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System Builder Marathon, Sept. 2011: $1000 Enthusiast PC

CPU, Motherboard, And Cooler

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K

There’s still no viable alternative to the Core i5-2500K in our thousand-dollar enthusiast build. This is a CPU that holds onto the best price, performance, and overclocking values we've seen, and it's almost a year old already!

With four execution cores running at 3.3 GHz and spinning up to 3.7 GHz with a single core active in Turbo Boost mode, plus 6 MB of L3 cache, this efficient 32 nm chip has no equal in the $200 price range. If you’d like to learn more check out our Core i5-2500K launch coverage.

Read Customer Reviews of Intel's Core i5-2500K

Motherboard: EVGA P67 Micro SLI

While MSI showed us a good time with its P67A-G43 in last quarter's SBM for a low $130 price tag, we wanted to mix things up a bit this month. So, we're going with EVGA’s P67 Micro SLI.

We don’t really need the extra space inside the chassis. But when we started filling in our shopping list, this Micro ATX model was one of the most affordable options with two x8 PCIe slots. At today's price of $150 it has more competition. But it will be interesting to see how the board fares, regardless.

Read Customer Reviews of EVGA's P67 Micro SLI

CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper TX3

We’re trying to make space in our budget for the SSD drive, so we need an inexpensive, yet high-performance CPU cooler. At $19.80, we've seen Cooler Master’s Hyper TX3 do a decent job for us in the past, and we’re employing it in our current build.

Read Customer Reviews of Cooler Master's Hyper TX3