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

Graphics Card And Hard Drive

Graphics Card: Sapphire 100314-3L Radeon HD 6870 1 GB

It only took an extra $10 to step up from a Radeon HD 6850 to the HD 6870, providing more ALUs and texture units, as well as higher core and memory clocks. This card features reference-class clock rates and and output connectivity.

Read Customer Reviews of Sapphire's Radeon HD 6870 1 GB

Sapphire’s bundle includes a DVI-to-VGA adapter, two PCIe Molex power adapters (one of which we need to use in this build), and a DiRT 3 game coupon. Unfortunately, no Crossfire bridge connector is included; hopefully you get that in your motherboard kit.

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500 GB

Read Customer Reviews of Seagate's Barracuda ST500DM002 500 GB Hard Drive

Although our selected motherboard is limited to SATA 3Gb/s connectivity, the Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 gives us 500 GB of storage capacity, a 7200 RPM spindle speed, and 16 MB of cache at the low $40 starting point for internal storage drives.

  • 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!!!