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Power Supply, SSD, Hard Drive, And Optical Drive

System Builder Marathon, Q4 2013: A $2400 PC That Costs $2700

Power Supply: Seasonic M12II SS-850AM

By now, my reduced budget is starting to feel a little constrictive. But power is one place where I cannot cut corners. I estimated that I’d need at least 800 watts, and the unit I chose to reach that level in September is now too expensive. Thankfully, Seasonic was ready to take care of my needs.

Read Customer Reviews of Seasonic's M12II SS-850AM PSU

Semi-modular and manufactured by one of the industry’s most-reputable firms, the only feature Seasonic’s value-priced M12II-850AM forces me to give up is a small amount of efficiency. Coming in just shy of the Gold certification with an 84.52% full-load efficiency rating, that’s not much of a sacrifice.

SSD: SanDisk Ultra Plus SDSSDHP-256G-G25

Still shaving nickels to collect scrap metal, I turned to our Best SSDs For The Money column. First recognized for its performance and value in SanDisk Ultra Plus SSD Reviewed At 64, 128, And 256 GB, this drive remains atop our list of 256 GB models.

Read Customer Reviews of SanDisk's Ultra Plus 256 GB

Hard Drive: Western Digital Green WD20EZRX

A 200-300 GB SSD fills up quickly with programs and games, and most users still need additional space for all their movies, pictures, work files, and documents. September’s build had 3 TB of extra storage, but budget restrictions scaled this build back to 2 TB.

Read Customer Reviews of Western Digital's Green WD20EZRX

Apart from compatibility issues with a few older systems and some shipping damage complaints, Western Digital's 2 TB Green drive looks fairly good from Newegg's user reviews. It's not a top performer, but does serve up plenty of capacity quietly, and features 64 MB of cache to help it along.

Optical Drive: Pioneer BDR-208DBK

Short on cash but still full of dreams, I looked to previous System Builder Marathon stories to find a cheap, full-featured Blu-ray burner for redundant storage and media playback. The trick was to find an OEM drive with the software suite typically lacking from OEM packages.

Read Customer Reviews of Pioneer's BDR-208DBK

Unfortunately, I lost the bet on this one. Unlike its BDR-206DBK, Pioneer's BDR-208DBK really doesn’t include software. It’s still a good drive though, and I really couldn’t afford to pay any more than its low $60 price.

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