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CPU And CPU Cooler

System Builder Marathon, March 2011: $2000 Performance PC

CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K

Intel’s new Sandy Bridge processors have three big advantages over any of its previous quad-core chips.

First, higher instructions-per-cycle throughput allows them to perform more work at any given frequency. Second, a more mature 32 nm manufacturing process allow these to clock to higher frequencies. And if that double-shift of performance isn’t enough to excite enthusiasts, these processors are able to take advantage of both, while consuming less power and producing less heat.

Read Customer Reviews of Intel's Core i7-2600K

Intel’s i7-2600K is the only version to support both unlocked Turbo Boost multipliers and Hyper-Threading, at least until future models are released. The unlocked multiplier is an overclocking requirement, since the platform supporting this CPU lacks significant base clock-altering capability.

CPU Cooling: Scythe Mugen 2 Revision B

With enough power to efficiently cool highly-overclocked previous-generation processors, Scythe’s monster-sized Mugen 2 Revision B is surely overkill for today’s more-efficient models. Yet there’s no-such-thing as too-much-cooling, and the price for this item has remained a constant value at $40.

Read Customer Reviews of Scythe's Mugen 2 Revision B

Sold by Newegg as Scythe’s part number SCMG-2100, the Mugen 2 Revision B isn’t perfect. First, the cooler is extremely difficult to install, as it requires access to both sides of the motherboard simultaneously. Second, its extreme size places its fan over the motherboard’s DIMM slots.

Excellent performance and low noise offset those shortcomings, but we still had to use parts-on-hand to verify that it would physically fit over our moderately-tall memory sinks before committing to this purchase.

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