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System Builder Marathon Q3 2014: Mainstream Enthusiast PC

Graphics Card, Power Supply And Case

Graphics Card: Zotac AMP! Superclocked GeForce GTX 770

The GeForce GTX 970 launched last week wasn't available (or even public information) back when we ordered the pieces for this build. So, I needed something cheaper than the Radeon R9 290 that wouldn't sacrifice gaming performance. Under $300, the best option was Nvidia's GeForce GTX 770.

I went with Zotac's factory-overclocked model due to its low price, respectable clock rates rated for 1150 base and a typical 1202 MHz GPU Boost frequency, plus 1800 MHz memory, and the hope for additional headroom.

Read Customer Reviews of Zotac's AMP! Superclocked GeForce GTX 770

Selling for $280, Zotac's card serves up impressive frame rates at its price, even though GK104 gets humbled by the GeForce GTX 970 overshadowing it today. Still, Nvidia's Kepler architecture remains quite capable, and I expect this implementation to power through our benchmark suite. At least until I start running the three-screen resolutions, that is.

Power Supply: In Win GreenMe 650 W

Read Customer Reviews of InWin's GreenMe 650 W

In Win combines solid power delivery with attractive value, enabled by manufacturing its own products. I've seen recommendations to try the GreenMe 650 W and, given the need to fit more output into my budget this quarter, I decided to try my luck with a $60 supply.

Case: Cooler Master HAF XM

Read Customer Reviews of Cooler Master's HAF XM

Cooler Master's HAF series is synonymous with airflow, making it an ideal choice for my overclocking-oriented build. I've worked previously with the excellent HAF X. But that monstrous case costs almost $200 and I needed something more budget-friendly.

With that in mind, I decided to give the smaller HAF XM a try to see what compromises are made in shrinking this lauded line-up down to the $120 range.