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System Builder Marathon, Q4 2012: $500 Gaming PC

Assembling Our Budget-Oriented Box

Prepping Rosewill’s Blackbone is simple. The front bezel snaps off with a small tug from the bottom. And with no front-panel wiring attached, it's easy to set that aside while you're working on the drive cages or fiddling with the front fan.

As we’ve seen in the past, threading the painted standoffs into the painted motherboard tray requires a nut driver. We couldn't do this by hand.

The ASRock H77 Pro4/MVB gives us an option to reuse a cooler designed for Intel's LGA 775 interface, which is nice. But frankly, this is overshadowed by the board's thin, flexible PCB (not so nice). Exercise extreme caution when it comes to mounting the boxed Intel heat sink and attaching the 24-pin ATX power connector. I can't recall the last time I was worried about damaging a motherboard during system assembly.

As you can see, the Blackbone is a roomy case. Our short 8” graphics card made it possible to mount the hard drive in any of the internal 3.5” bays. Unlike some of the enclosures we’ve used, Rosewill doesn't skimp on the length of its internal cables. The fan and front-panel leads are long enough for us to wire everything up neatly. Unfortunately, although our motherboard has an on-board USB 3.0 header, this older case design doesn't offer front-panel USB 3.0 ports. We were able to connect all four USB 2.0 ports using on-board headers, but had to curl up the eSATA cable, leaving one non-functional port on the front header.

Although the assembly was pretty straightforward and we were able to get this machine up and running quickly, we did run into one small problem the first time we fired it up. The bezel’s vent filter was a bit warped inward, making the slightest bit of contact with the case fan. The result was a faint ticking sound. It was only a minor issue, solved by removing the bezel and pressing the grill out a bit.

  • 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