Considering the seek times have remained about the same on desktop hard drives for the last 15 years, while transfer speeds has increased maybe 50 fold and capacity is thousand times more than back then, there are quite huge gains to be had with even non-complex improvements if seeks can be reduced. It's one area where readahead may help to some extent, though mainly it's really in applications where you really shouldn't open 2000 files when logging in eg. to certain modern desktop environments.
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