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System Builder Marathon, Dec. 2011: $600 Gaming PC

Graphics Card And Hard Drive

Graphics Card: Sapphire 100314-3L Radeon HD 6870 1 GB

Radeon HD 6870 prices hadn’t budged in three months. Meanwhile, Radeon HD 6850 models were getting cheaper by the day. So, I was a bit torn when it came time to choose a video card for this quarter. In the end, I squelched my bargain-hunting tendencies and decided we needed to maintain the level of graphics performance seen last time around. The same Sapphire card we used back then offers reference core and memory clocks, along with familiar output connectivity.

Read Customer Reviews of Sapphire's Radeon HD 6870 1 GB

The bundle includes a DVI-to-VGA adapter, two PCIe Molex power adapters (one of which we need to use), and a DiRT 3 game coupon. Unfortunately, there's no bundled Crossfire bridge.

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda ST3500413AS 500 GB

The Seagate Barracuda ST3500413AS was used back in June 2011’s system, and it's basically identical to the drive used in September's gaming PC. It offers 500 GB of capacity, a 7200 RPM spindle, a SATA 6Gb/s interface, and 16 MB of cache. As mentioned earlier, we've seen this drive's price skyrocket somewhere between $90 and $115 recently!

Read Customer Reviews of Seagate's Barracuda ST3500413AS 500 GB