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Picking a good solid-state drive means juggling storage capacity and performance against price. Given the staggering array of drives out there, finding the best one can be tricky.
Currently for solid-state drives the sweet spot for capacity is around 256GB, and from my experience the best drive in with this capacity is the Crucial M4 CT256M4SSD2. Here you get a 256GB drive that offers read speeds up to 500MB/s, and write speeds of around 260MB/s. There are faster and bigger drives out there, but for $170 the Crucial M4 is very hard to beat.
While solid-state drives are great if you want performance, their capacity sucks. If you want terabytes of storage then you're either going to need to take out a hefty business loan or make use of old hard drive technology.
There are a lot of high-capacity drives out there, but currently my favorite is the 3TB Western Digital WD Green WD30EZRX. I own a number of these and find them fast and reliable. WD Green drives run cool and quiet, and help to cut your power consumption.
At $140 each, what more could you ask for?
8GB is the new 4GB, so don't skimp on RAM. 8GB of RAM—in the form of two 4GB modules—should set you back no more than $50.
The RAM I go for when I want reliability is Corsair, and Vengeance branded modules with their custom low-profile heat spreaders, are an ideal choice.