Description: Powered by a Core i5-2500k, this mid-sized desktop has officially entered enthusiast territory. Go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back. Go ahead, no one will care if it looks weird... Of course, this powerhouse CPU means you get the best gaming performance avaiable out of a mid-priced CPU. Non-gaming performance is also excellent, thanks to the quad-core design of the chip. The K series CPUs from Intel are also overclockable, meaning that you get an automatic extension on the life of you machine. A year or two from now, if you decide you need more power, go in the BIOS, bump up the multiplier to 40 or so, and you get a nice 4.9 GHz quad core CPU in less than 30 seconds. RAM is 8GB, upgradable to more. A beefy 600W power supply provides plenty of clean efficient power for this machine. Since this PC is overclockable, a high-performance CPU cooler is included in the build. The 7950 is factory-overclocked a nice 100MHz to give an out-of-the-box boost to gaming performance.
Note: MicroCenter has these CPUs on sale at ridiculous prices. If you have a store nearby, I'd recommend you get your CPU and motherboard there for even more savings (easily $100 less than other retailers).
Expect excellent 2560x1600 performance out of most games at high settings and good performance with multiple HD monitors at medium settings.
|RAM||G.Skill 8GB DDR3 1600MHz||$25||---||Newegg|
|Power Supply||OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W||$75||$10||Newegg|
|Hard Drive||WD Caviar Black 500GB||$70||---||Newegg|
|Graphics||Gigabyte Radeon HD 7950||$265||---||Amazon Warehouse|
|CPU + Cooler||Intel Core i5-2500k||XIGMATEK Gaia SD1283||$210||---||Newegg|
SSD: Budget-friendly SSD substitutions remain the same as from the $300 and $500 builds. 60GB should be able to hold your OS, basic applications, and 3 - 6 full games. If you're willing to go slightly over budget, $90-$100 will get you a 90GB or 120GB SSD.
|Crucial M4 64GB||$66||---||Amazon|
|Samsung 830 64GB||$63||---||Amazon|
|Kingston HyperX 3K 90GB||$88||---||Amazon|
|Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB||$100||---||Amazon|
|Sandisk Extreme 120GB||$100||---||Amazon|
|Intel 330 120GB||$100||---||Amazon|
|Intel 330 180GB||$100||---||Newegg|