Storage Device, Case, Price Drop, Technology

Best Storage Device of 2012

Winner: Western Digital RED Series Hard Drives

Runners up: Samsung 830 SSD, OCZ Vector SSD

Talk about a surprise winner!  Despite the entire staff's love of SSD technology, the winner of our Best Storage Device for 2012 was a spindle hard drive – and not even a 4TB model!  With a lot of debate (see the podcast) we decided that the WD Red hard drives were a great balance of performance and stability, something that was really missing from the hard drives of today. 

You might also find it interesting that was included the Samsung 830 rather than the newer Samsung 840 SSD.  I was too, but the rest of the team had a convincing argument for a drive that came out LAST year: it was the most important SSD of THIS year.  Not only did the Samsung 830 come around at a time when SSD reliability was being questioned but it also offered a more rare today than ever vertical integration of a storage device – Samsung all the way

Finally, for the OCZ Vector SSD we were excited to see OCZ also enter this full integration option (or nearly) and with the financial issues the company is fighting it could be the most important launch for OCZ in the next 12 months.  It's also a great SSD with the best performance we have seen to date.


Best Case of 2012

Winner: Cooler Master Cosmos II

Runner Up: Corsair 550D (and a lot of Corsair cases)

In another heated debate, picking the best case of the year is much like picking the best sandwich of the year – it's a very personal choice.  Luckily I run this joint…

Seriously though, with a release WAAAYY back in January of 2012, the Cosmos II almost was forgotten but a quick look through our hardware closet brought it into contention.  While a $350 case certainly isn't for everyone, in terms of design, build quality and sheer usable size, there is currently nothing else we like as much as the Cooler Master Cosmos II.

Corsair had several up for contention including the 550D, 400R, 300R and even the 200R.  While all of them were great cases for their markets, and I actually debated just giving the whole category to Corsair for its push into the market, no one case stood out.


Best Price Drop of 2012

Winner: Solid State Drives

Runner up: System Memory

SSDs for as little as $0.50/GB.  32GB of DDR3-1600 memory for $130.  Radeon HD 7970s for $379.  2560×1440 monitors for $330.  1080p IPS displays for $199.  How is an enthusiast to choose??  Other than suggesting that you buy all of them (which we kind of do…) you could listen to our podcast and hear the debate where we finally decide that the significant price drops in 2012 on solid state drives was the important.

Being able to pick up a 256GB SSD for $140 (sometimes after a filthy mail-in rebate though) is an enthusiast changing event.  Our runner up was system memory; not only because of your ability to get HUGE amounts of it for a pittance, but because you can get 8GB of DDR3 for under $35 very easily, moving the standard for PC users forward quite a bit. 


Best Rising Technology of 2012

Winner: 27-in 2560×1440 Korean Monitors

Runners up: Mini-ITX Motherboards / Platforms

In a category that include Thunderbolt and cherry keyboards, the low cost 27-in 2560×1440 displays reign supreme.  Currently selling for $315 on eBay (still the best place to find them) you can get a 27 inch panel with a super high resolution shipped directly from Korea.  Yes, you are likely on your own in terms of warranty and support but if you want to truly revolutionize your gaming and general PC usage: an upgrade from a 22-in monitor is in order!

And while I argued for it quite heavily, the world of mini-ITX platforms and the rise in popularity of mini-ITX motherboards follows as runner up.  The ability to build a no-compromise PC with full gaming and overclocking capability in a small form factor is really changing how people think about computers and form factors. 



Wrap Up

Well, that's it, our PC Perspective Best Hardware of 2012 Awards!  Please, we encourage everyone to leave us their thoughts in the comments below – did we make the right choices or blow it completely in your mind? 

Here's to a 2013 with just as many impressive hardware releases.

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