Memory: G.Skill RipjawsX Series 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1866 Memory Kit
Although we're limited in some ways, our larger budget does create room for high-speed, low-latency RAM. G.Skill's RipjawsX kit gives us 8 GB of DDR3 (spread across two channels) and operating at 1866 MT/s with 8-9-9-24 timings. Priced at $78 on Newegg, this isn't the most affordable kit around. But it receives great feedback, so we're excited to give it a shot.
System Drive: Adata XPG SX900 64 GB SATA 6Gb/s SSD
Our $1300 budget also creates some room for an SSD. Although 64 GB isn't enough to install every application you own on, it's enough for Windows and some of your most performance-sensitive software, at least. Priced at $80 on Newegg, it's easily assimilated into our budget, too.
Hard Drive: Western Digital Black 1 TB 7200 RPM Hard Drive
Western Digital's Black drives have an excellent reputation for high performance. It's a shame that we couldn't get a larger SSD into this system. But we're at least happy that this disk drive gives our mini-ITX build a solid compromise between capacity and speed for just under $100.
Optical Drive: Lite-on iHAS124-04 DVD Burner
With our budget already pushing the $1300 limit, I picked the lowest-priced DVD burner I could find when it came time to place my order. We've used Lite-on's iHAS124 drive before and it's a reliable choice. There's not much for us to complain about given an $18 price tag.
- Mini-ITX For The Enthusiast: Smaller Size, Bigger Budget
- CPU, Motherboard, And Cooler
- Video Card, Power Supply, And Case
- Memory, Hard Drives, And Optical Drive
- System Assembly And Overclocking
- Test System And Benchmarks
- Results: Synthetics
- Results: Media Encoding
- Results: Rendering And Productivity
- Results: Adobe Creative Suite
- Results: Compression Tools
- Results: Battlefield 3 And The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- Results: F1 2012 And Far Cry 3
- Power And Temperature
- Smaller System, More Money, And Greater Performance