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System Builder Marathon, August 2012: $1000 Enthusiast PC

Memory, Hard Drives, And Optical Drive

Memory: Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600 Memory Kit

Our readers want to see 8 GB of overclockable memory in our mid-range enthusiast build. So, we're obliging, even if it pushes us a little over our budget. Priced at $55, this kit boasts fairly tight 8-8-8-24 timings, and we look forward to seeing how scalable it might be in our ASRock motherboard.

Read Customer Reviews of Mushkin's Enhanced Blackline 8 GB DDR3-1600 Kit

SSD: OCZ Agility 3 AGT-25SAT3-60G 60 GB

Read Customer Reviews of OCZ's Agility 3 60 GB SSD

A solid-state drive is one of the most significant upgrades you can drop into your PC. And, for a mere $60, OCZ’s Agility 3 gives us enough space for our operating system and a few performance-sensitive applications.

It's not the fastest model available, and it's certainly not very large. But our tests demonstrate that even a mediocre SSD is many, many times more responsive than a conventional hard disk.

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 750 GB 32 MB Cache

Read Customer Reviews of Seagate's Barracuda 750 GB

With a fast SSD providing quick access to the files needed to boot-up quickly, we picked Seagate's 750 GB Barracuda for our storage drive. It’s a decent performer and reasonably priced at $70.

Optical Drive: Samsung SH-222BB/BEBE 22x DVD-ROM

Read Customer Reviews of Samsung's SH-222BB/BEBE DVD-ROM

We didn’t pick this "bebe" for its name. We chose it because it was selling for $15 when we bought it, and we needed to save every penny possible.