Intel CPU: Core i7-2600K (3.4GHz)
Current Cost: $314
For our Intel build, our choice remains the Core i7-2600K, a four-core processor with 1MB of L2 cache (256KB per core) and 8MB of L2 cache. And as with our AMD recommendation, this Intel processor offers solid performance that you can improve further by overclocking it.
Cooling: Cooler Master Hyper N 520 92mm Sleeve CPU Cooler (RR-920-N520-GP)
Current Cost: $30
We've decided to recommend another CPU cooling solution in this edition, going with the Cooler Master Hyper N 520. This unit works well for Intel and AMD builds alike, offering 43.8 CFM of air flow.
AMD Motherboard: ASUS Sabertooth (990FX)
Current Price: $185
We've updated our AMD motherboard pick as well, replacing our previous ASUS recommendation with another of the company's offerings. Also powered by the 990FX and SB950 chipsets, the ASUS Sabertooth 990FX motherboard offers four PCI-E 2.0 slots, four memory slots (with a max of 32GB of RAM), Gigabit LAN, integrated audio and six SATA 6Gb/s connections. And those looking to get the most bang for their money in terms of performance will be happy to learn that this motherboard makes overclocking easier.
Intel Motherboard: MSI P67A-GD65 (P67)
Current Price: $160
Meanwhile, our motherboard recommendation for the Intel build remains the MSI P67A-GD65. The MSI P67A-GD65 is an LGA 1155 chipset motherboard that is powered by the Intel P67 chipset. It offers two PCI-E 2.0 x 16 slots, three PXI Express x1 slots, four memory slots (with support for up to 32GB of RAM), two USB 3.0 ports, eight USB 2.0 ports, two e-SATA ports, one IEEE1394 ports, gigabit LAN, integrated audio, four SATA 3GB/s connections and four SATA 6Gb/s connections. And overclocking, finally, is made easier by the addition of MSI's OC Genie II.
Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB 2 x 4GB Kit (F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM)
Current Price: $75
After months of sticking with our previous memory recommendation, we decided an update was overdue. As with our previous recommendation, this G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series kit will take up half of the available memory slots, leaving you with another two slots that you can use to add additional RAM in the future if desired.
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 1.0TB (WD1002FAEX)
Current Price: $144
Samsung 830 Series (MZ-7PC064D/AM) 2.5" 64GB
Current Price: $114
Our recommendation for the main storage hard drive remains Western Digital's 1.0TB Caviar Black, which can now be had for $144.
We're once again pairing this with a smaller SSD drive for faster OS performance, although this time around we're suggesting you take a look at the Samsung 830 Series 64GB drive, which comes with the hardware needed to mount it for use in a desktop system.
By pairing the Samsung 830 SSD drive with the WD Caviar Black, you'll end up with a combination of storage and speed that will more than meet most users' needs.
Optical Drive: LITE-ON iHBS212-08 12x BDR 2x BD-RE SATA (OEM)
Current Price: $110
We've tweaked our optical drive recommendation, going with another LiITE-ON model that offers an 8MB cache and SATA interface, the LITE-ON iHBS112. As with the previously recommended model, this optical drive can burn BD-R discs at 12x, BD-RE at 2x and DVD+R at 12x.
Video Card: ASUS ENGTX560 GeForce GTX 560
Current Price: $200
At this price point, we decided to stick with the ASUS ENGTX560 GeForce GTX 560 video card. The ASUS ENGTX560 offers 1GB of GDDR5 memory, one mini HDMI port and two DVI ports.
LCD: ASUS VE247H 23.6" LCD
Current Price: $189
For our display recommendation, we're once again sticking with the ASUS VE247H 23.6" LCD monitor. This TN display offers a 2ms response time, LED-backlighting, native 1920x1080 resolution and integrated speakers. Connections include one analog port, one DVI and one HDMI. And for those looking for more flexibility than the included stand offers, VESA 100x100m mounting holes provide plenty of options.