System Builder Marathon: $625 Gaming PC

CPU And Cooler

Processor : Intel Pentium E5200

Increasing the budget meant we could set our aim higher than we did with last month’s Pentium E2180. The $84 Pentium E5200 was chosen with high hopes for its potential overclocking headroom.

It is a 2.5 GHz, dual-core, 45 nm Wolfdale with 2 MB L2 cache. But once again, our plans were not to keep it running at stock speeds for very long. Many readers may have wanted to squeeze the Core 2 Duo E7200 into this rig, but with quite a jump in price that’d push us further off budget, the E5200 with its higher multiplier was our processor of choice for this month’s value gaming rig.

CPU Cooler : Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro

This month, we strayed from our trusty Cooler Master Hyper TX2 and decided to use the extremely popular Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro to air cool our E5200. Both share a similar design with copper heatpipes and a 92 mm fan that directs air out toward the cases’ rear exhaust fan. The Freezer 7 Pro is just a bit larger and heavier, has a PWM controlled variable speed fan instead of a fixed fan speed, and has a slightly higher air flow at maximum RPMs. One advantage we gave up is how the Hyper TX2 has mounting hardware for cooling both an AMD and Intel system, while the Freezer 7 Pro is an Intel cooler and an AMD build would thus need to use the Freezer 64 Pro instead.

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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