The $500 Gaming Machine, 2007 Edition

Test Setup

CPU AMD AMD Athlon X2 BE-2350 (65 nm; 2100 MHz, 2x512 kB L2 Cache)
CPU Intel Intel Pentium Dualcore E2160 (65 nm; 1800 MHz, 1 MB Shared L2 Cache)
Motherboard AMD MSI K9AGM2-FIH, Socket AM2 (Rev. 1.02)
AMD 690G Chipset
Motherboard Intel Elitegroup G33T-M2, Socket 775 (Rev. 1.0)
Intel G33 Chipset
RAM Patriot PDC21G6400LLK
2x 512 MB DDR2-800 (CL 5-5-5-15 2T)
Hard Disk Drive Seagate Barracuda 7200.10
320 GB, 7.200 RPM, 16 MB cache, SATA/300
DVD-ROM Samsung SH-S183
Graphics Card Gigabyte Radeon HD 2600 Pro w/ Silent Pipe II Cooling
GPU: ATI Radeon HD 2600Pro (600 MHz)
RAM: 512 MB GDDR2 (800 MHz DDR)
Sound Card Integrated
Power Supply Silverstone ST50EF-Plus
ATX 2.2, 500 Watt
System Software & Drivers
OS Windows XP Professional 5.10.2600, Service Pack 2
DirectX Version 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
Platform Drivers AMD Version 8.40
Platform Drivers Intel Version
Graphics Drivers ATI Catalyst 7.8

Our $500 Shopping Cart

  AMD Platform Intel Platform
Processor Athlon X2 BE-2350
$ 95
Pentium Dual Core E2160
$ 92
Motherboard MSI K9AGM2-FIH
$ 69
Elitegroup G33T-M2
$ 89
RAM Patriot PDC21G6400K, 2x 512 MB DDR2-800
$ 49
Graphics Card Gigabyte Radeon HD 2600 Pro
$ 85
Hard Drive Seagate Barracuda 7200.10, SATA/300, 320 GB
$ 65
Power Supply Silverstone ST50EF-Plus
$ 99
Case Coolermaster Centurion 5 CAC-T05 Black/Silver
$ 49
Other Samsung SH-S183 DVD-ROM
$ 30
Total Cost $ 541 $ 558

We haven't included the lowest-available prices, but usually picked the second best price, which better reflects what you will end up paying, including shipping cost, or when you buy the components at your local computer store. You can certainly save some money by selecting a cheaper power supply, recycling your optical drive or going with a simpler graphics card. However, in our opinion, this doesn't make much sense. A price range of $500 to $520 is what you can expect when you invest in these components or similar ones.

Benchmarks And Settings

Benchmarks and Settings
Quake 4 Version: 1.2 (Dual-Core Patch)
Video Mode: 1280x1024
Video Quality: high
THG Timedemo
timedemo demo8.demo 1 (1 = load textures)
Lame MP3 Version 3.97 Beta 2 (12-22-2005)
Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min
wave to mp3
160 kbps
Mainconcept H.264 v2 Version 2.1
260 MB MPEG-2 source (1920x1080) 16:9
Codec: H.264
Mode: NTSC
Audio: AAC
Profile: High
Stream: Program
Winrar Version 3.70
(303 MB, 47 Files, 2 Folders)
Compression = Best
Dictionary = 4096 kB
Cinebench Version: R10
1 CPU, x CPU run
Bapco Sysmark Version: 2007 Preview
Official Run
Synthetic Benchmarks
Sisoft Sandra 2008 Version: 12.30
Memory Bandwidth
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