Hardware 2.0: Best graphics cards, hard drives, and solid state drives list (2012 edition)

Hardware 2.0: Best graphics cards, hard drives, and solid state drives list (2012 edition)

Summary: Here is the second installment of the final "Hardware 2.0" Best Kit Lists for 2012, looking at GPUs, hard drives, and solid state drives in the extreme, mainstream, and budget price categories.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Hardware
2

 |  Image 5 of 11

  • Thumbnail 1
  • Thumbnail 2
  • Thumbnail 3
  • Thumbnail 4
  • Thumbnail 5
  • Thumbnail 6
  • Thumbnail 7
  • Thumbnail 8
  • Thumbnail 9
  • Thumbnail 10
  • Thumbnail 11
  • Mainstream GPU: AMD Radeon HD 7850 2GB

    While buying the most powerful graphics card gives you bragging rights -- for a while -- you can get excellent performance from a more mainstream cards, and at a more mainstream price.

    The AMD Radeon HD 7850 2GB gives you a powerful card that can handle modern games without breaking a sweat at a price that's far easier to swallow than going for an extreme card.

    Make sure that you pick a Radeon HD 7850 that has 2GB RAM, and not the models with only 1GB. The extra video memory will allow you to crank the texture quality up higher, and help keep the in-game framerate more stable.

    Price: From $185.

    Image source: Gigabyte.

  • Budget GPU: AMD Radeon HD 6670 DDR3

    A budget price gets you previous-generation technology, but the AMD Radeon HD 6670 is a very capable card which has the power to handle any modern game you throw at it -- just keep your expectations realistic and don't plan on cranking the settings all to max.

    Remember to look for the DDR3 models of these cards, as you'll end up paying the extra for the faster GDDR5 RAM.

    Price: From $59.

    Image source: SapphireTech.

  • Extreme HDD: Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1000DHTZ 1TB

    Built around a 10,000-RPM spin speed platters, these SATA 6 Gb/s drives include a 64 MB cache, the Western Digital VelociRaptor drives are the best that money can buy.

    While the performance doesn't come close to that of a solid state drive, the VelociRaptor is a blazing fast hard drive, and is packed with features such as pre-emptive wear leveling and no-touch ramp load head technology that help deliver the highest possible reliability rating of any SATA drive.

    Price: $299.

    Image source: Western Digital.

Topic: Hardware

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

Talkback

2 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Just Need More DVI Connectors

    I do not care about gaming speeds. I care only about the number of monitors I can connect to it and still have reasonable response. Ideally 4. What about these types of cards?
    MichaelInMA
    • From the images above

      it looks like 3 on the nVidia card, 2 (plus an HDMI) on the top-line AMD, 1 (plus an HDMI) on the mainstream card, & 1 (plus an HDMI & a VGA output) on the budget card.
      spdragoo