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System Builder Marathon, Q4 2012: $500 Gaming PC

CPU And Cooler

Processor: Intel Pentium G850

Intel’s Sandy Bridge-based Pentiums deliver amazing performance for budget-minded gamers right out of their boxes. But their overall potency is capped by two processing cores, a locked multiplier ratio, and a lack of value-added extras like Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading.

Although it's a slap in the face to many enthusiasts, what you see here is what you get. At least the 2.9 GHz Pentium G850 offers great performance per clock, low power consumption, 3 MB of shared L3 cache, and DDR3-1333 memory support. More important still, its $70 price tag freed up resources we could spend on other system components.

Read Customer Reviews of Intel's Pentium G850

Cooler: Intel's Boxed Heat Sink And Fan

Intel's boxed cooler consists of a familiar orb-style aluminum heat sink, a low-speed PWM-controlled fan, and a push-pin mounting bracket. It's quiet, which we like, and wholly sufficient given this platform's complete inability to overclock.

  • killerchickens
    $501 Plus $100 for a copy of windows 7.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    killerchickens$501 Plus $100 for a copy of windows 7.Run Linux, this is a hardware shootout.
    Reply
  • willyroc
    I personally feel that they could have gone with H61 and gotten a 2GB 7850 instead.
    Reply
  • killerchickens
    CrashmanRun Linux, this is a hardware shootout.
    Linux for a gaming desktop I dont think so.
    Reply
  • willyroc
    Not to mention that the 500GB version of the HDD is only $3 more.
    Reply
  • jerm1027
    Our best alternative remained the quad-core Phenom II X4 995 Black Edition for $95. But we chose not to revisit this old favorite, figuring that adding a Radeon HD 7850 would have taxed our budget.
    What about the Phenom II 965? It's only $75 at TigerDirect.
    Reply
  • killerchickens
    Why is Windows 8 Professional being used?
    Reply
  • EzioAs
    9539399 said:
    I personally feel that they could have gone with H61 and gotten a 2GB 7850 instead.

    I think they'd be better off with a B75 motherboard, 4GB RAM and an i3-3220.
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    I am not very comfortable using windows8 in these benches. Reason : Drivers have not yet matured for win8. I would have waited for the next quarter SBM before using win8.
    Reply
  • killerchickens
    Windows is free and we use Linux in are gaming Machines what are we in Soviet Russia .
    Reply