Processor And Memory
CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K
Intel’s Sandy Bridge-based processors have the highest per-core, per-clock performance of any desktop CPU we could buy. These are also some of the most scalable chips Intel has ever produced. Unfortunately, achieving a high overclock requires an unlocked K-series model, of which only two are available (and the other is a Core i5). We snagged the flagship Core i7 version.
The advantages Intel’s Core i7-2600K has over the Core i5-2500K include Hyper Threading technology, which enabled two logical cores for every physical core, an extra 100 MHz of clock rate, and 2 MB of shared last-level cache.
We’ve heard that Core i7-2600K also gets Intel’s top-binned parts, so that might give this one a little extra overclocking capability. Added together, those advantages need to be worth at least $95 to cover the difference in price.
Memory: G.Skill DDR3-1866 CAS 9
We’ve been using G.Skill’s low-cost DDR3-1600 CAS 8 for a few builds, but those parts were out of stock when we ordered today’s system. We chose its F3-14900CL9D-8GBXL DDR3-1866 CAS 9 kit as a suitable replacement, though we didn't necessarily count on this kit giving us better memory.
The price difference between the formerly-used parts and this higher-rated version was only around $5-$10—depending on the day of the order. But this order was placed immediately prior to our most recent round-up. We can only hope that these parts overclock better than that story's fastest award-winning model.