Budget System Building Guide Summer 2006

Others/Miscelleneous by rutar @ 2006-08-23

Looking to upgrade your PC? Now would be a good time, with fast hardware available at affordable prices we take an in-depth look at how you can speed up your machine without breaking the piggy bank.

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Hard Disk Drive and Optical Storage

Hard Disk Drive (HDD):

For all 3 types of buyers, the cheapest way is to take your old hard disk and put it into the new PC. A system format (Backup! Backup!) and a fresh OS install are required to avoid problems.

Madshrimps (c)
The Silent yet sufficiently fast Samsung Spinpoint

If you want a new one, the 250 GB Samsung Spinpoint P120 SATA-II is a good choice with low noise and low price (the 200GB model is a bit slower due to smaller density of the platters). For a little more the 250 GB Western Digital Caviar SE16 SATA-II has the same abilities but with a bigger cache, so a bit more speed so it is better than the Samsung if the price difference is not excessive. But why buy such a big drive in the first place?

  • The price increase for more capacity is very low up to the 250GB mark, you could buy a 80 GB drive but it is not even half as cheap.
  • The absolute price of a HD is low and it?s future proof
  • A HDD can be easily carried over to new PCs
    If more capacity is needed the Western Digital drive can be found in larger sizes, but you can also just get several 250 GB models, this does up the overall power consumption.

    - SilentPC review of the Western Digital -

    Madshrimps (c)
    Scythe HD Stabilizer helps reduce vibration noise

    Soft mounting the HDD can lower the noise level significantly for the Silent Buyer if the case does not already have such an option and there are various products which can fulfill this task (like the Scythe HD stabilizer). I would stay away from any HDD cooler with a fan, as this will add to the overall system noise.

    Optical Drive ? DVD writer:

    Madshrimps (c)
    Affordable SATA DVD writer: Samsung WriteMaster

    Again the cheapest option is to take over the old drive/burner but for a new one, the Samsung WriteMaster SH-S163A SATA is the best buy for the money. It costs a few $ more than the cheapest drives but it is the first reasonably priced SATA DVD DL burner which has several advantages:

  • Less cables (if the power is shared with the hard disk) and smaller cables which improves airflow in the case
  • Less CPU overhead and faster boot because PATA controllers can be turned off in the bios if a SATA HD is used in the system also.
  • Can be used in future PCs which will not have controllers PATA drives anymore.
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