Graphics Card And Hard Drive
Graphics Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 760 2 GB 02G-P4-2760-KR
For a while, Tahiti LE-based Radeon HD 7870s were all the rage in mid-range graphics. In fact, in the first half of this year, three of our System Builder Marathon machines were outfitted with one, while a fourth bonus build sported two in CrossFire.
With limited models to choose from, those more potent Radeon HD 7870s were very often out of stock. Soon after, Nvidia attacked that price point with a faster GeForce GTX 760, and I immediately targeted higher-end graphics for our next $650 gaming PC.
AMD's Radeon HD 7950 now sells for even less. But at the time we picked our parts, the GeForce GTX 760 was more affordable.
The EVGA GeForce GTX 760 we picked includes a 980 MHz base and 1033 MHz GPU Boost frequency rating, plus 2 GB of GDDR5 at 1502 MHz (6008 MT/s). Although the components are packed onto a 6.75” PCB, the card is fitted with an overhanging blower-style cooler and measures 9.5” long. This comes in particularly handy for our PC, since we didn't want heat from our GPU affecting our configuration's ambient temperature.
Hard Drive: WD Blue WD10EZEX 1 TB
A nifty sale on Western Digital’s Blue-series 1.0 TB drive supplied us ample storage capacity and performance at a very low cost. This SATA 6.0Gb/s mechanical drive has 64MB cache, 7200 RPM spindle rotation, and comes with a limited 2-year warranty.