The $500 Gaming Machine

Branded Value Memory

Image source : NewEgg.

Choosing the best memory is a matter of maximizing the supported architecture of the motherboard and matching with the lowest latency times, plus fitting into our limited budget. With our choice of the ASRock motherboard and our AMD Athlon 64 3000+ processor, a lot of our parameters are already set. We just need to find a good match (for the money, of course). The motherboard and CPU we selected support dual channel DDR400 (PC3200). The best bargain we could find here was the Corsair Value Select 512 MB kit at $52, which it’s hard to beat.

Ideally, in a game system you would want 1 GB of RAM. We are starting to see more and more RAM-hungry titles like Battlefield 2 that are actually seeing a benefit of up to 2 GB of RAM. It’s hard to comment whether this is due to inefficient software design or not, but a 15% improvement can be achieved in the case of Battlefield 2.

However, initially setting this rig up with 512 MB provides adequate memory that is inside our budget of $500. Expanding to more memory would be an easy and economical upgrade down the road. Spending the least amount of money on the products that are easiest to upgrade is a sound strategy.