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Tom's SBM: The $1,500 Mainstream PC

Hard Drive and Case

Hard Drive : 2x Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 500GB ST3500630AS in RAID 0

As we did in our prior System Builder Marathon, we chose two 500 GB hard disks in a striped RAID 0 configuration. This will give us both faster hard drive transfer performance and allow us to use the full capacity of both of our 500 GB disks, resulting in 1 TB of total storage.

Read Customer Reviews of Seagate’s Barracuda 7200.10 500GB ST3500630AS

Of course, if safety is your preference, you also have the option of using RAID 1 mode instead. This mirroring method provides the safety of data redundancy in case of a hard disk failure, at the expense of less hard drive space.

PC Case : Cooler Master Cosmos 1000

Read Customer Reviews of Cooler Master’s Cosmos 1000

Cooler Master’s Cosmos 1000 is a close sibling to the Cosmos-S we reviewed in our last PC case round-up. In our opinion, the 1000 is improved over the S due to the superior hard disk storage bays that don’t require fiddling around with a fan assembly. Aesthetically, the silver Cosmos 1000 is beautiful and striking, although we do prefer the serious looking black and dark grey Cosmos-S in this respect.

Finally, the Cosmos 1000 is the cheaper of the two, and at $180 on sale, it’s hard to ignore the value and style it brings to the mid-range PC.