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System Builder Marathon, December 2010: $500 PC

Motherboard And Memory

Motherboard: ASRock M3A770DE

Based on the AMD 770/SB710 chipset, this inexpensive board has already demonstrated stability, some degree of 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 the $60 price tag looks even sweeter.

Read Customer Reviews of ASRock's M3A770DE Motherboard

It's worth pointing out, once again, that ASRock’s use of solid capacitors in key areas of the voltage regulator circuit  helps improve lifespan and reliability, at the same time reducing cost compared to vendors who use solid components throughout the design.

Memory: Mushkin Enhanced Essentials 996586

Read Customer Reviews of Mushkin's Enhanced Essentials 996586 Memory Kit

We could have chosen the same two gigabytes of Crucial RAM from September’s $400 build, but we instead grabbed this four gigabyte kit of Mushkin for $20 more. This is basic PC3 10600 (DDR3-1333) fare, lacking heat spreaders, and rated at CL9 and 1.5 V.

  • LuckyDucky7
    And this is really the only PC build that will stay relevant come January- it will remain the only budget platform that can be overclocked, after all.

    Incidentally, this would be the only PC you'd want to contemplate building right now (since the new Core i3s don't come out immediately like the i5s and i7s do- and the Pentium G8XX series doesn't allow overclocking of its platform.)
    Reply
  • Tamz_msc
    Ah, much better than the previous build!
    Reply
  • Proximon
    Great job squeezing everything into a very small budget.
    Reply
  • adbat
    Good build - but again it would be good to see old spec on test system page.
    Reply
  • rohitbaran
    That is a great combination for that budget. Balanced.
    Reply
  • yyk71200
    I wouldn't be very comfortable using a 380 watt PSU for a long time for GTX 460 even if it is good quality. Perhaps, I would put in something of 450 watt or higher.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    LuckyDucky7And this is really the only PC build that will stay relevant come January- it will remain the only budget platform that can be overclocked, after all.Incidentally, this would be the only PC you'd want to contemplate building right now (since the new Core i3s don't come out immediately like the i5s and i7s do- and the Pentium G8XX series doesn't allow overclocking of its platform.)So you think there's going to be a replacement platform for the $2000 PC in January? That's not going to happen for a while. Or are you suggesting the next $2000 PC should be downgraded to P67?
    Reply
  • dragoon190
    I haven't been keeping up with the system marathon much, but what's the reasoning for choosing nVidia card over AMD's? Just wondering since I'm thinking about upgrading my computer soon.
    Reply
  • jj463rd
    A really nice build this time.However the price of the case and power supply has gone up in price over at newegg.I haven't checked the prices of the other components though.This build seems to perform quite well especially in the gaming benchmarks.Good job!
    Reply
  • tstng
    I would've gone with a 6850 instead of the 460. It's a tad cheaper, not at all slower if you don't start cranckin' up the tesselation, and should fit the 380W psu a lot better. But a solid build by all means.
    Reply