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System Builder Marathon, December 2010: $1000 PC

Video Cards, Power Supply, And Case

Video Card: Two GeForce GTX 460 1 GB cards in SLI

Since our motherboard supports both SLI and CrossFire, and there’s space in the budget for either configuration, the door is open as to whether or not we’d like a GeForce or Radeon solution in our rig. At the time of writing, the ECS Black Series NBGTX460 (a 1 GB GeForce GTX 460) is the most attractive option.

Read Customer Reviews of ECS's Black Series NBGTX460

While the GeForce GTX 460 1 GB and Radeon HD 6850 are closely matched competitors, the ECS cards include the Arctic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo Pro GPU cooler. This is a $50 cooler all by itself, so to get one factory-installed on a budget $190 GeForce GTX 460 1 GB is a real treat.

We see what two of these puppies can accomplish in tandem when we get to the benchmarks, and gauge whether that great cooling hardware helps with the overclocks, too.

Power Supply: Corsair CMPSU-650TX

Read Customer Reviews of Corsair's CMPSU-650TX

The Corsair CMPSU-650TX should be able to supply all the juice we need for our Core i3-550 and dual GeForce GTX 460 1 GB setup. With a 52 A, 12 V rail, we’re in good shape for overclocking headroom, and the $85 price tag is just as attractive as the spec sheet.

PC Case: NZXT Gamma

Read Customer Reviews of NZXT's Gamma

Instead of going with familiar fare, we step outside of our comfort zone and use an inexpensive NZXT Gamma case. At a mere $40, it only includes a single 120 mm case fan. But an extra $8 buys us a couple of APEVIA CF12S-BK 120 mm fans to bring airflow up to snuff. The resulting $48 case and fan combo adds up to one of the nicest budget rigs we’ve worked with, as attractive as it is functional.

  • AMW1011
    I can't say I'm impressed this time. You should never have went with a clarksdale, they are simply bad. Getting a more reasonably priced motherboard, cutting another $20 from the HDD and PSU, and an i5 750, would have been much better.

    Still, we have more information than before so I can't complain.
  • Poisoner
    That PSU only has 2 PCI-E hook ups. So you'll have to use adapters in this build. Pathetic.
  • ivan_chess
    The CPU choice was a little disappointing this time around. A Core i5 or even a comparably priced AMD processor would have done much better (especially in productivity because four cores are typically better than two).
  • adbat
    I think it would be good to include previous build in the test system page it would make comparison easier.
  • duk3
    1 tb 7200.12 hard drive?
    GTX 570? (debatable)
    Cheaper motherboard, maybe not supporting SLI if gtx 570 is taken over 460 sli?
    $50 corsair ddr3 1600?
    i5 760 with these savings?
  • Core2uu
    I think we're missing the point of including the Core i3 in this month's build. The purpose was to explore the CPU bottle-necking that can be observed on today's common applications because threading implementation has managed to find itself actually put into effect. Throwing in an i5 760 would have been too predictable and too boring. This puts perspective on the fact that dual-cores matched with high clock speeds are no longer the performance kings as was true more than a year ago.
  • scrumworks
    Tom's nvidia -line continues. No surprises there.
  • amirp
    like they said in the previous article even the 6000 series radeons weren't out when they made these articles,
    reading comprehensions noobs
  • amirp
  • sudeshc
    Not impressed, could have been better.