Hot Hardware Holiday Buyer's Guide 2006
Budget System Continued
Budget System Continued...
Hard Drive - 250GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10
Thanks to Seagate's perpendicular recording technology and a solid 16MB cache, the new Barracuda 7200.10 series of hard drives offer excellent performance with solid capacities. Surprisingly, consumers can now find large capacity external drives for well under $100. Given the impression the Barracuda 7200.10 drives have left after testing in our labs and the low prices they can be found for online, it is hard to select any other option to power our budget system.
Sound Card - Creative Labs X-Fi XtremeMusic
The X-Fi XtremeMusic has captured a significant amount of attention since its release for offering the vast majority of the performance and functionality of the X-Fi family of sound cards while retaining a reasonable price point. Offering support for Creative's 24-bit Crystalizer, CMSS-3D surround, and 3DMIDI technology the XtremeMusic offers everything all other models provide (with the exception of the X-Fi Elite Pro's custom DAC,X-Ram, and breakout box). Given the lack of industry support for X-Ram and the excellent audio performance the chipset still provides, the XtremeMusic is an excellent choice for a sound card for the system.
Power Supply - Corsair CMPSU-620HX
Although a relative newcomer to the power supply market, Corsair's stellar reputation in the memory module industry set lofty goals for the initial PSU entry. As we witnessed in our testing of the unit, the new power supplies only strengthen Corsair's acclaim. With 620W, a modular cable design, incredible 5-yr warranty, and one of the most stable voltages we've witnessed in our labs the Corsair CMPSU-620HX is an obvious choice for the ideal power supply to fuel our budget system.