System Builder Marathon Q1 2015: Mainstream Enthusiast PC

Power Supply, Case, Memory, Storage And Optical

Power Supply: EVGA 600B

One of the GeForce GTX 970's advantages is low power usage, giving us the opportunity to save a few dollars on a lower-output PSU. EVGA's 600B has a good reliability rating. And for $55, it doesn't break the bank.

Read Customer Reviews of EVGA's 600B

Case: Cooler Master HAF XB Evo

Read Customer Reviews of Cooler Master's HAF XB Evo

Cooler Master markets the HAF XB Evo primarily as a LAN box. But when I look at it, I see a well-built and cost-effective test bench with convenient handles. Really, this is one of my favorite sub-$100 cases, and I'm so glad this article gave me a reason to try it out.

Memory: G.Skill Ares series DDR3-2133 8GB Memory Kit

With impressive 9-11-10-28 timings at 1.65 V, I was surprised to see G.Skill's Ares kit just below $75. There's not much more to say except that G. Skill's solid ratio of aggressive pricing and proven performance makes the company an obvious choice here, just as it was last quarter.

Read Customer Reviews of G.Skill's Ares DDR3-2133 8 GB Kit

System Drive: PNY Optima 240GB

At $90, PNY's Optima offers us 240GB of solid-state space, which of course means great performance, too. It's nice to have the extra capacity when I'm so used to 120GB SSDs. That means I have more room for performance-sensitive software.

Read Customer Reviews of PNY's Optima 240 GB SSD

Hard Drive: Western Digital Blue 1TB Hard Drive

Armed with a relatively small boot SSD (hey, 240GB still isn't much), I needed more capacity for music, movies and pictures. Western Digital's Blue 1TB drive is the solution when all you need is affordable space. You can't beat that $55 price tag either, particularly from a 7200 RPM disk.

Read Customer Reviews of Western Digital's Blue 1TB Hard Drive

Optical Drive: Pioneer BDC-207DBK OEM Blu-ray Burner

With Blu-ray drives at $45, who needs $20 DVD-ROMs? The rest of the components in this build are already a step up, so I didn't want to blast off with a cheap optical drive weighing me down. Pioneer's reasonably-priced OEM Blu-ray burner does the trick.

Read Customer Reviews of Pioneer's BDC-207DBK OEM Blu-ray Drive

  • hausman
  • Grognak
    Your builds are getting more and more expensive.
  • tom10167
    Looks pretty good but get a Black Series for $20 more
  • g-unit1111
    Honestly I would go optical drive less and get a H440 or something similar. Was it a requirement to spend $50 on the blu-ray burner?
  • damric
    Dear God, why another junk Compucase PSU?

    And why a PNY SSD? Save the packaging for that. You will need it for RMA.

    With a budget that large there is no room for parts with high failure rates.
  • de5_Roy
    nice build. my only nitpick is about the motherboard. would choosing a xeon e3 12xx v3 have led to better mobo and/or gfx card and/or psu?
  • cknobman
    Waiting for the day one of you SBM folks take your panties off and skips the optical drive.

    We have reached the day and age where optical drives are really not necessary and just eat into budget for more useful things.
  • des99
    how does the math add up?
    $925 Performace hardware +
    $240 case, os and optical $240
  • pepsimtl
    I think cpu I5 K whill do the same job for gamer and least expensive :)
    This motherboard color is so ugly ( same color 1985 pc ) and all the component except for memory . Just look inside the computer depress me
  • Onus
    Given the power numbers (which I think you know enough to have anticipated), even a 450W Rosewill Capstone would have sufficed. I just don't see an EVGA "B" series making it into an enthusiast build; ever.
    I also really don't like seeing 1.65V RAM. Perhaps 1.6V, but allowing for how different motherboards may tweak RAM for stability, already running at 1.65V seems like more of a risk to the Intel IMC than is worthwhile. I'd really prefer to keep at the standard 1.5V.