Memory, Hard Drive, And Optical Drive
Memory: Patriot 4GB (2 x 2GB) Dual-Channel Memory Kit PVS34G1333LLKN
Phenom processors like low memory latencies, and this kit is a good deal at $85 when you consider that it sports relatively low 7-7-7-20 latencies at 1,333 MHz.
It had just gone out of stock when we ordered it, but we were able to buy Patriot's PVS34G1333LLKN anyway as part of a kit, although it was priced a little higher (probably due to the included 2GB USB key with the full version of FutureMark's 3DMark software).
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB 32MB Cache
A single drive is more cost-effective than a RAID setup, and a striped RAID array won’t offer a perceptible performance increase for the typical user. Of course, a redundant array is appealing for data protection, but it wouldn’t easily fit within our $1,250 price ceiling.
We went with the Western Digital 640GB with 32MB of cache. Now at $75, this drive is a good choice with decent speed and a good amount of space, allowing us to stay within budget.
Optical Drive: Sony Optiarc AD-7240S-0B
We've used Sony's Optiarc drives to good effect before, and the OEM model was so reasonably priced we couldn't resist. We didn't have room in the budget for anything fancy like a Blu-ray drive, so we settled for this 24x DVD/CD rewritable combo unit.