March 04, 2012, 7:38 AM —
Your data and programs need a home, and 1TB hard drives are now commonplace. But bigger isn't necessarily better: Solid-state drives have decidedly smaller capacities, yet offer a noticeable bump in performance. As for other storage media, if you want to install disc-based programs or watch Blu-rays and DVDs on your PC, grab an optical drive. They're inexpensive, and prices for blank discs have dropped too.
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