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Graphics Cards And Hard Drive

System Builder Marathon, Sept. 2010: $400 Gaming PC
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Graphics Cards: PowerColor AX5670 512MD5-H

The Powercolor AX5670 512MD5-H is a reference-clocked Radeon HD 5670 with 512 MB of GDDR5 memory running at 1000 MHz (4 Gb/s).

This month’s choice shares a striking resemblance to the AX5770 1GBD5-H used in our $550 PC from June. A similarly-styled cooler is again both quiet and effective, and the same output port array includes 1 x DVI, 1 x D-Sub, and HDMI.

Read Customer Reviews of PowerColor's AX5670 512MD5-H


Of course, these two DirectX 11 cards are very different with regard to price and performance. While the Radeon HD 5770 is literally half of a Radeon HD 5870, the 5670 is in many ways half of the 5770. It sports 400 stream processing units (shaders), 20 texture units, and eight ROPs.

Both cards, however, employ a 128-bit memory interface, and thus have similar memory bandwidth capabilities. It's worth noting that the Radeon HD 5670 does use slightly lower core and memory frequencies.

Once again PowerColor’s retail bundle is light. You won’t find any cables, adapters, or even a CrossFire bridge, but rather just a folded manual sheet and driver CD.

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD2500AAJS 250 GB

Read Customer Reviews of Western Digital's Caviar Blue 250 GB


This $45 Western Digital SATA 3Gb/s hard drive spins at 7200 RPM, has 8 MB cache, and is backed by a three year warranty.

Although we consider this reliable and adequate storage for a budget gaming rig, it's admittedly difficult to swallow such a significant reduction in capacity just to save $10.

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