Making Every Dollar Count
System Builder Marathon, October 2008 : The Articles
Here are links to each of the four articles in this month’s System Builder Marathon (we’ll update them as each story is published).
- Day 1 : The $4,500 Super PC
- Day 2 : The $1,500 Mainstream PC
- Day 3 : The $500 Gaming PC
- Day 4 : Performance And Value, Dissected
How little money can you spend and still build a machine able to serve up decent performance in a wide range of applications and games ? In this System Builder Marathon, we aim to see if it can be done for less than $500.
With such a limited budget for the entry-level system, it seemed obvious that the components would need to take overclocking into consideration in order to truly put up impressive performance results.
Our choice of hardware may not satisfy everyone, nor will they necessarily offer the best performance out of the box, but we are confident that once overclocked, this system will squeeze a serious amount of performance and value out of each and every dollar spent. Let’s take a look at the pieces we picked for this month’s entry-level system.
|CPU||Intel Pentium E2180||70|
|CPU Cooler||Cooler Master Hyper TX2||30|
|RAM||Wintec AMPO PC2-6400 2x1GB||35|
|Graphics||PNY VCG88512GXEB-FLB GeForce 8800 GT 512MB||110|
|Hard Drives||Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3400620AS 400GB||65|
|Sound||Integrated 8-Channel HD Audio||0|
|Network||Integrated Gigabit Networking||0|
|Power||Earthwatts 380W Included w/Case||0|
|Optical||Lite-On 20X DVD±R SATA Model iHAS120-04||24|
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Thanks for the article. I always enjoy these sbm builds you guys do. I guessed wrong again but actually think you guys picked a better choice. Nice to know build quality is still taken into consideration even at the 500 dollar range. Also just to mention this again next time noise and power consumption charts please.Reply
"The silicon hard drive grommets"Reply
That wouldn't dampen much noise.
Try silicone hard drive grommets
(They are usually silicon-oxygen based polymers)
I wish you used the E5200 CPU for this build, current prices reflect a difference of $14 only.Reply
Also, in the future, would it be possible for you to have two builds for the $500 budget build. One based on Intel AND the other on AMD?
I would have spent maybe 30$ on a cheapo case and put the 50$ toward's a hd4850! Most people building a 500$ pc are going to want maximun performance and not care what the case looks like.Reply
xX12amanXxI would have spent maybe 30$ on a cheapo case and put the 50$ toward's a hd4850! Most people building a 500$ pc are going to want maximun performance and not care what the case looks like.Reply
$30 for a case and PSU? Sounds like a build asking for trouble. I personally don't think $80 for a nice chassis and power supply is bad.
Slomo4shOI wish you used the E5200 CPU for this build, current prices reflect a difference of $14 only. Also, in the future, would it be possible for you to have two builds for the $500 budget build. One based on Intel AND the other on AMD?Reply
Heya Slo! We're actually weighing the possibility of simply switching off each month on the $500 system since AMD has some very compelling hardware in that range.
cangeliniHeya Slo! We're actually weighing the possibility of simply switching off each month on the $500 system since AMD has some very compelling hardware in that range.Reply
Well in this case, an AMD build might have allowed for a 4850. I look forward to seeing what you decide upon but I still think a monthly build of each platform at the $500 build is definitely something worthwhile.
Transitioning month to month between the two usually does not allow for comparative annalist in your "Performance And Value, Dissected" write-ups
Gotcha. We'll discuss that as a possibility, then.
I love the article and second the notion that it would be a great idea to run it every month. I for one am a firm believer of upgrading more consistently at a reasonable cost per component rather then just throwing $1500 at new machine.Reply
At some point it would be interesting if you guys could run an Upgrade Edition of the $500 system builder. Most people that have the courage and knowledge to overclock their new parts by over 50% (wow the E2180 rocks!)would almost definitely have components that they could and would want to swap between rigs.
Again, great article.
king_edgar"The silicon hard drive grommets" That wouldn't dampen much noise.Try silicone hard drive grommets(They are usually silicon-oxygen based polymers)Reply
What the hell are you saying?