you won't notice any difference between 8 and 16 Mb cache in normal HDD use.
Here's the article i was talking about.
p.p.s: i found the benchmark that fits your case - draw your own conclusions.
The difference in speed is more noticeable for external hard disks. But for an internal hard disk, because the operating system's disk cache is much larger than 16MB and its strategy for handling operations on the disk is different, the speed difference should be somewhat less noticeable.
Please note the emphasis on "less noticeable", because the difference in speed is still there. But to you as a user it's less important if the disk is a bit slower, since the computer is still available even if the disk keeps on turning in the background.