CPU, Motherboard, And Cooler
CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K
Again, one of the ways I'm mixing things up this quarter is tapping a higher-end Core i7-4770K instead of the field-proven Core i5-4670K.
While both processors sport four physical IA cores, the Core i7 benefits from Intel's Hyper-Threading technology, which allows it to schedule up to eight threads concurrently. In addition, it hosts 8 MB of shared L3 cache. That's 2 MB more than the Core i5.
With similar clock rates compared to the Core i5-4670K (the i7 actually offers a 100 MHz-faster base and peak Turbo Boost frequency), our benchmark results should give us a clear picture of where the Core i7's strengths come into play, and where the extra cost goes to waste.
For the sake of my Day 4 judgement, I have to hope spending $320 on host processing pays off.
Motherboard: ASRock Z87 Pro3
This is one of the lowest-priced motherboards available with Intel's overclocking-friendly Z87 Express Platform Controller Hub, on sale at the time of writing for $90 on Newegg.
Honestly, I don't have any experience with this board. But considering ASRock's good reputation for enthusiast-oriented value, I'm willing to give it a shot for the money I'll be saving.
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
Cooler Master's Hyper 212 EVO is one of the better air coolers for enthusiasts on a budget. I've used it before in the System Builder Marathon, and my results with it have always been respectable.
Currently on sale for $35, this seems like an inexpensive replacement for the heat sink and fan combo that Intel bundles with its Core i7 CPU, which I wouldn't expect to yield much overclocking headroom.