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Cooler, Memory, Hard Drive and Case

System Builder Marathon: Sub-$2000 PC
By , Shelton Romhanyi

system builder marathon

Here’s where we splurged a little compared to the previous mid-range build. Swiftech’s H20-120 water cooling system for the CPU isn’t the highest end cooler out there, but for the $120 price tag, it should supply us with a meaningful upgrade compared to a fan-cooled CPU heat sink. Since overclocking is an important part of our system builder marathon, we’re willing to spend the extra cash on this one.

Memory: 4GB of A-Data Vitesta DDR2 800 PC2-6400

system builder marathon

In our past tests, A-Data has proven itself able to supply great memory, so when we saw the 4 GB kit for sale at a low $85, we thought we’d give it a chance to show what it can do in our system builder marathon. Rated at great 4-4-4-12 timings, there should be a good amount of room to overclock if we loosen the settings.

Hard Drive: 2x Western Digital Caviar 500GB in RAID configuration

system builder marathon

Here is another meaningful upgrade compared to the previous mid-range system: two 500 GB hard disks in a RAID configuration. Using the striped RAID 0 mode, we should see a good performance increase in hard disk speeds. And although this probably won’t manifest itself much in most of our benchmarks, it’s nice to have the extra space. Plus, the user also has the option of using RAID 1 mode instead, allowing for the safety of data redundancy in case of a hard disk failure, at the cost of less hard drive space. With two identical drives, the user has the luxury of choosing his or her preference.

PC Case: NZXT Tempest

system builder marathon

The Tempest is reasonably priced, provides a lot of airflow, is relatively quiet, and looks great. It impressed us enough in our recent case review that we thought it deserved a chance to show us what it can do in our mid-range PC build.

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