System Builder Marathon: $625 Gaming PC

Conclusion

Let’s sum up the total performance gains we achieved with our overclocking endeavors and see how well we measured up to our lofty expectations.

Looking at the average increase of 28%, it’s not hard to see the benefits of overclocking while gaming. The overall game’s percentage was knocked down due to the maximum settings used for Crysis testing, and when medium details were used, the percentage increase was 34% for Crysis instead of 14%, bringing the overall average up to 33%.

A stellar audio/video encoding increase of 57% overall and greater than 50% throughout the entire suite is the summit of this article’s overclocking data.

Checking out our other applications, we see exceptional gains in three of the five benchmarks with the overclocked PC. Low gains in AVG and WinRAR brought the overall application average down by quite a bit, but an average of 37% isn’t bad at all.

A total average performance increase of 41% speaks highly for this system’s ability to overclock and maximize the value of the money spent. Was it worth the extra $125 compared to last month’s system? Let’s decide by again looking at what upgrades were made possible with the increased budget: we were able to attain a case with better airflow, a beefier power supply better suited for upgrades, a larger and faster hard drive, a P45 based motherboard, a faster processor, a more powerful video card, twice the memory with tighter timings, and a higher overclock and percentage performance increase from overclocking. Not only did this PC blow out the $500 PC in almost every test, it managed to put up victories in half the applications tests versus the overclocked $1,500 PC, while even challenging the overclocked $4,500 system in a couple tests. In our book, if the funds are available, this all adds up to money well spent.

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  • slomo4sho
    Very nice write up. I like the new price point :)
    2
  • slomo4sho
    I forgot to mention that I still would like to see power consumption charts and possibly a AMD based build at this price point.
    1
  • nerrawg
    Impressive results! Who says a system price has to adhere to budget figures of 500, 1500 and 4500 dollars, you guys really showed how much added value can be had when the right OC parts are purchased and assembled into a nice package. Well done!
    1
  • cloudbase
    Hiya. Can you guys give a bit more detail about the 'further upgrades' you were inferring in the text of this article? So: Which P45 crossfire motherboard would have been nice; which RAM was out of stock; what would have been the benefiot of the more expensive CPU?

    Im looking to spend a similar amount, but as I already have the case, PSU etc it makes sense to explore those options.

    Presumably a 4870 would be better again?
    -1
  • radguy
    Thats a pretty awesome build thanks for the article. Although I am sorry but I have to ask. Do we have our real 4ghz dual core for $84 now?
    2
  • jaragon13
    Sorry? What's with the comment box? I can't see what I'm typing.
    Anyways,my GTX 260 suffers on Crysis,so it's nothing new.
    -1
  • Pei-chen
    Great choice, let the AMD fan boys whiny; I would have picked the same setup if I am to build a cheap gaming PC.
    0
  • matt2k
    Nice build for the money, though i personally would have sprung for a crossfire ready motherboard, the MSI P45 Neo2-FR for example.
    The only problem i have with this though is the operating system. surely that should be quite a major factor when creating a whole new system? and it would be nice to have the different vista's compared for gamers. i.e. is ultimate worth the bump in price for the extra's or is xp professional still the best option.
    just my thoughts.
    2
  • zodiacfml
    Nicest article, not only you did not stick to any budget but also the parts chosen could not have been any better. This is a build i'm planning except i could have chosen a less performing 9800GT since its only in Crysis where a 4850 has a usable advantage over it.
    I am an AMD user for years but this pentium dual core overclocks so far over an athlon x2.
    0
  • wh3resmycar
    someone from the forums was asking me months back where i can find a 4ghz e5200.. i guess this is it.
    0
  • zcubed
    great article. and great choices for the parts. though the gigabyte ultra durable 3 p45's have been out for awhile for 10 bucks more. but this is a proper gaming machine for the budget conscious.
    0
  • JeanLuc
    Good old Arctic Freezer Pro 7, it just can't be beaten for value for money, I just hope Arctic make one for the LGA1366 socket.
    1
  • Anonymous
    My suggestion, or two cents as it were, is that an additional section be added. Something along the lines of suggested upgrades. Or .."If you had a little extra money". In this final section, list any possible changes, or huge increases you could see getting by upgrading a part or two. Also it would be potentialy good for adding suggested steps for the next future upgrade with said system. Personaly I'd love to know your thoughts on basicly the same system, just with e7200 myself.
    -2
  • GlItCh017
    I think this would be very cool in the future:

    Since you are making these system builder marathons through Newegg Paul; if you could make a link that would dump all the parts used into the Newegg shopping cart so you could order a system that you guys reviewed. This would be the ideal if you're looking for a system/price/performance and TH created a PC setup that fit all those needs. I would most certainly buy my next system this way if it were possible, because you guys really do your homework with the price points you're given. If nothing else it would be a really nice feature I think.
    2
  • dirtmountain
    Great article, great overclock on that E5200 and the HD4850. Good info on the noise of that Sapphire GPU, something a buyer could do with those rebate checks as they trickle in is pick up a VGA cooler. A very sensible build at that budget price. Good job!
    1
  • pauldh
    Thanks for the comments everyone.

    @ Slomo4sh0,nerrawg,zodiacfml - Glad you like the flexible price range. Many parts were just out of reach for a firm $500 and reader comments showed great interest in the 600-650 range and $1200-1300 range.

    @ cloudbase, matt2k, xZabx - We do try to mention upgrades just out of reach within the article, but not in a specific section. As a gamer, first place I would have put additional money would not be toward the E7200 but into a P45 Crossfire mobo like matt2k commented on, especially considering we have a PSU easily capable of running dual cards. My personal choice would be the GA-EP45-UD3P for $35 more(UD3 as zcubed mentioned).
    4
  • theblade
    Nice article, I would be great to have a direct comparation between the build from this SBM to the ones in the previous SBM, I'm looking forward to the other articles in this series.
    0
  • fongraccoon
    Hey great article, and fine work for squeezing out that much performance, what a bang for the buck. What was the price for the Window's Vista OS you used? OEM or Retail? From newegg? Thanks
    0
  • philosofool
    Why spend all this money to have parts congenial to OCing the e5200 when the premium paid for those parts could have gotten you an e8400?

    You could have a better machine for the same price: ditch the cooler, the pricey memory, the pricey case, and get a good 450W PSU instead of a 650W overkill--now you can have an e8400 in this rig and OC with the stock cooler to 3.6GHz. That will beat the e5200 @4.3 GHz in all but the most clock speed intensive tasks. Indeed, I bet you could have gotten a decent enough cooler to get the e8400 to 4GHz on this budget.
    -8
  • Dasher
    theirs no OS which almost every system needs
    -8