Allyn and Josh


I recently helped out a friend with an oddball computer issue, which as these things do, quickly evolved into a 'lets back this thing up and reinstall'. This system was six years old, and the specs weren't the best, but throughout the process of refreshing the system, I was constantly reminded of the primary bottleneck by the thrashing sound of the hard drive seeking away. Even with an older and slower CPU and RAM, the drive spent a majority of its time pegged at 100% utilization. With that, here is my top pick for that member of your HDD-wielding family with an older system – in the form of two recommendations in the most common 500GB class of SSDs:

Crucial MX300 525GB

The 525GB MX300 is a good performer, especially in budget use cases. It is currently $128 on Amazon ($0.24 / GB).

Samsung 850 EVO 500GB

For those wanting a more performance consistency and a more proven product overall, the 850 EVO is another good route to go. Despite being one of my top choices for power users, its low price makes it equally justifiable for those on a budget (especially if purchased during the occasional sale). It is currently available for $170 ($0.34 / GB) on Amazon.

As a quick note for those looking for a middle ground between the two above choices, Samsung's 750 EVO 500GB is a good choice and currently runs at $150.

As pointed out in our exclusive Latency Percentile result sample above, SSDs reply to requests ~1000x faster than HDDs. Moral of this Christmas story: Friends don't let friends boot from HDDs.


Some years picking these selections is easier than others.  This year is a bit harder than previous.  I'm not entirely sure why, but it could be that I am just becoming jaded to the wonders of technology around me.  Perhaps if there were massive advancements in things that will remove people from my lawn I would be a little bit more excited?  This year has seen advancements in one area of technology that can get people excited.  After four long years of 28nm based GPUs, we finally have the next generation of products out.


MSI GTX 1070 Gaming X

This overclocked 1070 has been a staple in my machine since I bought it early last summer.  My wife didn't appreciate some of the budgeting measures that I had to implement to afford it at the time, but it has been worth it.  The build quality is great, the cooling ability is well above average, and the gaming improvement from the last generation to this is outstanding.

$429 w/ Prime!


XFX Radeon RX 480

This past year I had some serious hand's on time with the R9 380X from XFX and I came away impressed by the overall design and features that XFX has offered.  They have applied many of these things to the latest RX 480 GPU from AMD.  This number includes the nice removable fans for cleaning and replacement if needed.  It is overclocked and it seems to hold its own in that particular price point.  It is great to see both AMD and NVIDIA with new offerings for this year.

$249 shipped!


Logitech RGB G810

So my kid wanted one of these for Christmas.  At first I was a little afraid, but then the darn thing turned out to be on sale!  The RGB keys can be individually lit and colored, it features the Romer-G mechanical keys, and does not exactly break the bank when compared to other keyboards in this class.  Hopefully he doesn't read this because this is one of his gifts… SURPRISE!

One sale for $110!


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