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Video Card, Power Supply, And Case

System Builder Marathon, June 2012: $1000 Enthusiast PC

Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 OC

Yes, we know that Nvidia's GeForces GTX 680 and GTX 670 both offer better bang for your buck right now. But the GeForce GTX 680 is still encountering availability issues (particularly at the $499 it's supposed to be selling at), and the GTX 670 wasn’t even available when we bought the pieces for this PC.

Read Customer Reviews of Sapphire's Radeon HD 7970

As a result, we chose the Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 for $480 (it was on sale for $460 when we bought it). Unfortunately, just before posting the System Builder Marathon, the price rose $100 to $580, blowing out our budget.

For $470, though, you can get the non-overclocked model, which is identical aside from its default operating frequencies and lack of a BIOS-select switch. It delivers great value when you consider that it includes all of the adapters necessary for a three-monitor Eyefinity array, along with a quiet and effective custom cooler.

Power Supply: Corsair CX600 V2

Read Customer Reviews of Corsair's CX600 V2

We saved some more money on our power supply choice, picking Corsair’s CX600 for $70 instead of the more expensive TX650.

True, we’re giving up some of the PCIe power cables. But, with a single graphics card in our system, the CX600 is more than capable of providing the juice we need.

PC Case: Logisys CS1202BK Optimus II

Read Customer Reviews of Logisys' Optimus II

A tight budget forces us to consider a low-cost chassis, and we're giving Logisys a shot. The Optimus II sports a classy look, modest room inside, and it includes two 120 mm fans.

We’ll go into more depth about the case when we talk about assembly and overclocking. Priced at $42 on Newegg, it's now $7 more expensive than when we originally ordered it, unfortunately.

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