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System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: $600 Gaming PC

Motherboard And Memory

Motherboard: ASRock Z75 Pro3

Based on the not very well-known Intel Z75 Express chipset, ASRock's Z75 Pro3 introduces some enthusiast-class functionality at a price point that fits within our budget. In essence, this platform is identical to the company's Z77 Pro3, minus support for Intel's Smart Response Technology and $13.

Most important to us is that, armed with a Z75 Express PCH, it should be able to bolster our processor frequency and memory data rate.

Read Customer Reviews of ASRock's Z75 Pro3

Both this Pro3-series board and the one based on Z77 Express include one 16-lane PCIe 3.0-capable slot, one PCI Express x16 slot limited to x4 transfers at second-gen signaling rates, a PCI Express x1 slot, and two PCI slots.

Four DIMM slots support up to 32 GB of DDR3 memory in a dual-channel configuration, with overclocking as high as 2,800 MT/s. Other on-board features include a pair of SATA 6Gb/s connectors, four SATA 3Gb/s connectors, and internal headers for two USB 3.0 and six USB 2.0 ports. Rear I/O connectivity includes two more USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, a PS/2 port, Ethernet, display outputs, and audio jacks.

Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) DDR3-1600 Kit

Read Customer Reviews of G.Skill's F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL 4 GB Kit

Oh happy day. No longer limited to capped memory data rates by entry-level motherboards and CPUs, we avoided the basic DDR3-1333 RAM we're so used to buying. Instead, we spent a bit more on a 4 GB G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3-1600 kit, rated at CAS 9 latencies and 1.5 V.

  • 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