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The $750 Computing Challenge: Germany Versus USA

Team Germany: Hard Drive, Optical Drive

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Blue, WD3200AAKS

While the hard drive industry has just begun to release 2 TB drives—Western Digital now, Seagate later this year—the majority of users don’t need these high capacities. A full installation of Windows Vista requires approximately 10 GB; depending on your application requirements, you may need additional 10-50 GB on average. Full game installations require a lot of capacity, but apart from that, you can only really start filling your hard drive by creating large audio and video databases. If you don’t do that, a 320 GB drive such as the WD Caviar Blue selected by the German team, will certainly be sufficient. The WD3200AAKS is based on a single platter, spins at 7,200 RPM, has 16 MB of cache and a SATA/300 interface with NCQ. The drive is still fast enough, and it is available starting at only $50.

Optical Drive: Samsung SH-S223F DVD Burner

DVD drives and burners are usually very mature products, making it safe to go for low-cost models. The German lab selected a Samsung DVD burner, model SH-S223F, which writes DVD+R and DVD-R discs at up to 22X, double layer media at 16X/12X and re-writeable media at 8X/12X. Most other drives come at similar specifications and cost has reached impressively low levels of under $30.

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