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SSD, Hard Drive, And Optical Drive

System Builder Marathon, Dec. 2011: $2400 Performance PC
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System Drive: Crucial m4 128GB SSD

Fellow editor Andrew Ku finally talked me into ditching my striped pair of 64 GB SSDs in favor of a single, faster drive. Crucial’s 128 GB m4 topped the list of somewhat-affordable models based on its excellent performance reputation.

Read Customer Reviews of Crucial's m4 128 GB


Storage Drive: Western Digital Caviar Green 1.5 TB

Pining for the days when a 2 TB drive cost only $80, we spent $180 dollars to get a big drop in capacity as an unfortunate result of the recent production issues affecting the mechanical drive industry.

Read Customer Reviews of Western Digital's Caviar Green 1.5 TB


Anyone who questions the money spent on added storage is probably missing the point that this is not a pure gaming system, but instead a general performance machine that plays games well.

Optical Drive: LG WH12LS38 BD-RE

For a mere $70, LG’s basic BD-RE drive allows users to back up 50 GB of data at 12x speed, though single-layer media still provides the best cost-to-capacity ratio.

Read Customer Reviews of LG's WH12LS38 BD-RE Drive


While this drive could also be used to view Blu-ray movies, it doesn’t include the software needed to do so. We’re usually pleasantly surprised to find free software with our bare drives, and would have probably spent an extra $10 on a different model if we knew we weren’t going to get it with this one.

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