A Closer look at the $599 AMD PC
Before we get into the components we swapped out from our other $599 PC, let's just have a quick look at what we're keeping. For the power supply we'll be again using the trusty CX500 from Corsair. Corsair has just replaced the CX500, though, with a new version, and that can now be nabbed for a really low $39.99 US after rebate at Newegg.
As we mentioned in the intro, we'll also again be using the Western Digital 1TB Green drive alongside our 4GB Kit of Kingston HyperX Grey Series. The Western Digital 1TB Green comes in at a healthy $44.99 US while the RAM carries a price tag of $49.99 US.
While you could of course use the stock cooler that comes with our CPU of choice, we'll be throwing the same Corsair A70 cooler into the mix today. We've been using the Corsair H70 for a while now and it's a great unit. To be honest, I didn't think they'd be able to do a lot in the air cooling market, but the A70 cooler is a great unit. It's got an extremely strong heatpipe setup and a great dual 120mm fan setup.
Without the cooler, those components come in at $134.97 US. Our original $599 PC came in at $636 without the A70, so you can see we've still got a fair bit of money to splash out when it comes to the CPU, Motherboard and Video Card. Those three components are of course the most expensive. Anyway, with the help of AMD and ASUS, let's see what we ended up with.
I don't proclaim myself as any kind of guru when it comes to AMD motherboards. As I've just taken over the motherboard section at TweakTown, my understanding of what's going on with the AMD segment is growing. With around $500 left in the budget, we found the board that slotted in perfectly to our $599 AMD PC to be the ASUS M4A89TD Pro.
I've actually used this board before. When G.Skill released their Flare series memory specifically for the AMD platform, the board we were using at the time had trouble overclocking the RAM. With the ASUS M4A89TD being on the list of approved boards, we got ASUS to hook us up with one and it was fantastic, getting us some strong performance from the memory we had.
Priced at $174.99 US, it's a cheaper option than the P8P67 Pro we used in our original $599 PC article. It meant that we'd have a little more wiggle room when it came to both the CPU and video card.
Next on the shopping list was a CPU. Priced at $139.99 US, $15 more than the i3 2100 we looked at, the Phenom II X4 965 hit the spot. It offers a higher out of the box clock speed than the i3 2100 and should yield stronger overclocking potential.
Something important to remember in regards to the P67 / Z68 platform and the massive overclocking praise they've received is in regards to the "K" series CPUs from Intel. CPUs like the i3 2100 can't have their multiplier adjusted and with BCLK overclocking extremely limited on the platform, OC potential in general on non "K" series CPUs is quite weak. It will be extremely interesting to see what we're able to get out of this Phenom II X4 today.
Finally, we have our video card. The weapon of choice today is the ASUS HD 6870 DirectCU II. We haven't actually reviewed this particular card, but we'll try and make some time in the coming weeks to look at it. We do know the HD 6870 well, though, and if previous DirectCU II cards are anything to go by, this should be another strong card from ASUS.
The price tag on this is $199.99 US and the most expensive item in the package. It's of course one of the most important components for a gaming PC, though, so it will be extremely interesting to see how it goes.
Without the Corsair A70 CPU cooler our system comes in at $634.94 US, or $635 US. This is a whole $1 US cheaper than the Intel / NVIDIA machine we setup which came in at $636 US. With pretty much every dollar of our budget soaked up, it's all going to come down to performance. Which machine can rein supreme?