Fractal Define R4 Black Pearl ($80): Fractal is known for its commitment to discreet, quiet cases that generally fit a more home-friendly size spec. The R4 has been around the block, but it's still a solid performer at its $80 price-point. The enclosure is best-known for its ease of installation features, sound damping solutions, and discretion of design.
PNY CS2111 240GB SSD ($90): Priced just below $0.40/GB, PNY's new CS2111 SSD – previewed by our team at GTC – makes for an affordable primary SSD in systems demanding fast boot times. The drive uses the matured SATA III interface and will be interface-limited in its sequential read speeds, capped at ~555MB/s, and pushes a reasonable ~70K IOPS when using the common 4KB I/O length.
ASUS VK278Q 27” 1080p Display ($230): Apply code “EMCATKW39” at checkout for an additional $30 off; coupled with the $20 MIR, this ASUS display comes down to $230 all totaled. The display is a 27”, 1080p unit with a quick 2ms response time. The specs make it ideal for gaming that doesn't need to exceed 1080p, but where the user might want more physical viewing space. A webcam is built into the display.
XFX R9 290X 4GB Video Card ($270): Use promo code “EMCATKX36” at checkout for 10% off and send in the $30 MIR for a final price of ~$270. The R9 290X was found to outperform or equally match the new $330 R9 390 video card and, in our testing, had more stable performance. We can safely and strongly recommend an R9 290X at this price-point.
Check back throughout the week for in-depth hardware reviews and analysis.
- Steve “Lelldorianx” Burke.