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CPU and Cooler

System Builder Marathon, Sept. 2010: $400 Gaming PC

Processor: AMD Athlon II X3 440

The AMD Athlon II X3 440 sports three 128 KB L1 caches and three 512 KB L2 caches, but lacks the shared L3 cache found in AMD’s Phenom II processors. This 45 nm chip offers three processing cores, a 3.0 GHz core frequency, and solid overclocking potential.

Read Customer Reviews of AMD's Athlon II X3 440

While we would have welcomed a price drop in the Athlon II X3 435 used in last quarter's System Builder Marathon machine, at the same $75 cost, this chip was hard to resist.

CPU Cooler: AMD Boxed Heatsink And Fan

Opting for the triple-core Athlon II meant purchasing a retail package. And, with a $400 budget holding us back, we sure couldn’t afford to set the boxed AMD cooler aside. Although it isn't anything fancy, it’s certainly sufficient at stock speeds, and even leaves room to dabble in overclocking, as you'll see.

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