The very moment I got home from work a couple of Fridays ago (marking the beginning of my vacation, naturally) I barely nudged my mouse and was treated to a Blue Screen of Death. My oddly problematic WinXP install was on its last legs. After over an hour of troubleshooting including installing a second copy of XP on my other hard drive I was finally able to boot back into my first one. I refrained from rebooting until I returned from my vacation.
Rather than leaving this tenuous situation unchecked I decided to buy a new hard drive and start a fresh new install on that. I bought a 500GB 7200RPM Seagate SATA2 HDD with 16MB of cache. I installed it with no issues. It’s not blazingly fast so it took a couple of hours to shuffle my files around after installing the OS, but I’ve come up with a lovely organized partitioning scheme spanning both my physical drives. Coupled with my 300MB disk I’ve got 800MB of storage at my disposal now! Yay for overkill!!
I asked PC Village for advice and they said that Seagate and Western Digital had the best drives out there, but Seagate offered a 5-year warranty whereas WD only offered 3. 2 years of warranty was worth the additional $4. The drive was $119.99 before tax and they even threw in a SATA cable. Great store.