Graphics And Memory
Graphics: 2x Gigabyte Radeon HD 6870 in CrossFire
Launched a few days after we ordered our original $2000 build, tests proved that AMD’s HD 6870 is a top contender in its price segment. This architecture showed specific strengths in the benchmarks used for our System Builder Marathon, though its better-value price was soon matched by Nvidia's GeForce GTX 470.
Firm in our belief that a pair of HD 6870 graphics cards would give our alterative build a performance edge over the original $2000 PC, we only needed to pick a supplier. That wasn’t hard, since Gigabyte’s cards were the only ones in-stock on the day of our order.
Now that Newegg’s shelves are filled with an assortment of models, readers looking for even more value in a similar build can base their decision on price, cooling design, add-ins, and clock rate, rather than availability.
Memory: Kingston DDR3-1600 CAS 7
We got burned on the memory of our original $2000 build, buying what we thought would be Micron D9KPT-based modules and ending up with unbranded chips that wouldn’t overclock at all. This builder loves using under-rated parts when they’re similarly under-priced, but lacking that opportunity, chose the next-best value, Kingston’s KHX1600C7D3K3/6GX.
Putting the disappointment of our previous build behind us, we selected these DDR3-1600 CAS 7 modules based on prior overclocking experience. Backed by one of the industry’s few “most trusted” brands, Kingston’s standard-height HyperX modules are significantly quicker than the firm’s extended-height DDR3-1600 T1 version.