DRAM, SSD, And Mass Storage
DRAM: Crucial Ballistix Tactical 16 GB DDR3-1600 Kit
We know for a fact that one benchmark in particular responds well to gobs of memory when it's run on a platform capable of scheduling eight threads (alright, it's After Effects). With an original budget of $2600, that sounded like a good reason to chase some diminishing returns.
Read Customer Reviews of Crucial's Ballistix Tactical 16 GB DDR3-1600 Kit (opens in new tab)
Hoping to reach the same DDR3-2133 CAS 9 achieved in previous SBM builds with 8 GB, I decided to go large with Crucial’s 16 GB BLT2K8G3D1608ET3LX0 kit. Will lightning strike the same place three times?
SSD: Mushkin Chronos Deluxe MKNSSDCR240GB-DX
Mushin’s Chronos Deluxe DX drives are getting a little old, yet storage expert Andrew Ku’s latest SSD value comparison shows that the faintly-better next-step-up costs 30% more. That probably explains why Andrew still picks this one as top value at or near its price.
Read Customer Reviews of Mushkin's Chronos Deluxe 240 GB SSD (opens in new tab)
Upgrading from Mushkin to Samsung would have cost more than half as much as the CPU upgrade, but it would have yielded far less than half of the comparative performance benefit. The potential improvement was simply too small to push me out of my comfort zone, even though I still had cash laying on the table.
Hard Drive: Western Digital WD2002FAEX
Western Digital’s Caviar Black is a continued favorite with readers who need large capacity, and the 2 TB version is a reasonable value at $160. A somewhat-fast 7200 RPM rotational speed and 64 MB of data cache boosts performance when retrieving those large files that simply won’t fit on the 240 GB SSD.
Read Customer Reviews of Western Digital's Black 2 TB Hard Drive (opens in new tab)
There was almost enough money left in the original budget to add a second unit for RAID 1 redundancy but, as with the expensive optical drive, this un-benchmarked part represents a single strike against our Day 4 performance-per-dollar comparison. I like extra features, but didn’t want to compound that issue.