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

Benchmark Results: Productivity

This isn’t even close. Because 3ds Max is optimized for multi-core processors, AMD's quad-core Phenom II makes quick work of Intel's dual-core CPU aided by Hyper-Threading.

You'll see this trend repeat over and over. In well-threaded apps, AMD has the advantage, while Intel's architecture has a harder time keeping up.


The Phenom II X4 also outpaces Intel’s similarly-priced Core i3 in Photoshop and ABBYY FineReader, both of which are similarly optimized to take advantage of cores working in parallel.

While the current AMD rig extends its productivity dominance a bit further in 7-Zip, the other file compression jobs are completed quicker by June’s Core i3-2100.

  • 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!!!