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Motherboard And Memory

System Builder Marathon, June 2010: $550 Gaming PC

Motherboard: Asus M4A77T

Utilizing a single graphics card in this budget build allows for less-expensive motherboard considerations. The Asus M4A77TD may lack features found in premium boards, but it fits our needs as a reliable, stable board, friendly to both overclocking and core unlocking.

Read Customer Reviews of Asus' M4A77T Motherboard

Based on the AMD 770/SB710 chipset, this Socket AM3 board has a single PCI Express (PCIe) 2.0 x16 slot, an all-solid capacitor design, DDR3-1800 overclocking support, and a solid array of voltage and multiplier adjustments in the BIOS.

Memory: Crucial CTKIT12864BA1339

Read Customer Reviews of Crucial's 2GB DDR3-1333 Memory Kit

Past bargains on DDR2 have spoiled us into expecting 4GB of system RAM to be the norm in our value-oriented PC. Looking back, the cost of a 4GB kit of CL4 DDR2-800 for our May 2009 $600 Gaming PC was just $41, but now we were looking at over $100 to fit 4GB of DDR3 into this build.

It’s hard to justify 20% of our target budget on just RAM, so this month we opted for an affordable 2GB kit of Crucial PC3 10600 (DDR3-1333). Although lacking heat spreaders and rated at CL9 and 1.5V, Crucial DDR3-1333 has demonstrated impressive overclocking capabilities. Prepare to drop closer to $600 on hardware if you desire 4GB of RAM in this build.

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