Graphics, Case, And Power
Graphics Cards: PNY Liquid Cooled GTX 580s in SLI
We were terribly disappointed by the GPU overclocking capabilities of our previous $2000 build, but should have expected what we found, given then we used cards from a company famous for binning its top cards to sell as more expensive models.
Those cards were purchased for their exceptional warranty, rather than their overclocking headroom. This time, however, we put performance first.
With proven overclocking capability, PNY’s liquid cooled GeForce GTX 580s came to mind when we were putting together a system specifically designed to highlight overclocked value. Its XLR8 VCGGTX580XPB-LC includes a single-thickness radiator and single fan (Antec H2O 620 equivalent) with a custom GPU-mounted pump, while its VCGGTX580XPB-LC-CPU uses the double-thick two-fan radiator and CPU-mounted water pump found in Antec’s H2O 920. Yes, that's a graphics card that can cool the CPU!
Case: Fractal Design Arc Midi
Pleasing results from our recent MicroATX Gaming Build round-up compelled us to take a closer look at one of the contender's bigger brother, Fractal Design’s Arc Midi.
Designed to hold a double-120 mm-fan radiator on top, our pair of single-fan radiators fit using alternative placement.
Power: Mushkin Joule 1000 W Gold
We wanted something a little bigger and more-efficient than our previously-chosen SeaSonic 850W Silver unit and found an excellent price in Mushkin’s MKNPSJL1000.
Though Mushkin’s original Joule power supply earned a somewhat-mixed reputation, support for the later Gold version is nearly unanimous among its reviewers. Distrust for its predecessor might have driven down the price of the improved product, but we have enough faith in the newer 80 PLUS Gold-rated part to treat its low cost as a value bonus.