Page 1:Serious Gaming, On The Cheap
Page 2:CPU And Cooler
Page 3:Motherboard And Memory
Page 4:Graphics Card And Hard Drive
Page 5:Case, Power Supply, And Optical Drive
Page 6:Assembling Our Budget-Oriented Box
Page 7:Limited To Graphics Overclocking
Page 8:Test System Configuration And Benchmarks
Page 9:Benchmark Results: Synthetics
Page 10:Benchmark Results: Battlefield 3 And DiRT 3
Page 11:Benchmark Results: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim And StarCraft II
Page 12:Benchmark Results: Audio And Video
Page 13:Benchmark Results: Productivity
Page 14:Power Consumption And Temperatures
Page 15:Performance Summary And Efficiency
Page 16:Did We Spend Our Money Wisely?
Assembling Our Budget-Oriented Box
Building our $500 gaming rig went just the way I was hoping it would: simply and event-free. In fact, I recorded very few notes worth sharing. Everything you need to know is apparent from looking at the system photo.
Our modest selection of components is lost within a deep enclosure, armed with a full-height nine-bay drive cage and capable of housing 12” expansion cards. Just remember that you'll probably lose access to one internal 3.5” bay for each slot populated by a 9.5” or longer card.
We ran into this same issue last quarter with our H61 Express-based microATX board: Gigabyte’s platform blocks access to two internal SATA 3Gb/s ports any time a six-inch or longer dual-slot graphics card is installed. If you plan to install a serious gaming-oriented GPU, you'll likely be limited to one 6 Gb/s and three 3 Gb/s SATA connectors.
The only slight challenges we encountered during the build process were a front-panel HD Audio ribbon cable that left little length to spare and a failed attempt by yours truly to hide the power supply leads. It’s not often that I’d complain about a case being too roomy and deep for neat cable management. This time around, however, very few leads were long enough to tuck out of sight. Instead, we focused attention on simply keeping the cables secure and clear of the fans.
Although the result isn't particularly striking, the overall fit and finish of the completed build is certainly acceptable, especially considering its rock-bottom cost. No news is good news; there is no ill-fitting side panel to report and fan vibration is kept in check. Although Rosewill likely uses the same 120 mm fan seen last quarter, it seems quieter this time around.
- Serious Gaming, On The Cheap
- CPU And Cooler
- Motherboard And Memory
- Graphics Card And Hard Drive
- Case, Power Supply, And Optical Drive
- Assembling Our Budget-Oriented Box
- Limited To Graphics Overclocking
- Test System Configuration And Benchmarks
- Benchmark Results: Synthetics
- Benchmark Results: Battlefield 3 And DiRT 3
- Benchmark Results: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim And StarCraft II
- Benchmark Results: Audio And Video
- Benchmark Results: Productivity
- Power Consumption And Temperatures
- Performance Summary And Efficiency
- Did We Spend Our Money Wisely?