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Here are links to each of the four articles in this month’s System Builder Marathon (we’ll update them as each story is published). And remember, these systems are all being given away at the end of the marathon. After some delay (sorry folks), the contest is ready to be entered. Please visit the entry page, here.
I'm fully prepared for the legions of people who will call me crazy for the path I have chosen in this month's $1,250 System Builder Marathon (SBM) build, which addresses the legions of readers who wanted to see a series based on AMD-based platforms. A part of me would have liked to play it safe, but sometimes a hardware reviewer has to do what a hardware reviewer has to do. So, with my colleague Thomas Soderstrom wielding double my budget, I went outside the box a little bit to see if I could work a little magic from my build to keep this little competition interesting.
The heart of this beat remains fairly basic for a $1,250 AMD-based box: there's a nice Phenom II X4 945 CPU, 4GB of low-latency DDR3 memory, a premium 790FX-based motherboard, a solid power supply, and a good case. It's the choice of graphics cards--well, more specifically, the quantity of graphics cards where I left the tried-and-true formula behind:
|$1,250 Enthusiast AMD PC Parts Prices|
AMD Phenom II X4 945
Patriot 4GB (2 x 2GB) PVS34G1333LLKN
4 x Gigabyte GV-R485OC-1GH Radeon HD 4850 in CrossFire
Western Digital Caviar Black
Sony Optiarc AD-7240S-0B
NZXT Tempest ATX Tower
PC Power & Cooling S75CF, ATX12V 2.2, 80-Plus Certified
Xigmatek Dark Knight S1283
That's right folks, it's not a typo--there are four graphics cards in this $1,250 build. Read on, and I'll explain.