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Case, Power Supply, And Optical Drive

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

Case: NZXT Gamma Classic Series GAMA-001BK

Appealing features on the NZXT Gamma include its black interior, bottom-mounted power supply, and abundant cooling potential.

Unfortunately, only a single 120 mm exhaust fan is included. But the chassis is fitted with ventilation and mounting holes for up to five additional coolers. For more information and artwork, see this gaming enclosure comparison by Thomas Soderstom.

Read Customer Reviews of NZXT's Gamma Classic Series GAMA-001BK

Power Supply: Antec EarthWatts EA-430D Green

Read Customer Reviews of Antec's EarthWatts EA-430D Green

We’ve often relied on Antec’s quiet and efficient EA-380D Green to deliver power in our budget gaming system builds. This month, we were able to grab the 430 W version for just $45.

While a single six-pin PCIe power lead means we’ll need to utilize one of the graphics card’s bundled power adapters, a 32 A combined +12 V rating is far higher than you’ll find on most entry-level 500 W units.

Optical Drive: Samsung 22x DVD Burner SATA Model SH-222AB

Read Customer Reviews of Samsung's SH-222AB SATA DVD Burner

At this budget, we look to spend as little as possible on a reliable SATA DVD burner. Thus, we're picking this well-reviewed 22x Samsung unit to fill the system’s optical needs.

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