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Motherboard And Memory

System Builder Marathon, Sept. 2011: $500 Gaming PC

Motherboard: ASRock M3A770DE

This time around, we looked into alternative motherboards priced up to about $75. Once again, though, we chose ASRock’s M3A770DE.

Based on the AMD 770/SB710 chipset, this affordable board has repeatedly demonstrated its stability, overclocking potential, and proclivity for unlocking artificially disabled processing cores. Factor in CrossFireX (limited to x16/x4) and Phenom II X6 support, plus a pair of powered eSATAII/USB connectors, and its low $60 price tag is an easy sell.

Read Customer Reviews of ASRock's M3A770DE Motherboard

ASRock’s use of solid capacitors in key areas of the voltage regulator circuit improves lifespan and reliability, while reducing cost compared to solid components throughout the design.

Memory: 4 GB Crucial Ballistix DDR3-1333 BL2KIT25664BA1339

Read Customer Reviews of Crucial's BL2KIT25664BA1339 4 GB DDR-1333 Kit

This 4 GB dual-channel kit of DDR3-1333 memory employs a single-sided design and is rated for CL9 timings at 1.5 V.

We can’t see the RAM ICs themselves, but it appears that Crucial took the last kit we used, slapped some aluminum heat spreaders over top, and replaced the first digit of the model number with “B” rather than “C.”

We're fine with this move, considering that, at a mere $25, the Ballistix Sport comes in less expensive than the spreader-less version.

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