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System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: $800 Enthusiast PC

Memory, Hard Drives, And Optical Drive

Memory: Crucial Ballistix Tactical 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600 Memory Kit

Despite our lower budget, you've made it clear that you want to see at least 8 GB in this mid-range build. Crucial's DDR3 kit does the job for a reasonable $53 on Newegg, and with good 8-8-8-24 timings at 1,600 MT/s, too.

Read Customer Reviews of Crucial's BLE2KIT4GD31608DE1TX0 8 GB Kit (opens in new tab)

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500 GB

Read Customer Reviews of Seagate's ST500DM002 500 GB Hard Drive (opens in new tab)

With no money for an SSD boot drive, today's system relies on a 500 GB Seagate Barracuda.

It's true that 500 GB isn't very large by today's standards. At least the 7,200 RPM spindle and 16 MB data cache help on the performance side, though. Make no mistake: the reason we went for this disk was its $60 price tag.

Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD-ROM

Read Customer Reviews of Samsung's SH-224BB DVD-ROM (opens in new tab)

To put it simply, we chose the DVD-R drive with the lowest price. On the day we placed our order, Samsung's SH224BB earned that distinction for $18.

  • DragonClaw
    The table outlining the components of the build. It should read 800$ and not 1000$, I think?
  • abbadon_34
    guessed they reused the previous template, sure it'll be fixed soon and people will wonder what we're talking about
  • mayankleoboy1
    Although we're going to miss the snappy boot-up times and almost-instant application launches the solid-state drive enabled, we probably won't be penalized too much in the benchmark results.

    And therein lies the problem with benchmarks.
    An enthusiast PC, without a SSD boot drive?
  • manitoublack
    That's a great value PC there. Would be hard pressed to think of a more compelling combination for the money. Well done.

  • qTrueno
    The heat sink breaks easily but it is a good cheap solution, as long it doesn't break.
  • ipwn3r456
    If this machine were at $1000 budget, might as well add a 128GB SSD, and replace the HD 7870 to a HD 7950.
  • butremor

    Overclocking the Core i5-3550K is"
  • ARICH5
    i think you couldve found a cheaper z77 solution and squieezed in a 64mb cache hdd
  • dudewitbow
    ipwn3r456If this machine were at $1000 budget, might as well add a 128GB SSD, and replace the HD 7870 to a HD 7950.

    there would be marginal performance boost from switching from a 7870 LE(nerfed 7950, heck can call it a 7930 and it would be partially correct in a way) to an actual 7950. Though its likely the outcome for the 1k budget coming up next.
  • abhijitkalyane
    I really wasn't expecting the AMD chip to be so close to the i5. I'm a bit surprised. The power consumption figures look bad for the FX though.