System Builder Marathon, Q4 2012: $500 Gaming PC

Assembling Our Budget-Oriented Box

Prepping Rosewill’s Blackbone is simple. The front bezel snaps off with a small tug from the bottom. And with no front-panel wiring attached, it's easy to set that aside while you're working on the drive cages or fiddling with the front fan.

As we’ve seen in the past, threading the painted standoffs into the painted motherboard tray requires a nut driver. We couldn't do this by hand.

The ASRock H77 Pro4/MVB gives us an option to reuse a cooler designed for Intel's LGA 775 interface, which is nice. But frankly, this is overshadowed by the board's thin, flexible PCB (not so nice). Exercise extreme caution when it comes to mounting the boxed Intel heat sink and attaching the 24-pin ATX power connector. I can't recall the last time I was worried about damaging a motherboard during system assembly.

As you can see, the Blackbone is a roomy case. Our short 8” graphics card made it possible to mount the hard drive in any of the internal 3.5” bays. Unlike some of the enclosures we’ve used, Rosewill doesn't skimp on the length of its internal cables. The fan and front-panel leads are long enough for us to wire everything up neatly. Unfortunately, although our motherboard has an on-board USB 3.0 header, this older case design doesn't offer front-panel USB 3.0 ports. We were able to connect all four USB 2.0 ports using on-board headers, but had to curl up the eSATA cable, leaving one non-functional port on the front header.

Although the assembly was pretty straightforward and we were able to get this machine up and running quickly, we did run into one small problem the first time we fired it up. The bezel’s vent filter was a bit warped inward, making the slightest bit of contact with the case fan. The result was a faint ticking sound. It was only a minor issue, solved by removing the bezel and pressing the grill out a bit.

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    Top Comments
  • willyroc
    Not to mention that the 500GB version of the HDD is only $3 more.
    26
  • Crashman
    killerchickens$501 Plus $100 for a copy of windows 7.
    Run Linux, this is a hardware shootout.
    22
  • colinstu
    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
  • killerchickens
    $501 Plus $100 for a copy of windows 7.
    -20
  • Crashman
    killerchickens$501 Plus $100 for a copy of windows 7.
    Run Linux, this is a hardware shootout.
    22
  • willyroc
    I personally feel that they could have gone with H61 and gotten a 2GB 7850 instead.
    21
  • killerchickens
    CrashmanRun Linux, this is a hardware shootout.


    Linux for a gaming desktop I dont think so.
    -13
  • willyroc
    Not to mention that the 500GB version of the HDD is only $3 more.
    26
  • jerm1027
    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
  • killerchickens
    Why is Windows 8 Professional being used?
    -17
  • EzioAs
    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
  • mayankleoboy1
    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
  • killerchickens
    Windows is free and we use Linux in are gaming Machines what are we in Soviet Russia .
    -19
  • kj3639
    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
  • colinstu
    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
  • aznshinobi
    The FX-6300 doesn't get any love?
    0
  • killerchickens
    So guys you would buy Windows 8 Professional for a $500 gaming computer.
    -15
  • blazorthon
    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
  • blazorthon
    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
  • blazorthon
    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
  • de5_Roy
    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
  • blazorthon
    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
  • killerchickens
    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