CPU, Motherboard, And Cooler
CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K
Intel's Core i5 is still a top choice when it comes to nailing the price to performance ratio for gaming, and the Haswell-based -4670 is the company's newest addition in a family of sub-$250 multiplier-unlocked CPUs.
This is the same processor we put to the test in last quarter's mid-range build, so don't expect to see much difference when it comes to our productivity-oriented benchmarks.
I'm most curious to see if this retail sample overclocks any better than the one we used last time, which capped out at 4.3 GHz and enjoyed the benefit of a closed-loop cooling system.
Motherboard: Asus Z87-Plus
At $160, Asus' Z87-Plus is significantly cheaper than most top-tier LGA 1150 motherboards, many of which sell for more than $200.
This board is no slouch though; it sports a solid reputation for overclocking reliably. And so I'm giving it a chance to prove itself in this quarter's System Builder Marathon.
CPU Cooler: Enermax ETS-T40
We saved some money by going with an affordable heat sink and fan instead of a closed-loop liquid cooler. Hopefully, in a chassis with decent airflow, this won't limit our overclocking headroom.
Enermax's ETS-T40 offers particularly good value with excellent cooling ability attributable to its large 120 mm fan and copper heat pipes, and is especially attractive thanks to a very reasonable $35 price tag.