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System Builder Marathon: $1,250 Mid-Range PC

Power Supply, Optical Drive, And Video Card

Power Supply: Corsair 650TX

Corsair’s TX650 is garnering a strong reputation for efficiency and the ability to deliver more power under load, and we’re going to put that reputation to the test with the Core i7 CPU and 4850 X2 video card when we overclock.

Read Customer Reviews of Corsair's 650TX

Features of this PSU include 52 amps on a single, powerful 12 V rail, an honest 80 PLUS certified efficiency rating, and an active PFC. For $100, this is a good, reliable power supply for this month’s enthusiast PC.

Optical Drive: LG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner SATA Model GH20NS15


Read Customer Reviews of LG's GH20NS15

This month we’re trying LG’s OEM SATA optical drive. For about $23, the GH20NS15 has a decent 20x DVD reading speed that we appreciate in a budget OEM drive.

Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 X2

Read Customer Reviews of Sapphire’s Radeon HD 4850 X2 2 GB

With the knowledge that we were going up against last month’s Radeon HD 4870 X2, we needed to find something cheaper that would keep us in the same gaming league as AMD’s flagship card. We came upon the perfect substitute with Sapphire’s Radeon HD 4850 X2.

The specifications of AMD’s X2 cards are functionally identical, with two RV770 GPUs and 2 GB of video memory. The 4850 X2’s core and memory clock speeds are lower of course, but we’re looking at this from the perspective that the 4850 X2 should overclock higher. And the $200 we saved by choosing the 4850 X2 instead of its more expensive sibling went a long way in making the cost of the two systems comparable.

On a side note, the Sapphire card included some nifty bonus software with the card such as a full version of 3DMark Vantage and PowerDVD 7.