System Builder Marathon Q4 2014: Budget Gaming PC

Graphics Card And Hard Drive

Graphics Card: MSI Radeon R9 270X Gaming 2G

Favorable pricing trends meant this quarter I could outfit Radeon R9 270X for less money then last quarter’s R9 270. However, this speed bump in default GPU clocks comes with the need for an additional 6-pin power lead, which may or may not increase power supply costs.

Read Customer Reviews of MSI's Radeon R9 270X Gaming 2G Graphics Card

MSI outfits this card with their Twin Frozr IV cooler, consisting of an aluminum heatsink and heatpipes which are topped by a pair of large 100mm fans tucked into plastic shroud. It’s an effective and quiet solution, solidifying the value of the purchase.

Hard Drive: Western Digital WD Blue WD10EZEX 1TB

Western Digital’s Blue-series 1TB hard drive hits the sweet spot in gigabyte per dollar value, giving us ample storage capacity and performance at a price we can usually squeeze into our budget.

Read Customer Reviews of Western Digitals WD Blue 1TB Hard Drive

This SATA 6.0Gb/s mechanical drive has 64MB cache, 7200RPM spindle rotation, and comes with a limited two-year warranty.

  • airplanegeek
    Why is the PSU fan facing up instead of down? Doesn't that affect the cooling of the PSU?
  • sea monkey
    Upon submission of the form:

    The Sweepstakes opens on September 23, 2014 12 noon PDT and closes on October 6, 2014 12 noon PDT.

  • pauldh
    Yes it would. And it is facing down, just hidden from sight in the photo. The PSU fan's venting holes are flush with (and actually a part of) it's shell.
  • Zeh
    Just a hint: you SHOULD be using an air conditioner so you can have the same room temperature over the year.
    Preferably one with Inverter technology, which will decrease the temperature delta (it doesn't start-stop once it reaches a given temperature threshold).
  • Onus
    Hmmm, I see some kudos for the VP-450 in here, being remarkably efficient despite not being 80+ (it is disqualified for 80+ for not having Active PFC).
    Since the purpose of these SBM machines is (imho) to learn things, I would have liked to have seen a different mobo used, for comparison.
    I appreciate the thoughtful approach to overclocking that was used here.
    The only niggle I can't resist is the $18 for the optical drive. For months, I've been seeing one or another of them for around $13-$14. That seems a small thing, but that $4-$5 plus the leftover may have bought either a better cooler or a faster HDD.
  • sea monkey
    totally disappeared from site


    while monitor temperatures


    to be sure it could bee done


    none the less


    it’s R9 270X graphics card


    Yet, both machines share a similar weakness, they’re outfitted with a dual-core Pentium capable of juggling only two threads at a time.

    comma splice

    outputting to 3-panels

    three panels
  • codyleemanofaction
    Darn those moving prices! I was hoping to see the R9 280 make it!
  • lesmore2222
    I agree with cody. I really wanted to see the difference a r9 280 would make as well. This was just too similar to the last build. Should have bought the r9 280 anyway and fibbed on the price a little. ;)
  • ingtar33
    A final thought to consider is at what point will the next big game on your radar force an early upgrade to Core i5? It might not be too far off, as Far Cry 4, which launched a week after we ordered this machine, completely lacks official support for dual-threaded processors.

    same with the game of the year, Dragon Age Inquisition.

    I suspect it's time to drop dual cores as a build suggestion.
  • BoredSysAdmin
    Great build. I would probably never built it exactly like the article (more ram, sdd - etc), but it provides great bones to build upon.