System Builder Marathon, Q4 2012: $500 Gaming PC

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youssef 2010

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[citation][nom]killerchickens[/nom]So guys you would buy Windows 8 Professional for a $500 gaming computer.[/citation]

Windows 8 or Windows 7. There is zero difference in performance in most if not all cases.

Also, this series never considers the OS cost as a factor.
 

itzsnypah

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I would have rather seen an ASRock B75M-DGS Motherboard (-$15), i3-3220($+50), 4GB of ram(-$15), a 250GB HDD (-$15), Silverstone PS08B (+$0), for a new total of $506
 

pauldh

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[citation][nom]EzioAs[/nom]I think they'd be better off with a B75 motherboard, 4GB RAM and an i3-3220.[/citation]
Problem is the math didn't add up. That was $50 more into the CPU, and a $12 savings on RAM, leaving us $32 for the motherboard.

$500 is real tight, and it's a split among readers whether we should even slightly break budget or not. Believe me, I had so many configurations going and there was no way to spend over $100 on the CPU, retain the HD 7850, and stay within budget. Even the $95 Phenom II left about $79 for Mobo and RAM , and the one I would have wanted to build was $506 with 4GB DDR3-1600 and a 250GB drive. (edit) There were some tiny daily price changes occuring on HDD's and RAM while this was in the works, but nothing that changed the picture at all. Basically, I wouldn't take money off the PSU, couldn't do much if anything on the drives, which left the case. Any savings on an ATX Midtower outfitted with at least one 120mm fan would have been paid right back in shipping charges. There was a Micro ATX case I used earlier this year which could have allowed a $100 CPU, but that was pretty much the ceiling this time.

Honestly, I tried, but it was so hard to argue against the G850 @ $70, and I wasn't going to ditch the 7850 for more CPU.
 

Onus

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With the title referencing a "Gaming" build, I would like to have seen a few more games tested, including something like GW2 which is somewhat more CPU dependent than a lot of games. Still, it looks very well done. It's nice too that price drops would now allow a 500GB HDD.
Interesting note about the thickness of the mobo. Nice choice on the case, and throwing in the remarks about shipping cost.
 

EzioAs

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Honestly, I understand how that felt :(. Last month, I was helping a friend of mine as well to pick up parts for a gaming system. His budget was $500 too and I tried lots of different ways to get at least an i3 in there because I didn't want the productivity to be hampered too much. In the end, I told him to increase the budget by 50 more bucks and so that he was able to get an i3-3220, B75 motherboard (it was a gigabyte board), 4GB DDR3 1333MHz RAM, Radeon 7850 1GB, CM Elite 430, Corsair CX 500, 320GB WD Blue to start and no DVD drive. Luckily, since he was actually able to get a Windows 8 for free, he didn't bother much spending an extra $50. But seriously, it was very hard to find a better balance config at such a low budget so I really get how you feel Paul ;)

Edited: I said 2 months ago when it was actually last month
 

EzioAs

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I agree with you there.

Which actually reminds me have Tom's drop Metro 2033 from the test? And how about Dirt 3 or The Witcher 2 as well? I sincerely hope you (Tom's staffs) have any future plans on testing Assassin's Creed 3 since a lot of users are reporting about not getting great framerates even with a high end card. I've started to ponder whether is it really am extremely demanding game?
 

MasterMace

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I most thoroughly enjoy reading the SBM marathons to see how performance swings one way or the next depending on the % of budget allocated to the CPU and graphics.
 

MasterMace

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I also think it's fair to say that the June SBM had the Celeron bottlenecking the 560ti.

Clearly, this shows that when splitting the budget for GPU/CPU, 34%/14% is superior 42%/10%
 

cknobman

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Very, very nice build and I would be proud to own/win this system.

I understand budget constraints and the reason for them in an article like this but personally I would always be willing to spend just a few more dollars for things like a bigger hdd, video card with more memory, and/or a faster cpu.
 

cangelini

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[citation][nom]The Scion of Balance[/nom]Will the rest of the system builder PC articles be published this week as well?[/citation]
Yes!
 
Nice findings, indeed.

Too bad for the Athlon not being anywhere, would have been a great investigation article :p

And, as a favor, can you guys include Mists of Pandaria and/or Guild Wars 2 in your benchies? At least, I know GW2 is very taxing on CPUs and has very nice graphics (DX9 still though, AFAIK).

I really want to know if a G8x0 still can handle MMORPGs and RTS for online play. I know the FX4xxx (or better) can at least for their price, but in notebooks, the A8 (Llano) struggles a LOT with GW2.

Cheers!
 

TeraMedia

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It would be interesting to have follow-ups for each of the three SBM competitors where the builder is given an incremental $100 and asked what he would have changed in the build. For example, in this build you could back out the $70 CPU and upgrade to something for
 

TeraMedia

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Prior post got truncated due to inclusion of lt character.

...less than or equal to $170, such as a Core i3-3240, and put leftover change into storage. Or you could swap out the CPU and MB and use an FX processor instead.
 

EzioAs

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Why not just edit the previous post?
 

TeraMedia

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I would like to propose that a metric be included that is based on the storage capacity, rather than just the storage performance. You could base the metric either on space available for data (re: recent lawsuit against MSFT for Surface 32 GB only having 16 GB of available storage space after SW), or on overall space, and since needs differ the latter might make the most sense. Then a system such as this with 320 GB storage would compare favorably against an enthusiast machine with only a 256 GB SSD, insofar as this metric is concerned, because it would have more storage space.

This would help level the playing field for HDD vs. SSD as well as for low-cost (but high $/GB) vs. mainstream (low $/GB) and high-end (high $/GB) drives.
 

TeraMedia

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@EzioAs: Good question. Answer: 1) Can only edit from forums, and wanted to post correction quickly. 2) wanted THG to know that there may be a minor bug in their website. 3) Wanted other posters to be aware so that they could avoid that bug.
 

dscudella

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Solid build. As a couple others have already mentioned though, if you went with a B75 Mobo you could have picked up a 7850 2gb. The CPU isn't a bottleneck by being a dual core, just the clock speed. Good read.
 

Onus

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Coming back to it, there's nothing to moan about here at all. If anything, this build could now be done with a 500GB drive, and I've seen some 8GB RAM kits for $30 (in fact I just bought one). I'm one of those who is very glad you stuck to the budget (+ less than 1% isn't busting the budget). I'd be happy to win this PC, even though I'd likely be giving it to a family member.
 

rwpritchett

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I thought Microsoft ditched Aero in Win8?
 

g-unit1111

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I personally would have gone for an A10-5800K with a 7770 and a Noctua cooler and seen how far I could overclock it. I've seen reports of the 5800K being taken beyond 7+ GHz. It would be kind of cool to see a $500 PC do that.
 
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