System, Storage, And Optical Drives
System Drive: Mushkin Chronos Deluxe MX 120 GB SSD
Though many of our system drives are stuffed with several hundred gigabytes of data, moving non-system files to a storage drive gets most of us below 120 GB. Even our benchmark configuration weighs in at just over 80 GB, and that includes several gigabytes of test files adding to the load of applications.
Thus, Mushkin’s Chronos Deluxe MX appeared the perfect compromise between price-per-performance and minimum practical capacity.
The MX reportedly uses slower (and less costly) NAND flash chips with the same high-speed SandForce controller as its DX sibling to achieve its stunningly-low $1/GB price with minimal performance loss.
Storage Drive: Seagate Barracuda Green 2 TB
Adding a second drive to store media files and other assorted personal data allows users to select a much smaller and less expensive SSD as a system drive. The result is an unparalleled combination of program responsiveness and storage capacity, though files stored on the mechanical drive can only be fetched at the drive's transfer limit.
Last year’s interruption of mechanical drive production had a long-lasting impact on availability, especially for higher-capacity units. Now that 2 TB drives are once again affordable, we were able to increase the capacity of our high-end build. Seagate's Barracuda Green drives cost less, consume less energy, and are usually quieter than their high-performance counterparts.
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124
Our former builds were made to perform nearly any high-level at-home task exceptionally well, including ripping Blu-ray disks and making huge BD-R-based backups. Shifting this build’s focus towards exceptional gaming performance, we were able to drop that somewhat-expensive piece of hardware.
Lite-On’s iHAS124 provides 24x DVD burning capability and not much else. In fact, the version we bought didn’t even include software, though the software built into Windows 7 provides some flexibility.