System Builder Marathon, March 2011: $1000 Enthusiast PC

CPU, Motherboard, And Cooler

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K

The Core i5-2500K has it all: fantastic stock quad-core performance, superlative overclocking headroom bolstered by an unlocked multiplier, and a reasonable $220 price tag. With 6 MB of cache, it gives up 2 MB compared to the Core i5-700-series chip it’s replacing, but the high 3.3 GHz (3.7 GHz max. Turbo Boost) clocks, efficient 32 nm manufacturing process, and Sandy Bridge architecture more than make up for that cache deficit.

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

Check out our Core i5-2500K launch review here.

Motherboard: ASRock P67 Extreme4

In our P67 Motherboard Roundup, the ASRock P67 Extreme4 managed the highest memory overclock and second-best efficiency. It also comes loaded with attractive extra features like three PCIe x16 slots, dual USB 3.0 controllers, and four 6Gb/s SATA ports. Those extra ports allow us to completely avoid the 3Gb/s SATA issue associated with the Cougar Point chipset.

Priced at $152.99, this board is a value leader in the P67 segment. Unfortunately, if you’re interested in one, you’ll have to wait until the new revision with the fixed chipset hits retail. In the meantime, Asus' similarly-priced P8P67 is a viable alternative.

CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus

Read Customer Reviews of Cooler Master's Hyper 212 Plus

The Cooler Master Hyper 212 is an easy pick, with its 120 mm fan and four direct-contact heat pipes. It is both quiet and capable, especially considering the budget $30 price tag.

  • americanherosandwich
    That is one funky looking case. Great $1k system!
  • toxxel
    That case is a behemoth.
  • dirtmountain
    After seeing that case i was afraid for Princess Leia.
  • cangelini
    dirtmountainAfter seeing that case i was afraid for Princess Leia.
  • Darkerson
    Crazy looking case, but nice system overall!
  • _Pez_
    for 1k usd seems to be a cheap system.. hmm nice review, is good to see that new processors are really efficient even when overclocked bad about the 22cm cooler of the side panel of that funny case. My Armor+ has exactly the same issue with a V6gt cooler and I decided to go back to my hyper212+ :D.
  • ava__
    you forgot to add the cost of your beloved Windows
  • Crashman
  • Mark Heath
    9511317 said:
    Good to see the Tom's team is on the same page XD
  • AkIRA_22
    that has to be the ugliest case I've ever seen in my life. At the end of the day the case is 100% taste, to 'recommend' a case is futile.