After a short hiatus from Newegg, Hardware Reviewer Brant "THE_BOB" Armstrong has scoured the intarweb for powerful-but-lean components for your budget box. While Editor-in-Chief "Lell" may like his Monthly Monsters, those of us living in a place called reality can't afford them. After all, the more money we save on a PC, the more money we can spend on games (as seen below)!
ASUS P43 ATX Motherboard
EVGA GTX260 Superclocked
Intel E6300 Wolfdale
4GB OCZ PC2 8500
Raidmax Hybrid 530W PSU
Samsung 22x CD/DVD Burner
Western Digital Caviar 320GB 7200rpm
XION Armor X
ASUS P43 ATX Motherboard Link
Sticking to the budget, GN went shopping for a bare essentials motherboard. Packed with six USB 2.0 slots, one PCI Express 2.0 x16, 6 SATA ports, and support for 16GB of RAM at 1066MHz, this $87 motherboard earns a spot in our build.
EVGA GTX260 SuperClocked Link
For this build we picked an updated version of the famed 8800. The GTX 260 will tear up any game out at highest graphics for the price of $190, making this card a no-brainer. Since it ships "superclocked," expect to see higher memory, core, and shader clock speeds than other comparable video cards. 896MB GDDR3 complimented by a 448-bit memory interface means you'll be gaming for at least 2-3 years on this one.
Intel E6300 Wolfdale Link
With the recent price drops on almost all of AMD's hardware, Intel has competetively lowered their prices on some of the stronger processors, such as the E6300. Clocking in at 2.8GHz, the Wolfdale dual-core processor will keep you from bottlenecking your powerful GTX 260, meaning more programs at once, quicker response times overall, and a happier you. Quad-core is great, but for gaming, dual-core is still as strong as ever.
4GB OCZ PC2 8500 Link
As with all builds these days, GN's minimum requirement of 4GB's of RAM stands strong. This is why it should be no surprise that OCZ's 4GB memory running at 1066MHz, backed by 5-6-6-18 timings, and covered with some durable stock heatsinks at the price of $60 guaranteed this memory a spot on our build.
Raidmax Hybrid 530W PSU Link
Call us lame, but we went with old faithful on this one. We decided to go with the same PSU as our last budget build considering its performance simply cannot be beaten for $50.
Samsung 22x CD/DVD Burner Link
With above average speeds at the price of a below average optical drive, this Samsung drive fit nicely into our build.
Read: DVD=16x, CD=48x
Western Digital Caviar 320GB 7200RPM Link
A 320GB capacity will handle all the games a budget gamer needs to worry about and some. WD's Caviar retains a strong average operating speed of 7200 RPM, and has 16MB of cache. Your cash won't be so bad either, because at $50, this HDD easily beats out the competition to make it onto our over-glorified budget build.
XION Armor X Link
Looking fresh in blue, XION's Armor lives up to its name. Your PC will have a protective home to live inside of, but unlike a real Tank, this one has AC. Well, assuming real tanks don't have two front USB slots, a trio of 120mm fans, and fly LED's, that's also unlike a tank. If you are worried that the stock two 120mm fans won't cover your needs, we highly recommend that you drop another $8 on a 120mm fan for the rear (where an expansion slot is present).
~Brant "The_Bob" Armstrong