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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.

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