The First Format: Hard Drives & Optical Storage
You've got files, and so do your friends. So many files, so little room--isn't that the saying? Here are a few options to remedy your storage quandaries (er, those of your friends), SSDs listed first and conventional HDDs second.Intel 160GB X25-M Gen 2 - $500
It has experienced its fair share of issues, but Intel has been good about patching things up thus far. As it stands, the firmware-updated X25-M Gen 2 is one of the quickest mainstream SSDs on the market today, offering plenty of space (in terms of SSD space, anyway) if you'd like to make this your boot + apps drive.
OCZ Vertex 120GB - $499
It's not as quick or cute as OCZ's Vertex Turbo, but it's more affordable. The OCZ Vertex series SSD is an MLC-based device with a low power draw, speeds up to a 250MB/s read and 180MB/s write, and sizes of 30GB through 250GB. OCZ's Vertex series drives are a popular alternative to Intel's SSDs.
WD Caviar Blue WD6400AAKS 640GB - $70
640GB is big enough that your pal won't think you skimped on him or her, but it's small enough to afford when times are tough. The Caviar Blue series has a solid reputation, with this particular drive boasting a 7200rpm spindle speed and 16MB of cache.
WD Caviar Black 2TB - $329
It's the biggest 3.5" SATA hard drive out right now, and it boasts a 7200rpm spindle speed and a price tag that's not insane. Need we say more?
Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB - $354
This beast is about the quickest 2TB drive you can get, so if money's no option, we really have no reason to explain further why this should be atop your gift list.
Pioneer BDR-205 - $250
We won't bother with recommendations on plain old DVD burners; at this point, those are a dime a dozen. If you're looking to really impress, Blu-ray is the only way to go. Pioneer's newly-shipping BDR-205 can burn BD-Rs at an impressive 12x rate, making it perfect for the multifaceted HTPC. It'll also play back Blu-ray movies, burn DVDs and CDs as well as handle dual-layer BD-RE discs, and it also ships with a CyberLink software package that provides everything you need for burning.
OWC BDR-203X - $250
Need a burner on the move? OWC's got you covered with its BDR-203X, which boasts an 8x Blu-ray writer that can connect to Macs and PCs via four different methods: FireWire 800, FireWire 400, USB 2.0 and eSATA. It'll also burn blank DVDs at up to 16x and blank CDs at up to 32x, making it the perfect all-in-one toasting solution for editors that can't stay put.