Motherboard And Memory
Motherboard: ASRock M3A770DE
Based on the AMD 770/SB710 chipset, this inexpensive board has already demonstrated stability, some degree of overclocking potential, and the ability to unlock dormant processing cores. Factor in CrossFireX (limited to x16/x4) and Phenom II X6 support, plus a pair of powered eSATAII/USB connectors, and the $60 price tag looks even sweeter.
It's worth pointing out, once again, that ASRock’s use of solid capacitors in key areas of the voltage regulator circuit helps improve lifespan and reliability, at the same time reducing cost compared to vendors who use solid components throughout the design.
Memory: Mushkin Enhanced Essentials 996586
We could have chosen the same two gigabytes of Crucial RAM from September’s $400 build, but we instead grabbed this four gigabyte kit of Mushkin for $20 more. This is basic PC3 10600 (DDR3-1333) fare, lacking heat spreaders, and rated at CL9 and 1.5 V.