This 2010 machine was assembled in April from a refurbish chassis, and new motherboard. The CPU and RAM was recovered from the failed 2008 machine.  The low cost AK-680 was not intended for long term use. It was a low cost item considering other items were also needed unexpectedly.

The old Athlon64 X2 4200+ CPU was not powerful enough to cope with the GTX 260. This machine is substantially more powerful than 8th generation consoles (Xbox 360 and PS3). The GTX 260 runs well at 1280×1024 and 1280×720 resolutions. We then acquired the Athlon II X2 250 which runs much faster and was better suited for the GTX 260.

The Corsair TX850V2 features 70 A of current on the 12 V circuit. The 850W model is the top of the range and has cables for operating a pair of GTX 260s or similar. We spent $140+tax+shipping. The PSU is suitable for a 2-way setup which is typical for extreme gaming. The TX850V2 can also handle dual GPU cards however we have noted that reliability issues have been dogging dual GPU card users.

We should mention that the TX850V2 is the top of the TX line. The more expensive AX line is not worth the power savings vs. the higher cost.

After the procurement of the Phenom II X4 965 BE we noticed much better game play with contemporary titles. The AMD Phenom II X4 965 black edition CPU is very popular. The CPU can reach 4.0 GHz when overclocked. Overclocking a CPU requires some additional steps to be successful. Using a high-end thermal interface material is sufficient with the OEM fan. Many use water cooling to reduce the noise of the CPU fan however the iCute chassis is not designed for it. This CPU was $90+tax+shipping when we bought it.

In 2012 EA announced that upcoming games would be more demanding and require a DirectX 11 video card. Crysis 3 was the first game to want DirectX 11 graphics and now Battlefield 4 has also jumped on board. In 2013 Call of Duty: Ghosts was the first game to want 64-bit Windows.


CHASSISiCute Mid Tower Chassis
MBAsus M4A77D
CPUAMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition 3.4 GHz
GPUBFG GTX 260 MaxCore 55
PSUCorsair TX850V2
MONOmnitech OM19WD LCD Monitor
KB/MMicrosoft Wireless Desktop 2000 & Wacom Bamboo Capture
HDSeagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3750528AS
OSWindows 7 Professional x64

The old Omnitech OM19WD LCD Monitor is not full HD so its less demanding and this helped keep the GTX 260 viable for gaming. The replacement Asus PA238QR LCD Monitor motivated a new machine.

About 18 months after we assembled this machine, we noticed problems with hard disks. We replaced the SATA cables with newer clip types but the problems remained. We sent the motherboard back, but Asus lied to us and claimed the ports worked.