Memory, Drives, Case and Power
Memory: 8GB G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3 1600 F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL
In each of my budget-oriented gaming PCs, the goal is to find 8GB of memory in a dual-channel configuration without breaking the bank. This quarter, CAS 11 modules could have saved some money, but I instead grabbed a popular kit from G.Skill that sports an XMP profile at DDR3-1600 with CL9-9-9-24 timings.
Hard Drive: Western Digital WD Blue WD10EZEX 1TB
Western Digital’s Blue-series 1TB disks hits the capacity-per-dollar sweet spot, yielding ample capacity and performance at a price we can usually squeeze into our budget.
This SATA 6Gb/s mechanical drive has 64MB cache, a 7200 RPM spindle and a limited two-year warranty.
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK SATA 24X DVD Burner
Optical drives aren't necessary for a lot of folks, but we're inclined to believe you’ll still want one occasionally. This quarter, adding an internal model like Asus' 24x burner only set me back $20.
Case: NZXT Source 210 Elite Black
While the components inside determine whether this machine outperforms or falters in the latest games, you have to live with the enclosure's aesthetics every day. To look the part of a gaming PC, I sunk my surplus budget into the Source 210 Elite from NZXT. Able to house full-size ATX motherboards, a bottom-mounted power supply, eight internal hard drives and up to six cooling fans, it would seem overkill for our modest selection of components. But USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports (one of each) enable the front-panel connectivity we need, and the two bundled exhaust fans will come in handy for keeping our tuned Radeon card running cool.
Power Supply: EVGA 100-W1-500-KR 500W
EVGA's 100-W1-500-KR sports a pair of 6+2-pin PCI Express power leads, alleviating the need for an inelegant adapter for our Radeon graphics card. This 500W unit comes with a three-year warranty, is 80 PLUS-certified and is rated to deliver up to 40A on the +12V rail.