Graphics Card And Hard Drive
Graphics Card: Gigabyte Radeon R9 280X GV-R928XOC-3GD
The desire to grab a powerful Radeon R9 280X for $300 was what prompted me to ask for a higher budget. It was hard to accept that the Radeon HD 7950 was my cap when the near-equivalent of a Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition was within my grasp for $50 more.
Unfortunately, right around the same time, crypto-currency miners rushed the market after figuring out how well Hawaii- and Tahiti-based boards generated Litecoins. Suddenly, 280X cards were selling for at least $100 more, and that's where they continue to sit today. As I write this, our money would be better spent on a GeForce GTX 770.
Read Customer Reviews of Gigabyte's Radeon R9 280X (opens in new tab)
As you're probably aware from Chris Angelini’s AMD Radeon R9 280X, R9 270X, And R7 260X: Old GPUs, New Names, the 280X isn't really new. In stock form, it’s equivalent to a Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition with a lower core clock rate. But it employs a full Tahiti GPU with 2048 Stream processors, 128 texture units, 32 ROPs, and 3 GB of GDDR5 memory on an aggregate 384-bit memory bus. Our model from Gigabyte offers an overclocked 1100 MHz frequency ceiling.
Hard Drive: Western Digital Blue WD10EZEX 1 TB
Western Digital’s Blue-series 1 TB hard drive gives us ample capacity and performance at a price I could work into my budget.
This SATA 6Gb/s-compatible disk sports a 64 MB data cache, a 7200 RPM spindle, and a limited two-year warranty.
Read Customer Reviews of Western Digital's Blue 1 TB Hard Drive (opens in new tab)