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System Builder Marathon, Dec. 2011: $1200 Enthusiast PC

Video Cards, Power Supply, And Case

Video Cards: 2 x Gigabyte Radeon HD 6950 1 GB in CrossFire

We’re giving this system tremendous graphics muscle by arming it with a pair of Gigabyte Radeon HD 6950 1 GB cards in CrossFire. Our biggest concern is that the FX-based platform will bottleneck this very potent combination of boards. For $480, there’s aren't too many options out there able to surge past these cards.

Read Customer Reviews of Gigabyte's Radeon HD 6950 1 GB

Power Supply: Corsair TX650 V2

Read Customer Reviews of Corsair's TX650 V2

We tried to skimp a little on the power supply in our last build, and we learned a lesson when it didn’t include as many PCIe power connectors as we would have liked.

Consequently, we’re falling back to our safe standby selection, Corsair's TX650, recently updated to version V2. At $95, it offers a very stable, reliable source of power for the system.

PC Case: Rosewill Challenger-U3

Read Customer Reviews of Rosewill's Challenger-U3

We decided to try a Rosewill case this time around, and we were pleasantly surprised with the Challenger-U3. The low $50 purchase price includes two 120 mm fans, plus a single 140 mm blower.

This well-built enclosure is as attractive as it is functional, reminiscent of more expensive models from other case manufacturers.