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System Builder Marathon, March 2011: $500 Gaming PC

Motherboard And Memory

Motherboard: ASRock M3A770DE

Based on the AMD 770/SB710 chipset, this inexpensive board has already demonstrated to us stability, overclocking potential, and the ability to unlock dormant processing cores. Factor in CrossFireX (limited to x16/x4) and Phenom II X6 support, plus a pair of powered eSATAII/USB connectors, and its $60 price tag looks even sweeter.

Read Customer Reviews of ASRock's M3A770DE

ASRock’s use of solid capacitors in key areas of the voltage regulator circuit improves lifespan and reliability, while reducing cost versus the use of solid components throughout its design.

Memory: 4GB G.Skill Model F3-10666CL9D-4GBNS

Read Customer Reviews of G.Skill's F3-10666CL9D-4GBNS Memory Kit

Faced with a tight budget, we were excited to find 4 GB of DDR3 for $40. This basic dual-channel kit of G.Skill PC3 10600 (DDR3-1333) lacks heat spreaders, and is rated at CL9 and 1.5 V.

  • tacoslave
    i think orange looks spiffy
    Reply
  • abswindows7
    worst case in the world.
    Reply
  • LuckyDucky7
    "I’ll certainly entertain the possibility of Intel’s newly-available Core i3-2100 for the next SBM."

    Have fun overclocking that rig!

    I'd choose my O/C'd i3-530 @ 3.75 GHz (stock, air-cooled) over any of the new Sandy Bridge offerings any day.
    The 2100 just cannot compete with that- it's marginally better than a first-gen i3, and it cannot be pushed harder.

    *Hopes Bulldozer will be ready by that time*
    Reply
  • wolfram23
    Pretty darn good for $500!
    Reply
  • Judguh
    Good Build!
    Reply
  • hmp_goose
    Need the optical drive?
    Reply
  • haplo602
    now finaly a low SBM build I like.

    ++ on the PSU (finaly not a 500W+ waste)
    + on the case (looks decent)
    Reply
  • lunyone
    Pretty good build for the $. I would've gone with the Athlon x4 or x3 to keep things under budget, but that is just me. There are plenty of GPU options in the ~$170 price range. I think you might've got one of "those" GPU's that you read about. This is why "expecting" OC'ing abilities with whatever part you buy, shouldn't be taken for granted. Buy what you can afford and if you get a good OC on your parts, feel blessed:)
    Reply
  • lunyone
    I would've taken the savings on the CPU and bought better RAM or maybe even a different case, but that is just nit picking a bit :)
    Reply
  • one-shot
    Would someone please explain the point of comparing the old SBM to the new one if there isn't a list of the parts from the SBM done in the past? These have always been annoying when the reader is forced to look back to December for a detailed list of parts. This has been practiced for years here. It makes no sense comparing to something the reader has no idea as to the parts being used in the past. Seriously....

    Edit: Why Did I get a Minus one the second after my post was submitted?
    Reply