System Builder Marathon, March 2011: $500 Gaming PC


Once again, the $500 PC was a simple build. But, there are a few notations to pass on regarding the Asgard II case.

The removable front bezel aids in prepping the 5.25” bay for drive installation. In fact, it was downright difficult to release the mesh bay cover without first removing the whole bezel.

An all-black interior is desired for an extra-clean finish, though there was a downside with the execution of this enclosure. Finger-threading some of the black standoffs into the painted motherboard tray was impossible. Fortunately a handy 5mm nut driver makes it a simple task.

The case's motherboard tray includes a cut-out to simplify the installation of more exotic cooling solutions. Built-in cable management helps tidy up the installation a bit, although there isn’t much room behind the right-side panel for managing groups of wires or spare Molex connectors.

Familiar tool-less drive mechanisms are effective for a stationary PC, but we’d exercise caution before relying on them during transportation. Needless to say, this system is going to get shipped to the winner without its hard drive installed. Xigmatek only populates one side of the disk cage with these clips. If you want to secure your storage, you'll have to steal clips from one side to fasten down the other.

Our modest assortment of hardware is almost lost inside a deep, spacious enclosure capable of housing 11.5” video cards (sorry, Radeon HD 6990). There are a few small quality issues to point out, such as body panels not lining up perfectly. But, overall, it’s an impressive $30 package that we would certainly consider using again.

  • tacoslave
    i think orange looks spiffy
  • abswindows7
    worst case in the world.
  • 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*
  • wolfram23
    Pretty darn good for $500!
  • Judguh
    Good Build!
  • hmp_goose
    Need the optical drive?
  • haplo602
    now finaly a low SBM build I like.

    ++ on the PSU (finaly not a 500W+ waste)
    + on the case (looks decent)
  • 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:)
  • 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 :)
  • 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?