Memory And Storage
Memory: Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 998768
At this point, we're getting very close to our budget limit, and a quick check of Crucial’s highly-overclockable value kit shows that these modules have lost much of their pricing edge. Of course, those modules came down in price after we placed our order. On the other hand, Mushkin’s competing parts were on sale.
Rated at the same DDR3-1333 data rate and 9-9-9-24 timings as Crucial’s formerly value-leading parts, Mushkin’s Silverline 998768 kit was 20% cheaper than Crucial’s cheap stuff at the time of our purchase. That savings was needed to keep our system within budget, and Mushkin even enhances the look of its modules with black-on-chrome heat spreaders. We can only hope for similar overclocking capability!
Hard Drive: Samsung F3 1TB HD103SJ
It’s fortunate for us that one of the fastest high-capacity desktop drives on the market is also cheap enough to fit within what’s left of our budget. Samsung’s F3 1TB offers 30 times the capacity that we might have otherwise been “able to afford” in an SSD.
Of course, load times are slower for a mechanical drive, but an SSD at this price wouldn’t have even been large enough to hold our test software.
A combination of relatively good transfer rates and large 32 MB cache assures that only our synthetic benchmarks will be handicapped by this older storage technology, and synthetics don’t count towards the performance profile in our value analysis.
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124
Every so often something slips past us, and we forgot to add the optical drive to today’s build. Fortunately, we’d already ordered and received Lite-On’s iHAS124 for one of our other systems and found it sitting on the shelf.
This is the same drive we used in our original $2000 build, and thus we’ll make the same comment concerning its selection: although it's a remarkably fast and inexpensive model, we would have probably chosen the similar iHAS224 for its added LightScribe support if given another opportunity to change the list.