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System Builder Marathon, May '09: $600 Gaming PC

While our little E5200 far exceeded expectations this month, there is little room for doubt about the greater potential for overclocking that a larger system offers, such as those used in past SBMs. Building a more portable shoe-box gaming machine with a Micro-ATX motherboard did limit the cooler selections, but otherwise the Sugo SG01-F proved to be more capable than expected at keeping the components cool.

Of course, as ambient room temperatures rise, the clock speeds and voltages used would need to be adjusted accordingly. As always, remember that the degree of overclocking will vary, and other folks may find substantially different results, even if purchasing the same exact hardware.

Performance was excellent, and while the system fans prevented this from being considered a quiet everyday machine, noise levels were at least acceptable for a gaming box. The amount of real estate this machine takes up on a desk is not much different than an ATX system such as this Antec Three Hundred-based rig, but the overall size and weight are definitely less. The shape doesn’t make it easy to carry with one arm, so those serious about carting such a system around may want to consider picking up a Sugo Pack.

The ASRock G41M-LE was a little gem measured in value, overclocking abilities, and making other component options possible within our budget. Compared to the last SBM, we have a much higher-quality enclosure, a modular power supply, and a more powerful graphics card, all for about the same cost if factoring in the additional CPU cooler. All in all, for $600 this little machine is quite the bargain and one this editor would be proud to own. 

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