Page 1:Giving It Up For More Gaming Performance
Page 2:CPU, Motherboard, And Cooler
Page 3:Video Cards, Power Supply, And Case
Page 4:Memory, Hard Drive, And Optical Drive
Page 5:Building And Tweaking Around A Radeon HD 7970
Page 6:Test System And Benchmarks
Page 7:Benchmark Results: Synthetics
Page 8:Benchmark Results: Media Encoding
Page 9:Benchmark Results: Productivity
Page 10:Benchmark Results: Battlefield 3 And Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Page 11:Benchmark Results: DiRT 3 And StarCraft II
Page 12:Power And Temperature Benchmarks
Page 13:A Surprisingly Robust Gaming System
Memory, Hard Drive, And Optical Drive
Memory: Mushkin Enhanced Redline 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600 Memory Kit
Frankly, I’d be happy with 4 GB of lower-latency memory. But your feedback tells us that you want to see 8 GB in these builds. At $60, this Mushkin Enhanced dual-channel kit boasts 7-9-8-24 timings at a 1600 MT/s data rate.
SSD: Crucial m4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64 GB
I’m not a fan of restrictive 32 GB boot drives, but Crucial’s M4 64 GB SSD delivers two times that capacity, along with great value and performance.
As with any SSD, remember to check for firmware updates, as it seems many manufacturers (including Crucial) end up fixing stability issues once the drives are on store shelves. We updated our m4 to version 0309 before running any tests.
Hard Drive: Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.D 750 GB
Hard disk prices are still much higher than they were last year, and because we’re on a strict budget, we have to make every dollar count.
Now that this system boots from an SSD, we only need a conventional hard disk for general storage. Hitachi’s $100 Deskstar 7K1000.D offers 750 GB of capacity, it spins at 7200 RPM, and includes a 32 MB cache.
Optical Drive: Samsung TS-H353C OEM
We also chose the cheapest optical drive we could find. This particular example is a real-only device, and not a burner. So, if you need to write your discs, you'll want something else.
Samsung's TS-H353C has been out of stock for a while, so simply look for the least-expensive drive to take its place in your own build.
- Giving It Up For More Gaming Performance
- CPU, Motherboard, And Cooler
- Video Cards, Power Supply, And Case
- Memory, Hard Drive, And Optical Drive
- Building And Tweaking Around A Radeon HD 7970
- Test System And Benchmarks
- Benchmark Results: Synthetics
- Benchmark Results: Media Encoding
- Benchmark Results: Productivity
- Benchmark Results: Battlefield 3 And Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- Benchmark Results: DiRT 3 And StarCraft II
- Power And Temperature Benchmarks
- A Surprisingly Robust Gaming System