System Builder Marathon, Q4 2012: $500 Gaming PC

Motherboard And Memory

Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP

Based on Intel's H77 Express chipset, ASRock's H77 Pro4/MVP is designed to support third-gen Core processors based on the Ivy Bridge architecture. It features official DDR3-1600 memory and PCI Express 3.0 support.

Some of the features more relevant to our configuration include all-solid capacitors, four DIMM slots, native SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0 ports, a handful of USB 2.0 ports, and legacy PCI expansion slots. The board also supports Intel's Smart Connect and Rapid Start features, along with Lucidlogix's Virtu Universal MVP technology. Even AMD's CrossFire is supported, though you'd need to accept a less-than-optimal x16/x4 arrangement.

ASRock's Combo Cooler Option gives you the flexibility to mount LGA 775-, 1155-, and 1156-based coolers, too.

Read Customer Reviews of ASRock's H77 Pro4/MVP


Memory: 8 GB G.Skill F3-10600CL9D-8GBNT DDR3-1333  Memory Kit

The Pentium G850's dual-channel memory controller limits us to 1333 MT/s data rates yet again. This time, however, we have the money left over to splurge on an 8 GB kit from G.Skill's Value Series.

Read Customer Reviews of G.Skill's F3-10600CL9D-8GBNT 8 GB Memory Kit

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    Top Comments
  • Not to mention that the 500GB version of the HDD is only $3 more.
    26
  • killerchickens$501 Plus $100 for a copy of windows 7.
    Run Linux, this is a hardware shootout.
    22
  • EzioAsI think they'd be better off with a B75 motherboard, 4GB RAM and an i3-3220.


    Exactly. Couldn't've said it better.
    21
  • Other Comments
  • $501 Plus $100 for a copy of windows 7.
    -20
  • killerchickens$501 Plus $100 for a copy of windows 7.
    Run Linux, this is a hardware shootout.
    22
  • I personally feel that they could have gone with H61 and gotten a 2GB 7850 instead.
    21
  • CrashmanRun Linux, this is a hardware shootout.


    Linux for a gaming desktop I dont think so.
    -13
  • Not to mention that the 500GB version of the HDD is only $3 more.
    26
  • Quote:
    Our best alternative remained the quad-core Phenom II X4 995 Black Edition for $95. But we chose not to revisit this old favorite, figuring that adding a Radeon HD 7850 would have taxed our budget.

    What about the Phenom II 965? It's only $75 at TigerDirect.
    9
  • Why is Windows 8 Professional being used?
    -17
  • 881427 said:
    I personally feel that they could have gone with H61 and gotten a 2GB 7850 instead.


    I think they'd be better off with a B75 motherboard, 4GB RAM and an i3-3220.
    21
  • I am not very comfortable using windows8 in these benches. Reason : Drivers have not yet matured for win8. I would have waited for the next quarter SBM before using win8.
    4
  • Windows is free and we use Linux in are gaming Machines what are we in Soviet Russia .
    -19
  • Well done! I built a $700 rig for a friend a few weeks ago. Parts were mostly identical except for a Corei5 3330, 2 GB 7850 and 120 GB SSD. The 7850 is by far the most bang for the buck and overclocks quite well. I recently bought two for a crossfire setup on my rig for $300 dollars on black friday as well. The 7850 was a solid choice.
    4
  • EzioAsI think they'd be better off with a B75 motherboard, 4GB RAM and an i3-3220.


    Exactly. Couldn't've said it better.
    21
  • The FX-6300 doesn't get any love?
    0
  • So guys you would buy Windows 8 Professional for a $500 gaming computer.
    -15
  • aznshinobiThe FX-6300 doesn't get any love?


    It's too expensive.

    killerchickensSo guys you would buy Windows 8 Professional for a $500 gaming computer.


    This was a hardware test. You're OS complaints are irrelevant and there's no practical difference between Home and Pro versions when it comes to simple performance tests. such as these.
    16
  • killerchickensWindows is free and we use Linux in are gaming Machines what are we in Soviet Russia .


    Several Linux distros works pretty well with most modern popular games, just FYI. Also, getting Windows for free legally is easy if you care to do it. Dreamspark has many free versions available to college students and most people know at least one, even if by proxy. Even in the unlikelihood of not knowing any, there's still the eval copies that MS gives away for free on their own website.
    10
  • mayankleoboy1I am not very comfortable using windows8 in these benches. Reason : Drivers have not yet matured for win8. I would have waited for the next quarter SBM before using win8.


    I disagree. The current drivers for Windows 8 are pretty much on-par with the Windows 7 drivers. Heck, they're better than AMD's pre-Catalyst 12.6 drivers.
    12
  • was hoping to see a piledriver based cpu in this quarter's build. but i was much happier to see the 1gb radeon 7850 instead. nice gaming build.
    7
  • 585683 said:
    was hoping to see a piledriver based cpu in this quarter's build. but i was much happier to see the 1gb radeon 7850 instead. nice gaming build.


    Meh, I would've preferred seeing at least an A8-5600K with a cheaper motherboard and memory kit or keep the same memory kit and get a cheaper case. It could have fit, IDK why Tom's didn't do it. Maybe there weren't good prices on other components at the time :/
    -4
  • blazorthonThis was a hardware test. You're OS complaints are irrelevant and there's no practical difference between Home and Pro versions when it comes to simple performance tests. such as these.


    Windows home still costs $100 which is still some how not part of the budget.
    -16