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System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: $1,000 Performance PC

DRAM, Storage, And Optical Drive

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

Over the past couple of years, several readers have shot over suggestions to try out 1.35 V DIMMs for overclocking, citing their scalability. Our own experiences often contradicted those recommendations, though. Many older modules simply couldn’t tolerate the extra voltage needed to put them over the performance curve of mid-range parts running at standard voltages. Like any other step forward in technology, however, the low-voltage stuff is significantly improved today.

Read Customer Reviews of Crucial's BLT2K4G3D1608ET3LXO 8 GB Kit

Crucial’s Ballistix Tactical LP modules are among the recent generation of low-voltage RAM that survives the 1.5-1.6 V needed to overtake similarly-priced 1.65 V champions. Furthermore, the slightly lower overclocked voltage is also a little easier on our CPU's memory controller.

Speaking of its CPU-oriented advantages, the reduced height of these low-profile modules makes extra room for oversized heat sinks, too.

SSD: Mushkin Chronos Deluxe MKNSSDCR240GB-DX

We like the performance and price-per-gigabyte of Mushkin’s 240 GB DX-series SSD, but dropping to 120 GB would have been necessary to make room for a conventional disk. After considering all of my somewhat-limited hard drive options, I gave in and kept the big SSD.

Read Customer Reviews of Mushkin's 240 GB MKNSSDCR240GB-DX

The 240 GB DX remains storage editor Andrew Ku’s top performance-value pick thanks to its SandForce controller, Toggle-mode NAND, and competitive price.

Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124

Dependability and price drove our optical drive selection, with the iHAS124’s 24x burn performance considered nothing more than an added feature. We might have even picked a read-only drive to load our software, if not for the fact that read-only drives cost nearly as much.

Read Customer Reviews of Lite-On's iHAS124

At this price, the question of whether people still burn DVDs is little more than a diversion. Even though I can occasionally find 8 GB thumb drives for only a few dollars, I’m still more likely to pass around the cheaper DVD media to friends and family.

  • samuelohagan
    Isn't this basically the same thing as the $800 pc but with an ssd?
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    The only thing i could have tried to change in this build was to get a 64GB SSD , get a 500GB HDD , and if i have any money left, try to get a HD7950.
    Otherwise, not much wriggle room here. Nice build!
    Reply
  • Chairman Ray
    I'm not sure if having an SSD without an HDD is an attractive option for most people. 240GB goes by pretty fast.
    Reply
  • samuelohagan
    I think they should have compared the benchmarks with Q4 $1000 pc.
    Reply
  • lightofhonor
    It actually plays Skyrim WORSE than the $800 build...
    Reply
  • dscudella
    It's the same PC as the $800 build except they just swapped out the HDD for an SSD. Dissappointing.
    Reply
  • where do you order your PC parts?
    Reply
  • Crashman
    mayankleoboy1The only thing i could have tried to change in this build was to get a 64GB SSD , get a 500GB HDD , and if i have any money left, try to get a HD7950.Otherwise, not much wriggle room here. Nice build!No point, We Like Our Games To Load Fast!!!Chairman RayI'm not sure if having an SSD without an HDD is an attractive option for most people. 240GB goes by pretty fast.Programs can eat most of a 240GB drive up. In fact, I just shrunk a copy of the test suite, with OS and games, to 132 GB.

    Using the drive performance measurement to reflect program load times means loading all the programs on the SSD. And that explains why SSD capacity wasn't sacrificed to make more room in the budget for an HDD.
    lightofhonorIt actually plays Skyrim WORSE than the $800 build...Nobody knows why, but the $800 PC did use a newer GPU driver.dscudellaIt's the same PC as the $800 build except they just swapped out the HDD for an SSD. Dissappointing.So it's going to lose the Day 4 Value Roundup, right?
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    dscudellaIt's the same PC as the $800 build except they just swapped out the HDD for an SSD. Dissappointing.
    Looking from another perspective, these two builds, with two different builders, with $200 difference, just show(again) how much better price/performance wise are Intel CPU's and AMD GPU's.
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    CrashmanNo point, We Like Our Games To Load Fast!!!
    I see your point, but I'd rather see slower game loads and better FPS , than faster game loads and lower FPS. And, the OS is accelerated in both cases anyway.
    Reply