System Builder Marathon, Sept. 2011: $500 Gaming PC

Benchmark Results: F1 2010 And Metro 2033

F1 2010

A high clock rate, a quartet of execution cores, and possibly even lots of L3 cache helps the Phenom II X4 achieve a narrow victory at these CPU-limited quality settings. Incidentally, we've seen the six-core Thuban design really struggle in F1 2010. Meanwhile, quad-core Phenom IIs seem to handle it just fine.

Ultra quality details and 8x MSAA introduce enough of a graphical load to see the Radeon HD 6850 drop off as resolution is increased, but any one of these configurations is still capable of maxed-out 1920x1080 game play.

Metro 2033

Clear scaling by resolution indicates a graphics limitation at our lowest test settings. This quarter's PC, armed with a stock Radeon HD 6870, is just about on par with June’s best efforts with an overclocked Radeon HD 6850.

These results tell us that we picked the right settings for playing Metro 2033 on both $500 configurations.

We enable all of the candy (apart from “Advanced PhysX”) for this second test set, including the highest detail levels, 4x MSAA, and the frame rate-zapping Depth of Field (DoF) filter. These options are for the big boys; it will be ages before we can touch such cranked-up Metro 2033 settings using this low system budget.

  • alchemy69
    Time to bring on the usual motley crew of fanboys and everyone who just knows that they could do better.
  • Ugly case! I know I am stating the obvious, but seriously...
  • Outlander_04
    The i3 2100 is a remarkable cpu , but it just cant beat 4 physical cores and a bit of overclocking .
  • slicedtoad
    very nice article, i was wondering how the 955 oced would do against the i3.

    While there are many unthinkable things in this build, the low price of $500 is also unthinkable. That's less than an ipad....
  • Why have the charts reduced to an unreadable size for this article?
  • Zero_
    Nice. Finally someone who knows how to get value for money. I approve :P
  • zooted
    This is my favorite build this sbm. I just love the fact that you can have a true 1080p gaming experience for $500 bucks.
  • mayankleoboy1
    whats with the fuzzy and unreadable charts?
  • bobfrys
    This is a tad bit better then the one I built off of the earlier build i used from toms. (Built it soon after school ended).
  • lunyone
    This is probably the ONLY $500 build (except for the very 1st one) that I've agreed on mostly (not liking the case too much, but it works in this budget).

    The last $500 build just was crap generally (micro-ATX and not many options on the mobo, IMHO).

    This budget gaming rig is really close to what I'd build for a friend/family member that wanted to have a gaming rig. I'd change a few things, of coarse, but the overall direction (and selection of parts) is SPOT ON, IMHO!! Good job guys at TH!!!