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System Builder Marathon, March 2012: $2600 Performance PC

SSD, Hard Drive, And Optical Drive

System Drive: Mushkin Chronos Deluxe MKNSSDCR240GB-DX

Drive guru Andrew Ku tells us that the 240 GB Chronos Deluxe is the best value in storage performance. Rather than argue, this builder took that recommendation as a great reason to step up to a higher capacity point than the previous build's 128 GB m4.

Read Customer Reviews of Mushkin's Chronos Deluxe 240 GB

A SandForce SF-2281 controller helps push this drive superb sequential read and write rates over 500 MB/s over its SATA 6Gb/s interface. Of course, that’s just a theoretical maximum.

Mass Storage: Seagate Barracuda Green ST1500DL003

Now that the price of high-capacity drives is tumbling back towards what we were used to last year, we were able to get a 1.5 TB unit for only $100. We weren't able to secure that amount of storage space from a high-performance model, though.

Read Customer Reviews of Seagate's Barracuda Green ST1500DL003 1.5 TB Hard Drive

Instead we ordered Seagate’s low-energy, 5900 RPM green drive. This is the repository we’d use to store photos, movies, and other things that don’t get moved much. Lower noise should accompany the slower spindle speed and stepped-back power consumption. All of that is fine; performance isn’t a big priority for the type of files we want to store here, and we already have that 240 GB SSD to help hold speed-sensitive apps.

Optical Storage: Pioneer BDR-206DBKS

We’ve seen so many bare drives come with a software bundle that we were a little surprised when our previous build's BD-RE really came with nothing other than hardware. Not willing to take that chance again, we ordered a white-box drive that we knew would include software used to access the media a Blu-ray-capable product supports.

Read Customer Reviews of Pioneer's BDR-206DBKS

We didn’t buy the drive primarily for playing movies, but we’d be disappointed if we couldn’t. Pioneer’s BDR-206DBKS gives us 12x BD-R, 2x BD-RE, and 16x DVD-R writes, plus CyberLink’s Media Suite 8, for under $100.

Our goal was to get the best range of optical media support, and with 50 GB dual-layer discs selling for as little as $10 each, this drive could become the perfect place to dump backups.

  • llguitargr8
    Just curious, did you guys purchase all these parts and right these articles before the GTX 680 was released? I really thought you guys would have gone with that, and if it wasn't because they weren't available at the time, then what makes the 7970 better in your opinion?
    Reply
  • llguitargr8
    Sorry, *write. It's late.
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    Not sure if I agree with that choice of cooler but I definitely like the rest of the setup!
    Reply
  • bystander
    llguitargr8Just curious, did you guys purchase all these parts and right these articles before the GTX 680 was released? I really thought you guys would have gone with that, and if it wasn't because they weren't available at the time, then what makes the 7970 better in your opinion?Almost all these build articles are based on purchases that took place 2 months ago. Even if they were to have bought these parts today, it would be hard to purchase a 680, as stock is a major issue.
    Reply
  • mjmjpfaff
    I like it a lot. I am glad you mixed it up and went with the x79 platform.
    Reply
  • esrever
    I like the build except the x79 adds like $500 extra that I see very little benefit from.
    Reply
  • Pezcore27
    Love the build. Do want!
    Reply
  • e56imfg
    Dang I need to win this one!! I'm so happy they balanced the CPU with the GPU this time around.
    Reply
  • hmp_goose
    Good job: Working through the details of the CPU cooler like that is half the fun of this hobby. Great build.
    Reply
  • theuniquegamer
    Good build . But there could be more improvement by replacing a $600 cpu and $320 mother board with a i7 2600k and a $200 z68 mother board . And also replacing the 7970($590) with 2x680 at 2x$500(from the money saved from cpu and motherboard and 7970). It may give better gaming result than this build.
    Reply