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System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: $600 Gaming PC

Case, Power Supply, And Optical Drive

Case: Xigmatek Asgard II B/B CPC-T45UC-U01 ATX Mid Tower

Off we went in search of an affordable mid-tower case with at least one 120 mm exhaust fan. If what we found looks somewhat familiar, that's because we've used Xigmatek's Asgard II on three prior occasions.

This case employs 0.8 mm SECC steel construction with an aluminum front bezel, along with the black painted interior that many builders favor nowadays. A single 120 mm PWM-controlled exhaust fan comes installed, and you're afforded room for up to three additional coolers.

Read Customer Reviews of Xigmatek's Asgard II CPC-T45UC-U01 Case (opens in new tab)

Xigmatek addresses varying personal tastes by selling this chassis with three different bezel highlight colors. This is the second time we’ve chosen the all-black version. However, we've also used the silver and orange models in Marathons past.

Power Supply: Antec Neo Eco 400C 400 W

Read Customer Reviews of Antec's Neo Eco 400C 400 W (opens in new tab)

Although AMD recommends a 500 W power supply with its Radeon HD 7850, the card only comes equipped with a single six-pin power lead. Moreover, at idle, we expect this combination of parts to sip power.

One 30 A +12 V rail is plenty; Antec's Neo Eco 400C (rated at 400 W) easily covers this system's requirements with reserve to spare. Features include 80 PLUS certification, active PFC circuitry, a quiet 120 mm fan, and Antec’s three-year warranty.

Optical Drive: Samsung DVD Burner 24x SATA Model SH-224BB/RSBS

Read Customer Reviews of Samsung's SH-224BB/RSBS 24x DVD Burner (opens in new tab)

More and more of you let us know in the comments section that you no longer require an optical drive. But we're not inclined to ditch our desktop’s burner just yet. Priced at a paltry $16 for a 24x SATA-based writer, that's affordable enough to cover those occasions when an optical drive does prove useful.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. :)
  • 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?
  • ARICH5
    noise isnt a factor in a gaming rig...thats for htcp stuff
  • 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.
  • ARICH5
    i question the longevity of a 400w psu in a build like this though
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 :)