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Power Supply, Optical Drive, And Video Cards

System Builder Marathon, May '09: $1,300 Enthusiast PC

Power Supply: PC Power and Cooling S75QB Silencer 750 Quad

With a power-hungry Core i7 as well as dual graphics cards, we wanted a power-supply unit (PSU) with a little "oomph."

Read Customer Reviews of PC Power & Cooling's S75QB Silencer

Enter PC Power and Cooling’s S75QB Silencer 750 Quad. It is SLI- and CrossFire-certified, has 750 W of continuous power available, is 80+ certified, and offers an impressive 60 amps of juice on a single 12V rail. At $120 after an instant rebate, it was an easy choice for our build.

Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS422 DVD±R DVD Burner SATA

Read Customer Reviews of Lite-On's iHAS422 Burner

There are so many reasonably-priced optical drives out there, but we wanted to choose something with more than basic functionality for our $1,300 machine. Lite-On’s iHAS422 is a great optical drive with some unique features. Among them are SmartErase, which Lite-on claims will completely remove existing data from a disk with no chance that it might be recovered, and LightScribe, which allows the user to burn images and labels directly to special LightScribe-compatible DVDs.

With the iHAS422 practically the same price as its barebones competition, there’s little reason not to opt for this fully-featured drive.

Video Card: 2 x BFG GeForce GTX 260 OC in SLI

Read Customer Reviews of BFG's GeForce GTX 260 OC

Here is the heart and soul of our $1,300 Micro-ATX LAN box: not one, but two GeForce GTX 260 cards, which are factory overclocked to 590 MHz on the GPU core. This should give us enough power to approach GeForce GTX 295 performance for about $200 less.

The downside, of course, is that these cards will use a lot of power and generate a lot of heat. But we’re building a LAN-sized PC here, and that means gaming is the primary goal. This is a no-compromise choice that will pay off in frames per second, although it remains to be seen how these cards will handle the heat in the portable Micro-ATX case.

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