Motherboard And Memory
Motherboard: MSI 970A-G43
MSI's affordable 970A-G43 Socket AM3+ motherboard gives us the basic necessities for our lightly overclocked gaming PC. Outfitted with the AMD 970 northbridge and SB950 southbridge, it offers a comprehensive suite of I/O, including six SATA 6Gb/s ports, four USB 3.0 ports (two in the back and two via internal header), and up to 12 USB 2.0 ports (six around back and another six via headers).
On-board, you'll find six expansion slots, including two single-lane PCIe links, two legacy PCI slots, and a pair of second-gen PCIe x16 slots. You even get support for CrossFire, though only in a x16/x4 arrangement that we wouldn't recommend using. Other noteworthy features include solid capacitors, four DDR3 memory slots, and an enthusiast-friendly UEFI.
Read Customer Reviews of MSI's 970A-G43 Motherboard (opens in new tab)
Memory: 8 GB Kingston HyperX XMP Blu Red Series DDR3-1600
Working within a tight budget, we put our money into doubling this quarter’s RAM capacity, rather than seeking high frequencies and low timings. Kingston’s HyperX Blu Red series was one of the cheapest name brand 8 GB DDR3-1600 kits available, although an XMP profile with CL9 timings at 1.65 V doesn't bode well for manual tweaking. The price we're paying per gigabyte is far better than the 4 GB kits, and we liked the feedback this kit was receiving on Newegg.
Read Customer Reviews of Kingston's 8 GB HyperX XMP Blu Red Kit (opens in new tab)