Gamer's Hardware Guide, Fall '08: Page 4

(Page 4 of 8)

Page 1 Introduction and Case
Page 2 Processors and Cooling
Page 3 Motherboards and Memory
  • Page 4 Hard Drives and Optical Drive
    Page 5 Video Card, LCD Display and Audio
    Page 6 Mouse, Keyboard & Controller
    Page 7 Communications, Operating System, etc.
    Page 8 Price Roundup and Closing Remarks

    Hard Drives: 2 x Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1TB SATA 3.0Gb/s

    Current Cost: $280 ($140 each)
    Consecutive Guides: New
    Price Change: N/A

    In our previous guide, we went with a quad-320GB drive setup that while being very flexible, didn't really pay off for many end users. It was still a ton of money for what amounted to just over 1TB of actual disk space, not counting any lost from a potential RAID array. In addition, it was four hard drives chugging along, all adding heat and consuming power. This month, we're switching gears a bit and going with dual 1TB Seagate drives, which still allow users to go with a RAID array, or just let it all hang out with a full 2TB of disk space.

    The Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1TB drive is a high-performance model, with a full 32MB of onboard cache, a 7200-RPM spindle speed, second-generation perpendicular recording technology, and a quiet SoftSonic motor. It is a best-in-class 1TB drive for performance, reliability, and ambient noise, while Seagate covers all their OEM drives with a lengthy 5-year warranty.

    We continue to give consideration to the Western Digital VelociRaptor 300GB 10K drive, but at almost $300 for 300GB, this is a tough $/GB nut to crack, even for our Extreme Guide. This is especially true since we like to keep the RAID option open for the high-end crowd, and adding dual VelociRaptor 300GB drives simply wouldn't offer the same performance return as a second graphics card or faster CPU. But if prices fall...

    Optical Drive: LG GGC-H20L Blu-ray/HD DVD, 16X DVD±R SATA /w LS

    Current Cost: $150
    Consecutive Guides: New
    Price Change: N/A

    Although Blu-ray burners are still extremely expensive, a few of the BD/HD-DVD combo drives have fallen in price, and you really don't lose anything on the DVD-R/RW or CD-r/RW side of things. We think a high-end system is only accentuated by high-definition video playback, and it's nice to have the freedom to choose between Blu-ray and taking advantage of some fire-sale HD-DVD prices.

    The LG GGC-H20L supports both Blu-ray and HD-DVD playback at 6x BD-R, 2x BD-RE and 3x HD DVD read speeds, and supports both single and dual-layer formats. It also supports standard DVD and CD read/write capabilities, with 16x for both DVD+R and DVD-R media, 8x for DVD+RW, 6x for DVD-RW, 4x for dual-layer +R/-R, and 40x/24x speeds for CD-R/RW formats. It even supports LightScribe technology, and the only real negative is the higher cost, but this is easily factored into the overall budget.

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    Tags: video, Intel, AMD, nVidia, gaming PC

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