The $500 Gaming Machine, 2007 Edition

Intel Platform: ECS G33T-M2 (G33 Chipset)

To satisfy users who want to stick with an Intel platform for obvious reasons (Core 2 Duo is the faster choice when compared to Athlon 64 X2, and the 45-nm generation may be here sooner than AMD's overdue Barcelona quad core CPUs), we grabbed the G33 motherboard by ECS, which we reviewed some weeks ago. At $90 and up it is more expensive than the motherboard for AMD processors, but it has four rather than two DIMM sockets.

There is an x16 PCI Express slot for graphics, an additional x1 PCIe slot and two 32 bit PCI slots. The G33 chipset has an integrated graphics unit, but this motherboard only offers a simple D-sub connector for your display. We would have preferred DVI or even HDMI, but you'll have to spend at least $15-$20 more to get an HDMI port. This is much cheaper with the AMD solution.

This motherboard comes with integrated graphics, but it doesn't feature a DVI or HDMI output like the MSI board for the Athlon X2 processor. Expect to spend an extra $20 if you want an Intel chipset motherboard with HDMI.