HotHardware Holiday Gift Guide: PC Components

Processors and Cases

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The holidays are fast upon us and this final HotHardware Holiday Gift Guide will wrap up our series with what’s near and dear perhaps to many of you DYI’ers out there – components.  Whether the geek in your life is itching to rebuild that gaming rig or just starving for the right upgrade to relieve a system bottleneck, we have something for everyone here.  And hey, if that geek in your life is you, all the better.  With all that selfless holiday shopping you’re likely doing right about now, you deserve a little reward, right?  Onward then.  Let’s round-up the good stuff.

Processors –

With the obvious sizable performance advantage Intel processors command these days, literally across the board, it’s no wonder our three recommendation in each price range are punctuated with Intel Sandy Bridge and Sandy Bride-E Core processors.  For the fastest desktop CPU on earth currently, Intel’s Core i7-3960X is definitely money.  That said, you’ll need a lot of it to own one, so maybe take a step down to the Core i7-3930K if you weren’t looking at a spending a grand or so on a six-core CPU.  For more budget-minded folks, in quad-cores, we like the value curve of the Core i7-2600K and the Core i5-2500K's dual-core goodness. An honorable mention goes to the 8-core AMD FX-8150 as well.  At $265 or so, it’s hard to look an octal-core gift horse in the mouth.

High-End System:  Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition or Core i7-3930K - $619 - $1099
Midrange System:  Core i7-2600K - $315
Budget Build:  Core i5-2500K or AMD FX-8150  $219 - $265

PC Cases  

Your build is only as pretty as you make it and as cool as your cable management and case allow it to be.  Or is it the other way around?  Whether you’re shooting for pretty, cool or a combination of both, NZXT, Corsair and Silverstone are names that conjure up both style and function.  NZXT has been a relative newcomer on the scene punching out some striking designs, while Corsair and Silverstone underscore quality with virtually every design we’ve looked at.  Here are three of our favorites but there are scads to choose from, both within these models and other portfolios from these chassis design greats.

NZXT Phantom 410 - $125
Corsair Graphite 600T (White) - $159
Silverstone SG06-450 (Mini-ITX) -  $119

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