Intel CPU: Core i5-2300 (2.8GHz) w/ Bundled Cooling
Current Cost: $178
Similarly, the 2.8GHz i5-2300 Sandy Bridge remains our processor choice for the Intel build. With 6MB of L3 cache and 256KB on each of its four cores, this quad-core processor offers a nice balance of power and affordability.
Similarly, 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 an ideal balance of power and affordability.
AMD Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-990XA-UD3 AM3+ (AMD 990X)
Current Price: $140
For our AMD build, the Gigabyte GA-990XA-UD3 motherboard, with an AMD990X chipset, offers three PCI-E slots (one at x16, one at x8 and one at x4), two PCIe 2.0 slots, two PCI slots, two USB 3.0 rear-panel ports and four rear-panel USB 2.0 ports. Also included are Gigabit LAN, 8-channel audio and six SATA 6GB/s connections.
Intel Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-P67X-UD3-B3 (P67) (NEW Recommend.)
Current Price: $115
Meanwhile, the GIGABYTE GA-P67X-UD3-B3, with a P67 chipset, offers one PCI Express x16 slot, one PCI Express x8 slot, three PCI Express x1 slots, two PCI 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 four SATA 6GB/s connections.
Memory: Kingston HyperX Blu 4GB KHX1600C9D3B1K2/4GX 2 x 2GB kit
Current Price: $28 (+$4 from last month)
For memory, we sticking with this 4GB (2x 2GB) DDR3-1600 kit from Kingston this time around. This dual-channel kit will leave two memory slots available in each of our builds, so users who find themselves needing (or just wanting) more will have room to grow.
Hard Drive: Hitachi HDS721050CLA362 500GB (Bare Drive)
Current Price: $80 (-$5 from last month)
At about $80, the 7200rpm 500GB Hitachi HDS721050CLA362 remains our hard drive choice and offers a nice balance of size and performance for the price.
Optical LG 22X Super-Multi DVD Burner GH22NS90B (OEM)
Current Price: $16
For our optical drive, we're once again recommending the LG 22X Super-Multi DVD Burner (GH22NS90B). It has a 1.5MB buffer and offers read speeds of 16X on DVD-ROM and 48x on CD-ROM. Its burning speeds go up to 22X on DVD+r and DVD-R, 48X on CD-R and 32X on CD-RW.
Video Card: XFX HD-677X-ZNLC Radeon HD 6770 (NEW Recommendation)
Current Price: $110
While we're once again going with a Radeon HD 6770 video card, for this edition decided to select a model from XFX. The XFX HD-677X-ZNLC Radeon HD 6770 model offers one HDMI port, one DVI port and one VGA port, and the video card can be had for just $110.
LCD: Acer G215HVAbd 21.5" 5ms 1920x1080 (NEW Recommendation)
Current Price: $110
Our monitor recommendation for April's guide is a slightly different 21.5" flat screen model from Acer than the one we had previously recommended. The Acer G215HVAbd 21.5" display offers a 5ms response time, 1000:1 contrast ratio and a 1920x1080 resolution. Connections include an analog connector and a DVI port.