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System Builder Marathon, June 2011: $2000 Performance PC

CPU Cooler And Optical Drive

Following the theme of new stuff first, we now present the new CPU cooler and optical drive.

CPU Cooler: Xigmatek Gaia SD1283

While our $2000 builds have long relied on the superior cooling performance (per dollar, at least) of Scythe’s SCMG-2100, Newegg increased the price of that part nearly 20% before running out of stock. We wanted to pinpoint another solid value before simply falling back on an old favorite at a higher price, so we dug deep into our CPU Cooling Archives to determine which model offered the best cooling for the money at Newegg’s current prices.

Read Customer Reviews of Xigmatek's Gaia SD1283

Xigmatek’s $30 Gaia SD1283 came out the winner by a fairly large margin, matching Cooler Master’s $40 Hyper 212+ in separate but identical tests.

Optical Drive: LG WH10LS30 BD-RE

We decided to save a little money on the optical drive this month, but still didn’t want to sacrifice Blu-ray capability. LG and Newegg were there for us with an older model, the WH10LS30.

Read Customer Reviews of LG's WH10LS30

Those who own a Blu-ray drive might even be tempted to play a movie once in a while, and for that we need software. Fortunately, this so called “bare OEM” drive comes with an OEM version of Cyberlink Blu-ray Disc Suite. All we really lost for our $30-50 savings is a little bit of write speed, down to 10x from 12x, and that probably won’t be a big issue for most users who only burn discs occasionally.

Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.