CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K
This is the staple component of our $800 system, and we'd frankly need a lot more money in our budget to even consider a pricier Core i7. Fortunately, this K-series SKU is multiplier-unlocked, giving me a significant differentiator that Paul's $600 box does not enjoy.
Selling for $230, the Core i5-3570K might be challenged by AMD's $200 FX-8350 at it stock clock rates in threaded applications (albeit at much higher power consumption. When overclocking is an option, however, this Intel chip is in a league of its own.
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Pro3
Our smaller budget means we have less flexibility when it comes to platform selection. Thankfully, ASRock sells a number of value-oriented options designed for enthusiasts. The Z77 Pro3 has all of the BIOS settings needed for serious overclocking attempts, but at a reasonable $90 price tag.
It's pure coincidence that this platform is so similar to the Z75-based board Paul chose in yesterday's story; we don't compare notes before making our selections.
CPU Cooler: Rosewill RCX-ZAIO 92
We reviewed Rosewill's inexpensive RCX-ZAIO-92 back in 2010 (Roundup: Six Sub-$40 Performance CPU Coolers Compared). It performed well in that story, particularly at its low price point.
Given a lower budget today, we thought it'd be a perfect time to try this third-party solution once again. The RCX-ZAIO-92 only adds $15 to our total cost.
- Building A PC: What Do We Get For $800?
- CPU, Motherboard, And Cooler
- Video Card, Power Supply, And Case
- Memory, Hard Drives, And Optical Drive
- System Assembly And Overclocking
- Test System And Benchmarks
- Results: Synthetics
- Results: Media Encoding
- Results: Rendering And Productivity
- Results: Adobe Creative Suite
- Results: Compression Tools
- Results: Battlefield 3 And The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- Results: F1 2012 And Far Cry 3
- Power And Temperature
- When Does $800 Buy You More Than $1000?