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Memory, Hard Drive, And Optical Drive

System Builder Marathon, March 2012: $1250 Enthusiast PC

Memory: Mushkin Enhanced Redline 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600 Memory Kit 

Frankly, I’d be happy with 4 GB of lower-latency memory. But your feedback tells us that you want to see 8 GB in these builds. At $60, this Mushkin Enhanced dual-channel kit boasts 7-9-8-24 timings at a 1600 MT/s data rate. 

Read Customer Reviews of Mushkin's Enhanced Redline 8 GB DDR3-1600 Kit

SSD: Crucial m4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64 GB

Read Customer Reviews of Crucial's 64 GB m4

I’m not a fan of restrictive 32 GB boot drives, but Crucial’s M4 64 GB SSD delivers two times that capacity, along with great value and performance.

As with any SSD, remember to check for firmware updates, as it seems many manufacturers (including Crucial) end up fixing stability issues once the drives are on store shelves. We updated our m4 to version 0309 before running any tests.

Hard Drive: Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.D 750 GB

Read Customer Reviews of Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.D 750 GB

Hard disk prices are still much higher than they were last year, and because we’re on a strict budget, we have to make every dollar count.

Now that this system boots from an SSD, we only need a conventional hard disk for  general storage. Hitachi’s $100 Deskstar 7K1000.D offers 750 GB of capacity, it spins at 7200 RPM, and includes a 32 MB cache.

Optical Drive: Samsung TS-H353C OEM

Read Customer Reviews of Samsung TS-H353C

We also chose the cheapest optical drive we could find. This particular example is a real-only device, and not a burner. So, if you need to write your discs, you'll want something else.

Samsung's TS-H353C has been out of stock for a while, so simply look for the least-expensive drive to take its place in your own build.

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