System Builder Marathon: Mid-Cost System

Cooler, Memory, Hard Drive, And Case

Cooler : CoolerMaster HyperTX 2

At a low price of $25, the CoolerMaster HyperTX 2 seems like a chintzy choice for a mid-range system. But the proof is in the performance, and like Han Solo’s Millenium Falcon, she may not look like much but she’s got it where it counts. Spending more wouldn’t necessarily provide us with a better cooling solution, so we’ll stick with our trusty HyperTX 2.

Memory : 4 GB Of Crucial Ballistix DDR2 800 PC2-6400

Crucial Ballistix has performed very well in our labs, and with four 1 GB sticks costing as little as $128, it’s a steal. Yes, we know Vista 32-bit will only utilize a maximum of 3 GB of that, but using four 1 GB sticks allows us to run the RAM in dual-channel mode.

Hard Drive : 1x Western Digital Raptor 150 GB, And 1x Western Digital Caviar 500 GB

Using the 150 GB Raptor allows us to get some very high transfer speeds, and we were interested in seeing how this configuration will stack up against the RAID system that will be used in the high-end machine later in the marathon. The Raptor is a pricey experiment at $170 for the drive, but we’re willing to pay the price to see what the Raptor can do. For increased storage we’ve added a regular 500 GB Caviar as a secondary drive for $95, giving us a total of 650 GB of storage.

PC Case : Antec Nine Hundred

The Antec Nine Hundred PC case offers unique style, silence, and some very impressive case airflow that we hope will help our overclocking efforts. With the PSU on the bottom of the case instead of the traditional top, air going to the PSU isn’t pre-heated by the CPU. In addition, with two large fans pushing cool fresh air in front, and a large fan on top of the CPU directing hot air straight up where it wants to go, the Antec Nine Hundred should certainly move case temperatures in the direction we want them to be.

  • crites
    Why wouldn't you put 1066MHz (PC2-8500) memory on this machine?
  • OS43
    I assume they are using Cas 4 memory, which you are not going to find in this price range at PC2-8500.
  • AngryClown
    This build is identical to my current rig, except I chose an 8800GT, and the Q6600 oc'd to 2.88. It plows through AVCHD editing, and Oblivion.

    I spent weeks researching the best price points. Good job guys.