Best Bang For Buck

Calculate Cost per GB for Hard Disc Drives
Calculate Cost per GB for Hard Disc Drives

It is not uncommon for me to provide advice to my friends on their Gadget Purchase Issues. The most frequent question being – Should I purchase Product A or Product B? Determining the superiority of a product is not only based on comparison of features, price & requirements; but also factors such as aesthetics, brand trust etc.

Some of my friends (not all of them well-heeled) prefer products that are stylish even if it means they are expensive and have less features than the nearest competing product; while others (who are quite well-heeled) solely request price  as the decisive factor.

Making this decision for lifestyle related products can be daunting, but deciding on IT related products is generally a breeze courtesy clear cut documentation & competitive pricing.

When purchasing new hard disk drives, most common questions are:

  • Desktop (3.5″) or Laptop (2.5″) profile?
  • IDE (PATA) or SATA or USB or Firewire connectivity?
  • Manufacturer: Seagate or Maxtor or Western Digital or Hitachi?
  • Capacity: For data backup? For massive Internet downloads storage?
  • Budgetary limitations?

While the first few questions are easy to answer, the thorniest question remains the price that should be paid. Some veer towards a drive that is clearly commanding a premium but features the latest and the greatest, while others veer towards the one which is the cheapest of the lot. This can sometimes result in the purchase of a drive that does not deliver the “best value”.

What I suggest to them is to consider the “Price per Gigabyte” factor and make the purchase.

The Price per Gigabyte factor can very easily reveal if you are paying premium prices, or if you are actually paying higher price/GB although the drive is the cheapest? The second situation is very likely if the drive you are purchasing is at-least 3 year old model and the manufacturer is incurring higher cost to produce this old piece of technology.

My studies have revealed that in today’s market, the 40GB drives deliver the worst price/GB, the 1.5 TB drives command the maximum premium (bad Price/GB) and the 1 TB drives actually have the lowest Price/GB although the 500GB drives seem way cheaper.

Google Spreadsheet Calculating Price per Gigabyte
Google Spreadsheet Calculating Price per Gigabyte

Click on the thumbnail image above to visit the Online Google Spreadsheet document that I have created and update from time to time. The document clearly mentions the various Hard Disc Drives available in South India, applicable prices, date of quotation and best Bang for Buck!

The document also feature a equivalent USD price for those who wish to import the HDD from a foreign country and want to decide if the premium they are paying in India justifies the pain in importing the unit. In some case, Indian prices are lower than that of other countries.

It is very easy to re-purpose this spreadsheet to calculate best bang-for-buck for items such as CPUs (MHz vs. Cost), Toner Cartridges (pages vs. cost), Groceries & Home-needs etc.

You can download and customize the Microsoft Excel 2003 spreadsheet to suit your own requirements. If you have thought of an interesting application of this concept, do share it other readers of this blog by leaving feedback in the comments.

Download Excel Spreadsheet

2 responses to “Best Bang For Buck”

  1. Hi Rajib
    I read your article and found it very useful
    I am planing to buy a new desktop pc
    and I am planing to assemble it
    my budget is 15k- 20k without monitor and ups and sound systems can you please give me suggestions about the best configuration possible performance wise.
    Thanking you in advance
    Dinic J

    • Hi Dinic J,

      Buy a system today is easier than ever. In many ways choices are more, yet simpler.
      Since you have mentioned that you intend to assemble it and plan to spend 15-20K on just the CPU unit, I am assuming that you want a decently endowed system capable of some good multimedia. Lets go about buying the components:

      CPU: I personally prefer Intel CPUs, but you can also purchase AMD CPUs (they cost less, burn run hotter). The lowest Intel/AMD CPU today is more than sufficient to handle most people’s day to day IT tasks. Plan to spend around 5K for the CPU. You should be able to buy a Core2Duo CPU for this price. If not, go for a Dual-Core CPU (older than Core2Duo) and it should save you 1.5K. Do not buy the latest CPU, buy something in mid-range as it will deliver the best value for money.

      Motherboard: If choosing an Intel CPU, buy a basic Intel motherboard like DG31PR (Rs. 2.7K). Plan to spend a max of 3.5K on the motherboard. Most motherboards today come with audio-video-lan built-in and feature PCIx slots so that you can plug in a Graphics Accelerator later on.

      RAM: I have a feeling that you will want to run Microsoft Windows 7 OS on it. If so, plan to buy 4GB RAM. Typical RAM configurations are: for XP buy 1-2GB RAM, for Vista buy 2-3GB RAM, for 7 buy 3-4GB RAM. 4 GB RAM should cost around 4.5K.

      HDD: Buy a Seagate 500GB SATA drive to start with. You can buy external drives of 1-1.5TB capacity to store your growing collection of movies & music later. A 500GB drive should cost around 2.5K

      Addl. Cards: Buy a D-Link PCI Network card if you intend to connect your computer directly to a DSL line or Cable Internet line. Many users report burnt motherboards when high voltage spikes are inadvertently received by the CPU over the communication lines. The addl. PCI cards generally are better capable of absorbing such spikes. Plus if the card gets spoiled, you only need to replace it vs. replacing a motherboard because the onboard Ethernet chip burned out.

      SMPS & Cabinet: If you plan to install a high-end graphics accelerator, then you will need to buy a high quality SMPS (Corsair, Zalman, CoolerMaster) of at-least 600W. Otherwise, just buy a Zebronics 400W SMPS for now. When selecting the cabinet, don’t go by the external plastic faring, lights or chrome. Instead look inside: How many HDD install bays are there? Are they nicely spaced? How many DVD drives can you install? How about the quality of the metal used? Is it so thin that it will bend and tear? Are there front USB ports? Cooling fans to circulate air near the HDD area?

      Keyboard, Mouse: Buy a basic PS/2 Keyboard and PS/2 Optical Mouse for the computer. Not only it will free up the USB ports, but also help you install OS such as Linux & XP (which don’t recognize USB devices till the OS has been installed).


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