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CPU And Cooler

System Builder Marathon, Q2 2013: The $400 Spirit Of Mini-ITX

Processor: Intel Pentium G860

As a one-time favorite gaming processor of ours, the Pentium G860 lost some of its favor recently for poor performance in a few heavily-threaded titles. But I have no problem recommending this chip for the right price and purpose. Having just $185 to split between my CPU and graphics card, we’re confident that this 3.0 GHz, dual-core, Sandy Bridge-based Pentium delivers top value, and is perfect for this build.

The G860’s overall appeal is eroded by the slightly cheaper and just-as-fast Ivy Bridge-based Pentium G2020. However, we had no guarantee that our H61 Express motherboard would ship with Ivy Bridge support out of the box. This is a very real concern for real-world users when it comes to pairing older platforms to newer CPUs. And while we have plenty of chips sitting around for the flash, you might not. So, to play this as real-world as possible, we went the Sandy Bridge route. In the end, our board did ship with an Ivy Bridge-enabled BIOS and we could have dropped our out-of-pocket to $388 by choosing a Pentium G2020.

Read Customer Reviews of Intel's Pentium G860

CPU Cooler: Intel Retail Boxed Heat Sink And Fan

Intel’s boxed cooler consists of a low-profile orb-style aluminum heatsink, low-speed PWM-controlled fan, and a push-pin mounting bracket. It is sufficient for the task, and even at full-bore remains fairly quiet. Key to this build, it doesn’t rob funding from other potentially more rewarding parts.

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