System Builder Marathon: $625 Gaming PC

Benchmark Results: Gaming

Once again, we start with Crysis—one of the most hardware-crushing games available. It would take a far more expensive system with multiple GPUs to be playable at high resolutions and the maximum DirectX 10 at Very High settings used for our testing. Even overclocked, the $625 PC is unable to average 30 frames per second (FPS) at our lowest resolution.

Things get worse when adding even more demands to the GPU by enabling 4x AA. The HD 4850 leaves last month’s 8800 GT far behind, but still neither is even close to playable.

Let’s again look at more realistic playable settings for Crysis. At 1920x1200 medium details, the system averaged 39.00 FPS at stock and 49.77 FPS overclocked. At 1280x1024 high details, the average at stock speeds was 34.61 FPS, which rose to 42.52 FPS overclocked. Once a satisfying compromise of lowering resolution and tweaking detail settings is found, Crysis can still look great and play well on such a system.

Unlike in Crysis, very playable performance is achieved at the highest detail levels in Unreal Tournament 3. Once overclocked, we see huge gains in performance and stay well above 80 FPS at even the highest resolution leaving last month’s $500 PC far behind.

Forcing eye candy in the drivers, we see a drop in FPS due to the added strain on the GPU. But the HD 4850 still does quite well and stays over 50 FPS once overclocked, which is impressive playability for such an eye-pleasing game.

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  • Very nice write up. I like the new price point :)
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  • I forgot to mention that I still would like to see power consumption charts and possibly a AMD based build at this price point.
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  • 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!
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  • 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?
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  • 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?
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  • 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.
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  • Great choice, let the AMD fan boys whiny; I would have picked the same setup if I am to build a cheap gaming PC.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • someone from the forums was asking me months back where i can find a 4ghz e5200.. i guess this is it.
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  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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!
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  • 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).
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  • 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.
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  • 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
  • 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.
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  • theirs no OS which almost every system needs
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