Memory And Storage
DRAM: Crucial Ballistix DDR3-1333 CAS 9
We love value and consistency, two things that Crucial’s Ballistix DDR3-1333 CAS 9 has brought into many of our SBMs. Some readers will be disappointed, of course, that we didn’t choose memory rated at a higher overclocked setting, but our experience has shown that these modules consistently reach speeds between DDR3-1960 and DDR3-1980 using voltage levels between 1.60V and 1.65V, at stock latencies.
Users who want lower latencies need not look for so-called “performance memory,” as these modules produce many of the same results for less money. We’ve used over a dozen of these kits at DDR3-1600 CAS 8, which consistently reached their rated DDR3-1333 data rate using tighter CAS 7 timings. Also available in single- and dual-channel kits, part number CT3KIT25664BA1339 represents Crucial’s award-winning triple-channel package.
Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB
As recently as last February, Samsung’s HD103SJ hard drive received our recommendation based on its performance alone. The fact that this is also one of the least-expensive 1TB drives makes it a top value for today’s build.
Official specifications include a SATA 3 Gb/s interface, 7,200 RPM spindle speed, and 32MB cache. Our review provides full-performance details.
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHES208 BD-ROM DVD±RW Combo Drive
Last winter, we were looking for the best way to write DVD from an “inexpensive” Blu-ray disk reader and found award-winning value in Lite-On’s iHES208. This month’s hopes of using two higher-speed drives for these tasks were dashed by the lack of low-cost Blu-ray readers, and we once again returned to Lite-On’s combination part for value.
The award should speak for itself (after all, we don't give out many of them), but those who don’t read meaning into awards might instead prefer to take a look at the iHES208's full review.