System Builder Marathon: $625 Gaming PC


Let’s sum up the total performance gains we achieved with our overclocking endeavors and see how well we measured up to our lofty expectations.

Looking at the average increase of 28%, it’s not hard to see the benefits of overclocking while gaming. The overall game’s percentage was knocked down due to the maximum settings used for Crysis testing, and when medium details were used, the percentage increase was 34% for Crysis instead of 14%, bringing the overall average up to 33%.

A stellar audio/video encoding increase of 57% overall and greater than 50% throughout the entire suite is the summit of this article’s overclocking data.

Checking out our other applications, we see exceptional gains in three of the five benchmarks with the overclocked PC. Low gains in AVG and WinRAR brought the overall application average down by quite a bit, but an average of 37% isn’t bad at all.

A total average performance increase of 41% speaks highly for this system’s ability to overclock and maximize the value of the money spent. Was it worth the extra $125 compared to last month’s system? Let’s decide by again looking at what upgrades were made possible with the increased budget: we were able to attain a case with better airflow, a beefier power supply better suited for upgrades, a larger and faster hard drive, a P45 based motherboard, a faster processor, a more powerful video card, twice the memory with tighter timings, and a higher overclock and percentage performance increase from overclocking. Not only did this PC blow out the $500 PC in almost every test, it managed to put up victories in half the applications tests versus the overclocked $1,500 PC, while even challenging the overclocked $4,500 system in a couple tests. In our book, if the funds are available, this all adds up to money well spent.

  • slomo4sho
    Very nice write up. I like the new price point :)
  • slomo4sho
    I forgot to mention that I still would like to see power consumption charts and possibly a AMD based build at this price point.
  • nerrawg
    Impressive results! Who says a system price has to adhere to budget figures of 500, 1500 and 4500 dollars, you guys really showed how much added value can be had when the right OC parts are purchased and assembled into a nice package. Well done!
  • cloudbase
    Hiya. Can you guys give a bit more detail about the 'further upgrades' you were inferring in the text of this article? So: Which P45 crossfire motherboard would have been nice; which RAM was out of stock; what would have been the benefiot of the more expensive CPU?

    Im looking to spend a similar amount, but as I already have the case, PSU etc it makes sense to explore those options.

    Presumably a 4870 would be better again?
  • radguy
    Thats a pretty awesome build thanks for the article. Although I am sorry but I have to ask. Do we have our real 4ghz dual core for $84 now?
  • jaragon13
    Sorry? What's with the comment box? I can't see what I'm typing.
    Anyways,my GTX 260 suffers on Crysis,so it's nothing new.
  • Pei-chen
    Great choice, let the AMD fan boys whiny; I would have picked the same setup if I am to build a cheap gaming PC.
  • matt2k
    Nice build for the money, though i personally would have sprung for a crossfire ready motherboard, the MSI P45 Neo2-FR for example.
    The only problem i have with this though is the operating system. surely that should be quite a major factor when creating a whole new system? and it would be nice to have the different vista's compared for gamers. i.e. is ultimate worth the bump in price for the extra's or is xp professional still the best option.
    just my thoughts.
  • zodiacfml
    Nicest article, not only you did not stick to any budget but also the parts chosen could not have been any better. This is a build i'm planning except i could have chosen a less performing 9800GT since its only in Crysis where a 4850 has a usable advantage over it.
    I am an AMD user for years but this pentium dual core overclocks so far over an athlon x2.
  • wh3resmycar
    someone from the forums was asking me months back where i can find a 4ghz e5200.. i guess this is it.