System Builder Marathon Q4 2014: Budget Gaming PC

Case, Power Supply, And Optical Drive

Case: DIYPC M89-R mATX Mini Tower

Although in the System Builder Marathons we are most concerned with the costs of performance hardware, we still realize many folks will need to budget in their complete needs, including the case, OS and maybe even a new monitor. Making every dollar count, this quarter I shaved 40 percent off the enclosure getting the total hardware cost well under $500.

Read Customer Reviews of DIYPC's M89-R Case

The M89-R looks like your typical no frills office PC, only with a partial mesh bezel and soft glowing red LED fans. Compared to our previous build, we sacrifice interior volume, airflow, and cable management provisions. But the necessities are all here including two cooling fans, front USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, and ample space to accommodate a lengthy graphics card.

Power Supply: EVGA 100-W1-0500-KR 500W

Antec’s popular VP-450 could easily power this system, with reserve. However, priced the same, the EVGA 100-W1-500-KR sports a pair of 6+2 pin PCI Express power leads, eliminating the need to rely a clunky adapter to feed power to our Radeon R9 270X graphics hardware.

Read Customer Reviews of EVGA's 10-W1-0500-KR Power Supply

This 500W unit comes with a three-year warranty, 80 Plus certification, and is rated to deliver up to 40A of +12V power. And although for this build we’d much appreciate working with modular cabling, this compact design should still fit nicely within our smaller enclosure.

Optical Drive: LG 24X DVD Burner Model GH24NSB0B

While an optical drive may no longer be a necessity for many folks, we’re inclined to believe you’ll still want access to one for occasional use. This quarter I again found LG to offer the most affordable internal SATA DVD burner.

Read Customer Reviews of LG's GH24NSB0B DVD Burner

  • 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.