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Breaking Point: Graphics Cards And Case

System Builder Marathon, August 2012: Alternative $2000 Gaming PC

Graphics: 2 x EVGA GeForce GTX 670 in SLI

This build started as an attempt to fit three GeForce GTX 670s into a $2000 budget. Unfortunately, the tab on $400 graphics cards adds up quickly! Incorporating a third GK104-based board would have necessitated a few more compromises, such as a half-priced motherboard (saving $140), removing the SSD, (saving $200), and scaling down to a cheap $40 case (saving $60).

Read Customer Reviews of EVGA's 02G-P4-2670-KR GeForce GTX 670

Without an SSD, most readers would consider this a failed build. Furthermore, I'd never consider using a flimsy $40 chassis to hold high-end parts. And if those first-world problems were dire enough to dash our three-way dream, the fact that a cheaper LGA 1155-based motherboard wouldn't support a trio of GeForce GTX 670s anyway sealed this build's fate. Instead, it gets two very nice base-model 02G-P4-2670-KRs from EVGA.

With three-way no longer possible, we could have gone back to a less expensive motherboard or power supply. A $200 drop on those two components could have boosted this system's value score by 11%. But your feedback last time around made it clear that you want to see us push the budget as far as possible, but then not go over. Keeping the rest of the system intact gives its lucky winner the chance to upgrade to four-way SLI without needing to replace those two important components.

Case: Antec Eleven Hundred

Barely edged out of its value award by a cheaper contender in our recent round-up, Antec’s Eleven Hundred was still recommended to buyers who need its extra size to support large motherboards or extra graphics cards. The higher price covers the materials needed to maintain the larger structure's sturdiness.

Read Customer Reviews of Antec's Eleven Hundred

The Eleven Hundred supports up to two additional side fans, which can be mounted as exhaust for internally-venting graphics cards or intakes for externally-vented cards. The dual-intake front panel likewise ships without fans. We could have stretched the budget enough to add at least one fan there, but the temperature chart we generated in its review indicated that this probably wouldn’t be necessary.

The two slots of space between our graphics cards should be enough to avoid them heating up. However, anyone who wants to take this system to the next level with more graphics muscle will probably want to experiment with additional intake fans.

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