$500 Gaming PC: Day 1, Component Selection

Motherboard and Memory

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L

We picked Gigabyte’s most basic full-ATX “Ultra Durable” P35 Express motherboard as an inexpensive path into this chipset’s legendary overclocking stability. All-solid-capacitor construction differentiates Gigabyte’s Ultra-Durable products from lesser models, assuring a longer, more trouble-free life for our system.

Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L

Buyers won’t find many added features in sub-$100 motherboards, and the P35-DS3L is even reduced to a four-phase voltage regulator. Yet our Pentium Dual-Core requires neither large amounts of power nor super-high bus speeds to achieve good overclocks, so this basic part should be more than adequate to fill our needs.

RAM: Wintec AMPO PC2-6400

Wintec’s basic AMPO memory did well in our Budget PC2-6400 Round-Up and has retained its bargain basement price. Wintec Ampo PC26400

The price difference between good quality “ordinary” RAM and mid-latency parts has narrowed so much that we probably would have considered an upgrade, had this been a $515 build, yet the tiny application performance differences we’d expect to see make standard parts a better deal.

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  • Somehow I think this is a better PC than the 1000$ one.
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  • Is it me or was their first price list have the Phenom 9500 and when I looked at the next page they were mentioning the e2160 w/DS3L? I'd much prefer this setup over the $1k that they listed last month. I mean, I could build a $1k rig that would compete with their $1.5k or better system.
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  • Looks cool, still better then my 3 year old $300 one but that will be changing by the summer: Armor Case, Antec 650w, Maximus Formula, E8400, BFG 8800GTS OC, 2 GB Dominator RAM, 500gb 7200.11 (Seagate Barracuda), 2 Lightscribes. Gonna run XP Home (32-bit) and no overclocking for a little bit until its needed or I feel more confident. I CAN'T WAIT!!! :D
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  • I asked for another 500 dollar build after the last sbm. This overclocked might throw up some really interesting results. Just make sure we have some real gaming benchmarks this time please. Also I really like what you guys picked.
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  • Excellent Shopping.
    Truly Impressive build.

    Gotta love those falling GPU prices.
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  • I like the article, but I'm consused by the price list on the first page, what does it reference!?!? I'd love to see the price list of the $500 build on the first page.
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  • Nice roundup.
    Very nice configuration for 500 bucks.

    Curious about the review,and overclocking results :).

    The price on the first page is from previous "System builder marathon - Low cost system", so don't worry about the first page, it's there just for the reference!
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  • Quote:
    a few swore by “Absurdly Cheap” components that our experience has proven are likely to fail within the first few months of use


    Yeah, I was one of those "absurdly cheap" bastards. :) But this $500 build has indeed got my interest. I eagarly await testing results.
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  • there seems to be come inconsistencies in the component list on first page and the rest of the article.. the obvious ones are the CPU (AMD vs Intel?) and the Graphics card (AMD vs nVidia). It'd be great if that's fixed. ;)
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  • o.. wait.. nvm.. I got confused.. the front page is for the low-cost system a month back? a bit confusing there..
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  • A very similar build to my $~650 build, except I ended up buying a 9600GT and an Antec 900 with a 560W PSU which is where my premium in price comes in. Great build and I after the benches I may recommend it to a few friends.
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  • If price is the prime consideration here then I think you could save a few pennies by going AMD. The one thing I hate about these latest systems is having to use DDR II memory, so unlike AMD S939 you can't save money by using existing memory you may have lying around. Aside from that I can't find a bad part..they're all branded and no corners have been cut with the PSU or memory. Historically those things are usually the one's that can cause the most grief.
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  • Motherboard Gigabyte GA-G31M-S2L $66.99

    CPU Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 OEM $234.99 or Intel Core 2 Duo E2220 $91.99

    RAM: Mushkin DDR2-800 4-4-4-12 1.9v $31.99 after MIR

    Case hec 6K28BB8F /w 585W PSU $54.99

    HD WD Caviar 320GB $69.99

    Optical Drive PHILIPS SPD2513BM/17 (DVD,CD Burner) $24.99

    Graphics Card XFX 8800GS $99 after MIR or Sapphire HD3870 $149.99 after MIR

    HSF Zerotherm BTF92 $32.99 after MIR $149.99 after MIR

    Quad setup: 619.92(88GS) after rebates, $669.92(3870) after rebates
    Duo setup: 476.92(88GS) after rebates, $526.92(3870) after rebates

    Gota LOVE newegg's low prices.
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  • This is pretty much my setup only I did the 9600gt for $119 after mail in rebate. I moved over an x-fi from my last system and I definitely found my pc better then their $1k build. I even have a 600watt ultra PSU that was 8$ after rebate. My whole system (including vista, excluding monitor) was about $385. GeminII heatsink was free after rebate and vista was free from playing club live games! Great job on part selection! This baby will fly with an oc.

    It needs an oc too because I scored 6800 in 3dmark06 until I overclocked the cpu to 3.0 then got 9700 marks, oc'ed video card and cpu @3.16 and got 11050 3dmark06 pts! Beat that tom's!
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  • 49803 said:
    Is it me or was their first price list have the Phenom 9500 and when I looked at the next page they were mentioning the e2160 w/DS3L? I'd much prefer this setup over the $1k that they listed last month. I mean, I could build a $1k rig that would compete with their $1.5k or better system.


    yeah, the table on first page is not the right one. they have to fix it
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  • I could see that the table was from a previous article, but I would like to have seen an identical table for the current build, or a column added for direct comparison.
    I like this one though, and will look forward to the next piece concerning performance.
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  • ^yeap. n i loved this system. it shows a true sub 500$ system
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  • Interesting...ive been doing my own research the last several weeks for a new sub 500$ build...I picked out the same mobo, cpu, and hard drive. I look forward to seeing some good benchmark results.
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  • This build is much smarter than the one last month. I'm going to see how well they actually test this setup. It'll only be as good as the GPU that they use, so it'll do well, but not as good as the 3870 rig last month.
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  • 172632 said:
    Interesting...ive been doing my own research the last several weeks for a new sub 500$ build...I picked out the same mobo, cpu, and hard drive. I look forward to seeing some good benchmark results.


    And I happen to have that exact case in my office awaiting an upcoming build.
    I actually got the combo for an absurd price of $35!
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