Memory, Hard Drive, And Case
Cooler: CoolerMaster HyperTX 2
We've been a fan of the HyperTX 2 for a long time, and our recent cooler comparison highlights why: this cooler has what it takes to go up against some of the best CPU coolers out there for a very low price: $25
Memory: 2 GB Of Wintec AMPO PC2-6400
We still haven't found anything as compelling as the low-cost Wintec AMPO we've used in our past system builder marathons. Prices have dropped of course, and at under $45 for two-1 GB sticks of the stuff, do we have any incentive to move on? It overclocks like crazy and we're happy to use it once again in our low-cost build.
Hard Drive: 500 GB Western Digital WD5000AAJS SATA 7200 RPM
One thing you'll notice is that in each system builder marathon, the storage capacity of the low-cost machine always skyrockets since the last marathon. In the previous low-cost PC we used a 320 GB drive; now 500 GB Caviar drives can be had for under $100. The half-terabyte drive has an 8 MB cache and really delivers space and performance at a low price.
PC Case: NZXT Apollo
In a low-cost case, you aim for functionality and space: style is a bonus. The Apollo offers all three, with good airflow via two large and quiet 120mm fans and tool-less construction. It contains both Intel HD audio or AC'97 audio connectors, which is a nice touch. The Apollo is a bit reminiscent of Alienware's trademark cases, which might be a good or bad thing depending on your point of view and styling preference. Regardless, we're impressed with the Apollo and, weighing in at $70, we think it makes an attractive low-cost case