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System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: $600 Gaming PC

CPU And Cooler

Processor: Intel Core i5-3350P

Intel's Core i5-3350P gives us the benefit of Ivy Bridge without the integrated graphics engine we wouldn't have used anyway. This chip's four physical cores operate at 3.1 GHz by default, though they spin up to 3.3 GHz via Turbo Boost. We plan to push those clock rates as high as possible by capitalizing on the processor's limited overclocking headroom.

Read Customer Reviews of Intel's Core i5-3350P

CPU Cooler: Intel Retail Boxed Heat Sink and Fan

From this angle, the boxed cooler you get with Intel's Core i5-3350P looks identical to the one bundled with last quarter's Pentium G850. Both share low-profile orb-style aluminum fins, a low-speed 0.28 A PWM-controlled fan, and push-pin mounting brackets.

The difference between them is an integrated copper slug on the bottom of the Core i5's heat sink. The Pentium's solution is all-aluminum. Although we wouldn't consider this bundled add-on anything special, it's quiet and plenty capable of keeping up with our 69 W CPU, which doesn't support the overclocking headroom of a K-series processor anyway.

  • Proximon
    Sounds about right. Not quite the sweet spot for a budget rig, but then we don't get too many requests for $600 firm. A higher clocked i3 would have been the way to go.
    Reply
  • esrever
    I think you can fit the 7870 LE in there if you choose a cheaper mobo and went with an i3 or an AMD build.
    Reply
  • EzioAs
    As usual, love the system builder article.

    This $600 build seems nice. Personally, I would drop the optical drive, replace the Z75 board with a cheaper H77 motherboard, get a cheap 8GB (2x4GB) memory kit and a 2GB version of the Radeon HD7850. I think it's possible that it'll be between $600-610.

    That's just what I would change. This build is still nice to be honest. :)
    Reply
  • itzsnypah
    Why isn't noise a benchmark? Every build you showcase you ignore acoustics. A very noisy build should affect it's overall performance negatively, while a quiet one should affect it positively. Noise is a very important factor in Case Reviews so why isn't it a factor here?
    Reply
  • ARICH5
    noise isnt a factor in a gaming rig...thats for htcp stuff
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    10450191 said:
    Sounds about right. Not quite the sweet spot for a budget rig, but then we don't get too many requests for $600 firm. A higher clocked i3 would have been the way to go.

    That 3350P is a pretty nice CPU though. It performs at near FX-8320 levels while consuming 1/2 the power. I'd definitely use it in a low budget rig over anything else.
    Reply
  • ARICH5
    i question the longevity of a 400w psu in a build like this though
    Reply
  • slomo4sho
    The CPU budget is higher than the GPU budget for this gaming machine? I understand the desire for a 4 core processor but you could definitely have a better gaming rig by investing more in the GPU and trimming the CPU budget.
    Reply
  • slomo4sho
    arich5i question the longevity of a 400w psu in a build like this though~54%(216W) capacity when under CPU + GPU load. There shouldn't be any concern with the PSU failing under these loads.
    Reply
  • lunyone
    It would have been interesting with a 7870 GPU, like below:

    / /

    CPU: ($123.79 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: ($76.99 @ Amazon)
    Memory: ($29.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: ($49.99 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: ($209.99 @ Newegg)
    Case: ($25.98 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: ($29.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: ($17.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $564.71
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-26 02:52 EST-0500)
    But the 3350P makes things interesting when an app can benefit from more cores! I had to get a better PSU to fit the 7870 into the budget. There is also $50 in MIR's equated into the final price, so the actual price paid would be $614 out the door. I'm not sure the i3 would have been a better overall CPU, but it would have made things interesting in the gaming department :)
    Reply