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Video Cards, Power Supply, And Case

System Builder Marathon, March 2012: $1250 Enthusiast PC

Video Cards: PowerColor Radeon HD 7970

This card is the reason that we’re scaling back on everything else in today's build. If you're a gamer, though, the sacrifices are worthwhile.

PowerColor's Radeon HD 7970 is a very fast board with modest power requirements. It's well worth $550 if you're looking for playable frame rates at high resolutions. The company doesn't skimp on bundled adapters, including mini DisplayPort-to-DVI, a mini DisplayPort-to-DisplayPort, HDMI-to-DVI, and DVI-to-VGA adapters in its bundle. The card also comes with DiRT 3, which happens to be one of the games in our updated SBM benchmark suite.

Read Customer Reviews of PowerColor's Radeon HD 7970 3 GB

Power Supply: Corsair TX650 V2

Read Customer Reviews of Corsair's TX650 V2

We keep waiting for something better than Corsair’s TX650 to come along, but, for less than $100, it hasn't happened yet. As such, we're happy to use this popular $90 power supply once again.

PC Case: Apevia X-Trooper Junior

Read Customer Reviews of Apevia's X-Trooper Junior

Operating within a tight budget, I'll always favor go-fast hardware over a fancy chassis, and I do enjoy giving inexpensive enclosures a shot.

To that end I opted for Apevia’s X-Trooper Junior, a small mid-tower case that costs a mere $40. It is surprisingly roomy inside, with enough clearance for our beefy Radeon HD 7970. Two included 120 mm fans are particularly nice touches, particularly in this price range.

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