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Video Card, Power Supply, And Case

System Builder Marathon, March 2011: $1000 Enthusiast PC
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Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 6950 2 GB

The Radeon HD 6950 brings Radeon HD 5870-class performance down to $275 with 1408 stream processors and 1250 MHz GDDR5 memory.

Read Customer Reviews of Gigabyte Radeon HD 6950 2 GB


This is reason enough to justify our choice, but there’s more: the Radeon HD 6950 uses the same Cayman GPU that’s in the Radeon HD 6970, and these cards have an extremely high success rate of enabling the full 1536 streaming processors with a simple BIOS mod.

Almost as if to help us out, AMD was kind enough to include a BIOS backup switch on the Radeon HD 6900-series cards, a feature that makes it nearly impossible to brick the card with a bad BIOS flash. We’re itching to see if we can squeeze Radeon HD 6970-class performance out of it.

Power Supply: Corsair CMPSU-650TX

Read Customer Reviews of Corsair's CMPSU-650TX


With a 52 A +12 V rail and an excellent reputation, Corsair's 650TX continues to dominate the sub-$100 power supply market.

At $89, we simply can’t find a significantly better option to choose.

PC Case: In-Win Android

Read Customer Reviews of In-Win's Android


We like to use our System Builder Marathon series as an excuse to try out different PC cases. And, this month we had enough space in the budget to throw $69.99 at In-Win's Android.

The case offers a large amount of space and unique aesthetics (the front reminds us of the hero's helmet in Dead Space), but what draws us to it is the generous complement of fans: three 120 mm units in the front, rear, and top; as well as a 220 mm beast on the side of the case. We’ll see if all that airflow helps us squeeze higher clocks out of our components.

Display all 112 comments.
  • 2 Hide
    americanherosandwich , March 23, 2011 6:09 AM
    That is one funky looking case. Great $1k system!
  • 2 Hide
    toxxel , March 23, 2011 6:11 AM
    That case is a behemoth.
  • 8 Hide
    dirtmountain , March 23, 2011 6:14 AM
    After seeing that case i was afraid for Princess Leia.
  • 3 Hide
    cangelini , March 23, 2011 6:31 AM
    dirtmountainAfter seeing that case i was afraid for Princess Leia.


    LOL
  • 0 Hide
    Darkerson , March 23, 2011 6:33 AM
    Crazy looking case, but nice system overall!
  • 3 Hide
    _Pez_ , March 23, 2011 7:00 AM
    for 1k usd seems to be a cheap system.. hmm nice review, is good to see that new processors are really efficient even when overclocked ..to bad about the 22cm cooler of the side panel of that funny case. My Armor+ has exactly the same issue with a V6gt cooler and I decided to go back to my hyper212+ :D .
  • -5 Hide
    ava__ , March 23, 2011 7:02 AM
    you forgot to add the cost of your beloved Windows
  • 0 Hide
    Crashman , March 23, 2011 7:07 AM
    cangeliniLOL
    Huh?
  • 3 Hide
    Mark Heath , March 23, 2011 7:21 AM
    Quote:
    Huh?

    Good to see the Tom's team is on the same page XD
  • 2 Hide
    AkIRA_22 , March 23, 2011 7:28 AM
    that has to be the ugliest case I've ever seen in my life. At the end of the day the case is 100% taste, to 'recommend' a case is futile.
  • 4 Hide
    skora , March 23, 2011 7:44 AM
    Just for testing purposes, could that 220mm fan have been mounted on the outside of the case, to see if its worth buying a slimmer fan with that extra $24 in the budget?
  • 0 Hide
    gti88 , March 23, 2011 8:58 AM
    Strange results in games. 460 1gb SLI is equal to gtx580 in Crysis, but in this article two 460gtx show the same performance as 6950...
  • 1 Hide
    Luay , March 23, 2011 8:59 AM
    Amazing value. This machine can do rip trough anything @ 1920x1200. I like how you're keeping your eyes open on mobos yet to appear;
    Asrok P67 Extreme4, MSI P67 GD45, Intel Boxdp67bg, Asus P67Pro, Gigabyte P67UD4: Cheapest SLI/CF x8 w/3slot-for-each-card-boards out there. Only one can be the best. My bet is on Intel.

    6950 all the way and nothing less, not even to fit in a SSD.

    For $10 more, I would pick the Inwin Dragon Slayer for bigger size, 4 fans, meshed covers (Princess Leia's daddy).

    Another $10 for the Corsair TX650 Version 2.0, but that was just released 3 weeks ago.
  • 0 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , March 23, 2011 9:18 AM
    i think i said this in the last build....modular PSU please, especially since you had a bit of money you had left over. OCZ do some good ones.
  • 1 Hide
    eddieroolz , March 23, 2011 9:47 AM
    I saw the case, and it made me instantly awaken. Not quite sure how to explain it - though it does come down to personal taste anyway.

    As for some of the gaming benchmarks, it's really a mixed bag. Sandy Bridge/6950 rules at 1080p & lower but anything higher seems to be in the domain of the dual Nvidia cards. Though the Core i3 was a really extreme compromise.

    Now waiting for the AMD build to show up!
  • -3 Hide
    JohnMD1022 , March 23, 2011 10:20 AM
    UGGGGGHHHHH-ly casr
  • 0 Hide
    pelov , March 23, 2011 10:20 AM
    eddieroolzI saw the case, and it made me instantly awaken. Not quite sure how to explain it - though it does come down to personal taste anyway.As for some of the gaming benchmarks, it's really a mixed bag. Sandy Bridge/6950 rules at 1080p & lower but anything higher seems to be in the domain of the dual Nvidia cards. Though the Core i3 was a really extreme compromise. Now waiting for the AMD build to show up!


    That has to do with the way certain games are programmed and made to prefer certain architecture over another. it's not exactly the fault of the video cards.
  • -2 Hide
    JohnMD1022 , March 23, 2011 10:26 AM
    I have to learn to spell 'case'... lol

    Seagate drive? No way... pure junk.
  • -1 Hide
    dalta centauri , March 23, 2011 11:11 AM
    JohnMD1022I have to learn to spell 'case'... lolSeagate drive? No way... pure junk.

    Nothing wrong with a seagate drive...as an external HDD. Never used one as an internal though.
    The case itself looks real good, and hopefully efficient at cooling. Although I must say, it looks like a 'gaming' case that was first built around early 2000. I personally like it though, it looks quite unique.
  • -5 Hide
    luis1 , March 23, 2011 11:26 AM
    Just pulled the trigger on this system.. trumps your 1K system..
    For 820.00 shipped..

    http://www.ibuypower.com/Store/Special-B/w/62031
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