Since our last Budget Badass update back in July, the hardware industry has made some dramatic turns as far as new technology goes. With the release of the energy-efficient Penryn core from Intel, we took a side step away from the Kentsfield core and took a swing at the Q9300. While the Q9300 sports a slightly smaller cache than the Q6600, we found the Penryn to perform better in our tests. With the extra leeway we had in the budget from the previous configuration, we also swapped out the Radeon 4870 for a beefier GTX 280 while keeping the final price tag under $1500. Now this, my friends, is what we would like to call a Budget Badass!
BFG GeForce GTX 280 1GB $389, www.bfgtech.com
With the drop in video card prices, we couldn't help but to move up the graphic card chain to the next best thing. The GTX 280 is faster across all benchmarks against the Radeon 4870 and features all the video-processing capabilities available on the 9000 series cards.
MSI P35 Neo2-FR $120, www.msicomputer.com
One of our best budget motherboards to date. Offering stellar performance with a price tag hovering around the $100 zone, this motherboard will meet all your budget standards and more.