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System Builder Marathon, June 2011: $2000 Performance PC

Secondary Storage And Power

Mass Storage Drive: Samsung F3 HD103SJ 1 TB

SSDs are fast and BD-Rs are great for archiving. But like most users, we also needed a handy place to put large files that we’re still using. Samsung’s 1 TB F3 drive first grabbed our attention a couple years ago for its good performance, and a slowly dropping price continues to make it our choice at $55.

Read Customer Reviews of Samsung's F3 1 TB

Anyone looking for more storage will find a lower cost-per-gigabyte on a higher-capacity unit, but we didn’t really need more. If we wanted to spend more money on mass storage, we’d have gone with the added data safety of RAID 1 rather than buying a larger drive.

Power: Seasonic SS-850HT

One of the most respected names in the power supply industry, Seasonic delivers its SS-850HT at an exceptional price by cutting back on features rather than quality. Lacking modular cables or a pretty finish, the only thing that prevents this high-capacity unit from destroying the “look” of our system is the fact that our system doesn’t have a window.

Read Customer Reviews of Seasonic's SS-850HT

Two 40 A 12 V rails
give this unit 840 W of 12 V capacity, which is far more than we actually need. Meanwhile, an 80 PLUS Silver rating gets us that excess headroom without destroying efficiency.

Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.