If Moore's law applies to computer development, so do the natural laws of entropy.
Last week I ordered a Western Digital Scorpio black hard drive for the Macbook, and tonight actually did the transplant and install: took a couple of hours. Lets just say that I'd forgotten that an Apple computer can actually feel crisp and responsive instead of dull and difficult to use. I'm sure some of the improved functionality was a result of the new HDD being much faster, but most of it, I'm sure, was down to the fresh install.
Then came the step about which I still have questions: upgrading to Snow Leper.
Well, for one thing it was darn time consuming, and actually took longer than the original install. There's a new appearance to certain file types and the dock seems to move more crisply than before. However also quite worrying was the way the system fans started within a couple of minutes, and were then on and off every couple of minutes. I'd read about this issue, but though it had been sorted: apparently not so in 10.6.3 (the version on the install disc).
It was backing up a few minutes ago, but I'm hoping that upgrading to 10.6.4 and a restart will solve these issues. Maybe I'm being foolish.
FWIW the drive is clearly running all the time by the vibration through the case: the old slow drive could not be felt in normal use. There does not seem to be a difference in noise level that I can detect.
I also received a 1TB Western Digital HDD to go in this Linux box and replace the 1.5Tb Samsung drive (which will become my general backup drive once all the data has been copied from it). Why replace and rebuild already? Because SUSE isn't stable and several OSs have struggled with the Samsung 1.5TB drive unit to create a working install. It's a big (not necessarily fast) drive and ideal for backup use in a USB caddy.
Night for now.