System Builder Marathon, Q4 2012: $2,000 Performance PC

Case, Cooling, And Power

With much of our budget blown on performance-oriented parts, we're left to split $280 among the system’s case, cooling, and power supply. Overclocking headroom was a big concern, so we started with our favorite $50 cooler and a high-value, high-quality power supply. That left only $85 for the case.

Case: Cooler Master Storm Enforcer

An $85 case budget didn’t mean we had to be cheap, though. Nor did it force us to choose between build quality and cooling. Indeed, we already found a case priced at exactly $85 that surpasses the minimum level of quality and cooling required to make this system a true high-end build.

Read Customer Reviews of Cooler Master's Storm Enforcer

Although we would have preferred an unassuming black box for our highest-priced build, we simply couldn’t argue against the value of Cooler Master’s gaming-themed Storm Enforcer.

Cooling Surprise: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo

We selected a top-performing $50 CPU cooler for a build sheet that totaled $2,000, only to watch Newegg deactivate its listing before we could buy it. That's probably for the best if you wouldn't have been able to follow our lead a month later, anyway.

Nevertheless, we contacted the manufacturer to find out when Newegg might be getting more supply, only to discover that Scythe USA would no longer be selling CPU coolers. International customers like Newegg might be able to get theirs from Scythe Taiwan, but not in time to make our deadline.

Read Customer Reviews of Cooler Master's Hyper 212 Evo

Receiving a modest evaluation in Big Air: 14 LGA 2011-Compatible Coolers For Core i7-3000, Reviewed, Cooler Master’s Hyper 212 Evo was the next-best sub-$50 cooler Newegg had available. Using it trimmed $15 from our tally.

Power Supply: Corsair HX750

The reason many enthusiasts recommend oversized power supplies is that many cheaper units can't deliver their full rated output stably or efficiently. But why would anyone want a mediocre power supply? Corsair’s HX750 continuously shows itself capable of reliably supplying its rated capacity, even after several generations of improvements.

Read Customer Reviews of Corsair's HX750 Power Supply

Those improvements have primarily focused on efficiency, and the unit now comes with an 80 PLUS Gold rating that compelled us to choose it over similarly-capable, less-efficient competitors.

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  • Steveymoo
    I was getting ready to whine about power consumption with those AMD cards, but it looks like they're not so bad! I'd be interested to know how loud/whiny this system gets, and how it would perform with 2 gtx 680s instead.

    Also, I find it weird that those crossfire GPUs fall flat on their face at 2560 resolution in some games. Is there some kind of crossfire/gpu memory issue going on there?