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System Builder Marathon Q1 2015: Budget Gaming PC

Memory, Drives, Case and Power

Memory: 8GB G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3 1600 F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL

In each of my budget-oriented gaming PCs, the goal is to find 8GB of memory in a dual-channel configuration without breaking the bank. This quarter, CAS 11 modules could have saved some money, but I instead grabbed a popular kit from G.Skill that sports an XMP profile at DDR3-1600 with CL9-9-9-24 timings.

Read Customer Reviews of G.Skill's Ripjaws F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL Kit

Hard Drive: Western Digital WD Blue WD10EZEX 1TB

Western Digital’s Blue-series 1TB disks hits the capacity-per-dollar sweet spot, yielding ample capacity and performance at a price we can usually squeeze into our budget.

Read Customer Reviews of WD's Blue 1TB Hard Drive

This SATA 6Gb/s mechanical drive has 64MB cache, a 7200 RPM spindle and a limited two-year warranty.

Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK SATA 24X DVD Burner

Optical drives aren't necessary for a lot of folks, but we're inclined to believe you’ll still want one occasionally. This quarter, adding an internal model like Asus' 24x burner only set me back $20.

Read Customer Reviews of Asus' DRW-24B1ST DVD Burner

Case: NZXT Source 210 Elite Black

While the components inside determine whether this machine outperforms or falters in the latest games, you have to live with the enclosure's aesthetics every day. To look the part of a gaming PC, I sunk my surplus budget into the Source 210 Elite from NZXT. Able to house full-size ATX motherboards, a bottom-mounted power supply, eight internal hard drives and up to six cooling fans, it would seem overkill for our modest selection of components. But USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports (one of each) enable the front-panel connectivity we need, and the two bundled exhaust fans will come in handy for keeping our tuned Radeon card running cool.

Read Customer Reviews of NZXT's Source 210 Elite Case

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

EVGA's 100-W1-500-KR sports a pair of 6+2-pin PCI Express power leads, alleviating the need for an inelegant adapter for our Radeon graphics card. This 500W unit comes with a three-year warranty, is 80 PLUS-certified and is rated to deliver up to 40A on the +12V rail.

Read Customer Reviews of EVGA's 10-W1-500-KR Power Supply

  • cmi86
    Over all I like it. I am glad to see that you went with the superior R9 280 over the thoroughly underwhelming GTX 960, which I thought you may have felt obligated to include in the budget build. Only minor gripe I have is that I am sure you could have saved five dollars somewhere to get that SSD in there, case maybe ?
    Reply
  • TNT27
    ehh, id rather drop down to a regular 210 case, and get a better psu
    Reply
  • damric
    Should have used Windows 10 Preview instead of paying $100 for OS. It's an obvious choice for a cheap build.
    Reply
  • TechyInAZ
    15365194 said:
    Should have used Windows 10 Preview instead of paying $100 for OS. It's an obvious choice for a cheap build.

    I disagree, eventually windows 10 preview will stop working when windows 10 is officially out. And for people viewing and building a duplicate rig off this post half to a year later, they would be out of luck.

    Nice computer! I personally would have chosen a gigabyte mobo instead.
    Reply
  • Onus
    I didn't like it. I can't help but think I'll get lots of downvotes, but it looks like a hodgepodge of throwaway parts. By that I mean every choice was an example of "settling" for less than what was probably wanted. On a tight budget, with limited or no future upgrade possibilities, maybe it is the best that can be done. Throw in some possible future upgrades though, and I would have made some sacrifices for the benefit of future growth. For example, I'd rather see a more competent mobo (e.g. to allow a data RAID1), PSU, and storage (i.e. including a SSD), and would have lowered the CPU and/or graphics card (depending on benchmarks) in order to get there. As good as most modern games look even on a mix of "high" and "medium" settings, this would create a system with much longer-lasting core components, and snappier "home-user" performance (because of the SSD). Future GPU and/or CPU upgrades in a year or so would keep the whole system humming right along.
    Reply
  • envy14tpe
    This is the best Budget Gaming PC I've seen on this site. Love the choices. Did not skimp and no overkill on one component while weak other components. For a build under $600 you could not have done better. This will max out 1080p gaming!
    Reply
  • MerryLane
    Why not buy an AIO cooler with these 100 dollars and overclock the hell out of the pentium?
    After all the i3 has only two cores too ... and no overclocking possible.

    I'm pretty sure that 50% overclocking is greater than 2 extra threads that give at best 30%.

    There are also great bundles everywhere, G3258 + motherboard for cheaper.

    The GTX 960 also seem more future proof than a 280 and barely more expansive.
    Reply
  • TNT27
    15366289 said:
    Why not buy an AIO cooler with these 100 dollars and overclock the hell out of the pentium?
    After all the i3 has only two cores too ... and no overclocking possible.

    I'm pretty sure that 50% overclocking is greater than 2 extra threads that give at best 30%.

    There are also great bundles everywhere, G3258 + motherboard for cheaper.

    The GTX 960 also seem more future proof than a 280 and barely more expansive.

    Are you serious in saying that you belive a gtx 960 is more future proof? The r9 280 is on par or better than the 960, and its cheaper. When overclocked the 280 can reach into gtx 770 territory. Its also go a wider bus, and a extra gig of vram= much better performance in higher resolutions, and newer games that are starting to use that gig of vram.
    Reply
  • dstarr3
    I've built with that case before, and it is really surprisingly good for it's cost. But I got it for $35 at my local computer parts store. Regular price. If you're paying $50 for it, you're mad.
    Reply
  • turkey3_scratch
    I don't see why SSDs are being considered a necessity. With Windows 8 and the fast startup you don't even need to worry about waiting a minute, and on a budget I don't see why it's worth the extra money just to calm one's impatience for 10 seconds of loading.
    Reply