By Nate Ralph, PC World (US) | Mar 6, 2012
Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB ($130)
Flooding in Thailand has made storage devices uncharacteristically expensive. Even so, files still need to be stored, and the 1TB Western Digital Caviar Blue hard drive is spacious and (relatively) speedy.
At 1TB, the Western Digital Caviar Blue hits my bare minimum for total storage capacity. You’ll have room for gobs of music, photos, and movies, as well as space for any applications you install along the way. It’s a 7200-rpm drive, and it uses the 6-gbps SATA interface--it’s nowhere near as fast as an SSD, but it’s a lot cheaper per gigabyte. If you need more space, 2TB and 3TB 7200-rpm drives are on the market.
Solid-State Drive: Budget
Crucial M4 64GB ($150)
Solid-state drives have come a long way lately. Though they're still not as inexpensive as I’d like, an SSD will make a world of difference in your daily computing. A drive as small as the Crucial M4 64GB should be reserved for Windows and your most important applications; a 1TB storage drive (see above) will be the main repository for your data, but this modest SSD will add a bit of pep to your workflow.
This year will see more options in inexpensive SSDs. Companies such as Corsair have announced small, affordable solid-state cache drives that will analyze your computer usage and store frequently used programs and files so your PC can access them more quickly. We’ve seen iterations of this idea most recently with Intel’s Smart Response technology, which lets you dedicate an SSD (or a portion of it) as a memory cache. And we can’t forget Windows Vista’s ReadyBoost technology, which never really took off. The idea is sound, however--and if SSD prices drop, it could be a great addition to an inexpensive PC.