Intel CPU: Core i5-2300 (2.8GHz) w/ Bundled Cooling
Current Cost: $180
For our Intel CPU recommendation, were once again going with the 2.8GHz i5-2300 Sandy Bridge processor. With 6MB of L3 cache and 256KB on each of its four cores, this quad-core processor offers plenty of power at a price of only $180.
AMD Motherboard: ASUS M4A87TD EVO (AMD 870)
Current Price: $103
The ASUS M4A87TD EVO, with AMD 870 and AMD SB850 chipsets, offers two PCIe 2.0 x16slots, four memory slots (with a max of 16GB of RAM), six USB 2.0 ports in the rear (plus six more mid-board), two USB 3.0 ports, gigabit LAN, integrated 8-channel audio, and six SATA 6Gb/s connections.
Intel Motherboard: MSI P67A-G43 (P67)
Current Price: $100
This MSI P67A-G43, with a P67 chipset, offers two PCI-E slots, two PCIe 2.0 x16 slots, four memory slots (with support for up to 32GB of RAM), two USB 3.0 ports, eight USB 2.0 ports, gigabit LAN, integrated 8-channel audio, and two SATA 6GB/s connections.
Memory: G.SKILL F3-10600CL9D-4GBPK 2 x 2GB kit
Current Price: $25
The 4GB G.SKILL kit once again remains our choice for both of our builds should offer plenty of memory for an entry-level gaming machine. In each of our builds, though, this will leave two memory slots available. So users who find themselves needing (or just wanting) more will have room to grow.
Hard Drive: Hitachi HDS721050CLA362 500GB (Bare Drive)
Current Price: $100
With hard drive prices having gone up, weve had to scale back our recommendation. Luckily, this 7200rpm 500GB should still offer plenty of storage space and performance for an entry-level gaming system.
Optical Drive Lite On DVD±RW iHAS124-04 (OEM)
Current Price: $19
This DVD burner, from Lite On, has a 2MB buffer and offers read speeds of 16X on DVD-ROM and 48x on CD-ROM. Its burning speeds, meanwhile, go up to 24X on DVD+r and DVD-R, 48X on CD-R, and 32X on CD-RW.
Video Card: HIS Radeon H667FN1GD HD 6770
Current Price: $105
This RADEON HD 6770 from HIS offers plenty bang for buck at its $105 price. And with rebate deals, this and other models can be had for even less. So keep checking prices for this and other models as you go through your build.
LCD: Acer X223WDbd Black 22" 5ms 1680x1050
Current Price: $130
The 22 Acer X223WDbd offers plenty of screen size and decent performance for its price of $130. It offers a 5ms response time, 1000:1 contrast ratio, and 1680x1050 resolution. Connections include an analog connector and a DVI port.
Sound Card: Integrated
Current Price: $0
Logitech LS21 Speaker System
Current Price: $20
Given our $900 budget, we once again decided to forego a dedicated sound card and make do with the integrated 8-channel chipset that each of our selected motherboards comes with. Paired with the Logitech LS21 speaker system, though, were still left with some darned good sound for a price of only $20.