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Motherboard And Memory

System Builder Marathon, June 2011: $500 Gaming PC

Motherboard: ASRock H61M-VS

We’ve been caught in a performance-oriented rut at the $500 price point. The trouble is deciding where to allocate very limited funds. This was especially true for this quarter’s build.

The ASRock H61M-VS was the cheapest LGA 1155-based motherboard at our disposal, and the only one that allowed us to match the platform cost of the previous AMD machine.

Read Customer Reviews of ASRock's H61M-VS

This microATX board, based on Intel's seldom-discussed H61 chipset, goes super-light on the extra features. It only employs two memory slots (fortunately, still organized for dual-channel operation) and two expansion card slots (a 16-lane PCIe 2.0 slot for graphics and one PCIe x1 slot).

The board is also limited to SATA 3Gb/s storage, and the rear panel port array is limited to a VGA output, three 1/8" audio jacks, six USB 2.0 ports, and a 10/100 Ethernet port.

ASRock’s use of solid capacitors in key areas of the voltage regulator circuit purportedly improves lifespan and reliability while reducing cost over the use of solid components throughout the design.

Memory: 4 GB Crucial DDR3-1333 Memory Kit

Read Customer Reviews of Crucial's 4 GB DDR3-1333 Memory Kit

This basic 4 GB dual-channel kit made up of DDR3-1333  modules employs a single-sided design. It lacks heat spreaders and is rated for CAS 9 at 1.5 V.

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