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Power Supply, Optical Drive, And Video Card

System Builder Marathon: $1,250 Mid-Range PC

Power Supply: Corsair 650TX

Corsair's 650TX has shown us that it's more than capable of handling a robust system with a Radeon HD 4870 X2 in previous SBMs at a reasonable price.

In addition, the 650 TX is an efficient PSU, sporting the 80 PLUS certification.Without any particularly compelling alternatives at this price, we will stick with this tried-and-true option.

Optical Drive : LITE-ON 20X DVD±R SATA Model iHAS120-04

Now slightly cheaper at $22, Lite-On’s iHAS120-04 drive has the ability to write DVD+/-R(W), DVD-RAM, and Double Layer discs, which is a great option for a single-drive choice.

Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 X2

Just to make things crystal clear, we're going to repeat ourselves and mention that the GeForce GTX 295 wasn't yet available to order when we put this SBM machine together. That card would obviously be our choice if we were to spec out a $1,250 machine today.

Having said that, the Radeon HD 4870 X2 is no slouch and its prices have dropped notably compared to the GTX 295. Sapphire's Radeon HD 4870 X2 is $450 right now, and at the time of writing, Newegg was offering a $30 mail-in rebate. This makes the price of the 4870 X2 at least $50 cheaper than the GTX 295 ($80 cheaper with a rebate), and at that price, it still offers good performance per dollar.

As an unintentional bonus, the 4870 X2 makes it easier to compare our current Q9550 system to the previous E8500 system, which also had a Radeon HD 4870 X2.

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