Random Access   chris, kp & rob
In The Lab
Build Your Own PC Chapter 2: Storage and Video
by chris & rob
Chris: Where were we on building that dream system? Oh yeah: "Oooh, and its even got onboard RAID support for extra data security!"

Most of the on-board RAID controllers support mirrored drives as well as striping. We want mirrored drives for the redundant backup feature. With the price of hard drives still dropping, this makes a good investment when working with those huge digital video files. Let's see, we're going to want a pair of matched IDE, or better yet, a pair of the newer high-speed Serial ATA (SATA) drives, probably in the 160 to 200GB range at least. (See this month's tech term for more about Serial ATA)

Rob: Well the bigger, the better, and SATA is the ideal choice for speed-intensive applications like video editing, and gaming. Let's get two Maxtor 200GB SATA drives.

Chris: Those will do fine. We will also want to add some sort of DVD-recordable drive for backing up the critical files and the Operating System once we have the basic installation complete and software installed. I'd recommend the BUSlink 4x Dual Format DVD+-RW Drive so we don't have to worry about what format we need to burn. (Last month's issue explains the differences in DVD formats)

Rob: That should do it for data storage, but what about a wiz-bang video card for gaming and video editing?

Chris: For a strong gaming system, you will want a high-performance video card with 64 to 128MB of onboard RAM and good 3D rendering capability... did you have a particular card in mind?

Rob: Most 3D games will run great with a Radeon 9800 XT AGP video card and 256MB of SDRAM is more than enough video memory.

Chris: To do DVD and video editing, we are going to need some sort of capture card and/or a 1394 data port. There are a couple of video cards with digital input, but that usually means a trade-off with the computer video features.

Rob: We shouldn't compromise the 3D video card for video capture features so let's go with a Firewire card like the SIIG FireWire 300 card. It's got (1) Firewire 400 and (2) Firewire 800 ports to connect devices like portable hard disks, DV camcorders, and digital cameras.

... to be continued next month.

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