Motherboard And Memory
Motherboard: Asus H81M-K
Trimming down platform costs was crucial to meeting my goals, and an inexpensive microATX H81 Express-based motherboard represents the entry point to gaming with a fourth-gen Core processor. Considering that my CPU's multiplier is fixed, I don't need high-end features or future-looking expansion from my motherboard. I only want something reliable, freeing up the cash for a beefy graphics card and 8 GB of memory.
Because entry-level parts aren't reviewed as often, I picked Asus' H81M-K due to its popularity on Newegg and positive feedback on community forums.
So what exactly does H81 force you to sacrifice? To begin, there is no overclocking or multi-card support. You also lose Intel’s Rapid Storage and Smart Response Technology. We retain dual-channel DDR3-1600 compatibility, but only across two modules. And although it natively supports USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s, connectivity is limited.
Memory: 8 GB Adata XPG V2 DDR3-1600 AX3U1600W4G9-DGV
In order to get 8 GB into this build, I had to choose between the most affordable kits (after all, prices were up 30% since last quarter). At $70, Adata's kit gave me the best available 1.5 V XMP settings of DDR3-1600 with 9-9-9-24 timings.