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Graphics Card And Hard Drive

System Builder Marathon, Q4 2013: $800 Gaming PC

Graphics Card: Gigabyte Radeon R9 280X GV-R928XOC-3GD

The desire to grab a powerful Radeon R9 280X for $300 was what prompted me to ask for a higher budget. It was hard to accept that the Radeon HD 7950 was my cap when the near-equivalent of a Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition was within my grasp for $50 more. 

Unfortunately, right around the same time, crypto-currency miners rushed the market after figuring out how well Hawaii- and Tahiti-based boards generated Litecoins. Suddenly, 280X cards were selling for at least $100 more, and that's where they continue to sit today. As I write this, our money would be better spent on a GeForce GTX 770.

Read Customer Reviews of Gigabyte's Radeon R9 280X

As you're probably aware from Chris Angelini’s AMD Radeon R9 280X, R9 270X, And R7 260X: Old GPUs, New Names, the 280X isn't really new. In stock form, it’s equivalent to a Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition with a lower core clock rate. But it employs a full Tahiti GPU with 2048 Stream processors, 128 texture units, 32 ROPs, and 3 GB of GDDR5 memory on an aggregate 384-bit memory bus. Our model from Gigabyte offers an overclocked 1100 MHz frequency ceiling.

Hard Drive: Western Digital Blue WD10EZEX 1 TB

Western Digital’s Blue-series 1 TB hard drive gives us ample capacity and performance at a price I could work into my budget.

This SATA 6Gb/s-compatible disk sports a 64 MB data cache, a 7200 RPM spindle, and a limited two-year warranty.

Read Customer Reviews of Western Digital's Blue 1 TB Hard Drive

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