CPU, Motherboard, And Cooler
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K
It’s no secret that Intel's Core i5-2500K is our favorite processor in the $200 price range, with gobs of overclocking headroom thanks to an unlocked multiplier, and fantastic stock quad-core performance attributable to a reasonably high 3.3 GHz (3.7 GHz in single-core Turbo Boost mode) clocks.
Built on Intel’s mature 32 nm manufacturing process, this chip features 6 MB of shared L3 cache.
If you'd like to learn more about Intel's Sandy Bridge-based processors, check out our launch coverage of the architecture in Intel’s Second-Gen Core CPUs: The Sandy Bridge Review.
Motherboard: MSI P67A-G43
This month we need to free up some budget for a dual graphics card setup, so we’re looking for a good board that doesn’t break the bank.
MSI’s P67A-G43 is very similar to their P67A-G65 that performed well in our P67 Motherboard Roundup, except that it’s equipped with fewer SATA ports (six instead of eight) and no on-board USB 3.0 support (although it does have two USB 3.0 ports on the rear panel). Considering the relatively low $125 price tag, which dips down another $10 if you count rebates, we're willing to sacrifice some peripheral connectivity in the name of better overall platform performance.
CPU Cooler: Xigmatek Loki SD963
With three heat pipes, a 92 mm fan, and a low $25 price tag, we want to give the Loki a shot in this quarter's System Builder Marathon. We’re interested to see if it can provide similar cooling performance compared to the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus we used in our previous build, which is also a unit that costs twice as much.