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System Builder Marathon Q3 2014: Budget Gaming PC

Graphics Card And Hard Drive

Graphics Card: Sapphire Dual-X Radeon R9 270 2 GB

My budget didn’t allow a jump all the way up to a Radeon R9 270X without adding mail-in rebates, so I had to settle for the lower-clocked Curacao GPU instead.

Read Customer Reviews of Sapphire's Dual-X Radeon R9 270

Although Sapphire's Dual-X card bumps the graphics core up to 945 MHz with Boost, it follows AMD's reference design by only outfitting a single 6-pin power connector and leaving the 2 GB of GDDR5 memory at 1400 MHz (5600 MT/s). Of course, we don’t plan to settle for the puny factory overclock.

Hard Drive: Western Digital Blue WD10EZEX 1 TB

Western Digital’s Blue-series 1 TB hard drive gives us ample storage capacity and performance at a price we can usually squeeze into our budget. Doubling capacity for just $5 increases our gigabyte per dollar value. Though it doesn't affect performance, all of that space comes in handy if you're installing lots of games and storing your own pictures and videos.

Read Customer Reviews of WD's Blue 1 TB

This SATA 6Gb/s mechanical drive has 64 MB of data cache, a 7200 RPM spindle, and a limited two-year warranty.