Quarter 1, 2012 Suggestions, Alternates, & Other Considerations
Solid State Drives
Suggestion: Samsung 830 128 GB MZ-7PC128B/WW
Considered to be one of the fastest, if not the fastest (in terms of real world performance), amongst the consumer orientated SSD’s the 830 series SSD by Samsung offers low power consumption and reportedly offers a higher degree of stability compared to SSDs based around the latest Sandforce controllers. Coming in at 128 GB compared to other 120 GB drives is just icing on the cake! The 64 GB version of the 830 is also one of the only small drives that doesn’t get completely out paced by the larger variants! As such, there’s no real negatives here except for a slightly higher price point (around $180-140 currently). This is easily the SSD I would get for my own system.
Note: The specific model number I’ve chosen here is exactly the same in terms of performance of all the other Samsung 830 128 GB SSDs. It just doesn’t come with any mounting brackets or software though ti is however the cheapest option! I recommend getting this “version” and checking out Monoprice or Amazon for a 3.5″ to 2.5″ adapter if your case needs one (and doesn’t come with it!).
Alternate: Samsung 830 128 GB x 2 or Samsung 830 256 GB x 1
Samsung’s 830 series sits so well with me that I have no real alternate to offer you at this point. My only alternative is for those of you that just simply wont be able to manage with 128 GB. You can either opt to purchase two of the 128 GB 830′s and put them in a RAID 0 array, or to buy a single 256 GB 830.
Either choice is a good option. The RAID 0 option should elicit more performance (SSDs in RAID 0 have been shown to scale almost linearly with two drives performing at 200% and three at 300% and so on), but it will be more expensive and take up a second SATA III port. The 256 GB 830 will be a bit less than two of the 128 GB drives (about $350 currently), will perform slower (but faster than a single 128 GB drive), and will also only take up a single SATA III port leaving more room in the future in case you ever get an itch to RAID two of them together.
Hard Disk Drives
Keeping in mind my notes above about the increase in scarcity of HDDs at present here is my suggested drive for archival purposes. Western Digital is my preferred HDD manufacturer. Hitachi has been shown by some to have a lower failure rate than Western Digital, though Western Digital is in the final stages of acquiring Hitachi so how much longer that will be relevant I’m not sure.
Suggestion: Western Digital Caviar Green 3 TB WD30EZRX
Nothing super fancy about this drive. It will scale its rotational speed based on demand thus cutting back when demand is less and saving power. You wouldn’t want to use this as your OS drive, but for archival purposes, and even HD multi-media streaming this drive is plenty fast. This drive will set you back around $200 currently, but a few months back these drives were below $130 already. If this is too much for you to invest in an archival drive, consider getting the 2 TB variant that runs around $130 now. Keep in mind that if you have an interest in RAID 5/6 arrays, that if you get the 2 TB drives and start an array, you’ll be pretty much stuck using 2 TB drives. It may be best to pay for the 3 TB so you can more efficiently grow the array as prices come back down (hopefully soon!).
And, if prices eventually come back down, and supplies return to pre-flood norms see my Alternate below!
Alternate: Western Digital AV-GP 3 TB WD30EURS
This drive is the slightly newer, and slightly larger version of the drives that populate my own RAID array. Good luck getting them now (they went from $150 to $260 in less than a month) but once supplies (hopefully!) return to normal these should definitely be considered for a multi-media RAID array!
Other Consideration: Western Digital Caviar Black 1 TB WD1002FAEX
If you don’t need a big archival drive, but still have some media you’d like to store and, additionally, if you don’t want to have the awesomeness that is an SSD on your system then a WD Caviar Black may be worth considering. It’s a fast HDD (still epicly slow compared to essentialy any SSD) and at 1 TB it’s probably plenty of space for anyone without a substantial media collection so it can allow you to cover all your bases with a single device (more or less).
We’re quickly rounding out our system here! On the next page we’ll get into the power supply unit (PSU), and then we’ll be on to the case and then cooling hardware and we’ll be done with the system itself! Lots of information here (and still lots to come), but we’re nearly through the core of it!