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System Builder Marathon: $625 Gaming PC

Benchmark Results: Synthetics


The $625 PC, with its E7300 and high-clocked HD 4850, approaches 8,000 in the performance test. A little better CPU overclock would have easily put us over that mark. Of course, you have to take any synthetic metric with a grain of salt.

Overclocking provided the largest gain in the productivity test and pretty much no improvement in the hard drive test.

The biggest and most frustrating issue we faced during the use of this machine is worth mentioning. PCMark Vantage was our final benchmark for our overclocked system, and two-thirds of the way through, we were booted to the desktop with a "Program is not responding" message that seemed to be related to Internet Explorer 7, which is a requirement for testing. A reboot and attempt to rerun the benchmark resulted in a blue screen. 

Re-installation of Vantage allowed us to complete the benchmark, but now some of the scores were significantly lower than expected.  Various diagnostic attempts did not lead to a solution, and it took a fresh Vista installation in order to properly complete the PCMark Vantage testing.

We close out the testing suite with decent gains in the Sandra benchmarks. At stock clock speeds, this month’s system with its 1,066 MHz FSB has a much higher memory bandwidth score compared to what budget systems in previous months offered with an 800 MHz FSB. Overclocking to a 1,600 MHz FSB yields a 19% increase, while in comparison, the October $500 PC gained a whopping 50% when going from 800 MHz to 1,600 MHz FSB.

  • spirto
    once again no amd setup? i thought you said you were going to give us amd users a smb
  • DFGum
    Sure they could give a 625 dollar AMD setup, but it just wouldnt be as good at this time so why bother?
    Its always about value at the price points.
  • JeanLuc
    What’s the point in an AMD setup when the Intel option gives you better value for money?
  • Claimintru
    Negative'd you Spirto for being a mindless fanboy.
  • V3NOM
    lol... my e5200 crapped out at 3.7ghz 1.4vcore... someone i know got his e7300 to 4.0ghz at some ridiculous vcore though lol... it really depends on teh chip. some get good VID's, some get bad. some overclock good, some overclock crap, its the natura of binning. naturally e8400's would be binned more than the 5 and 7 series, and the e8500/8600 would be better still.
  • when r u guys gonna write about the nvidia ion platform?!?!?!?!
  • zodiacfml
    i wouldn't risk buying an e7300 over an e5200. i have built amd systems, now i'm regretting why i didn't bought pentium dual core which are practically core2duo's with less cache.

    regarding nvidia ion, i think intel is thinking deeply of whether they allow nvidia to Atom since netbooks still sell without it.
  • Veesofnaught
    I actually just got done purchasing parts for a new pc that ended up being around that same price. This is my first time building a PC so I'm not sure if I could have done better, but I think it's worth mentioning if anyone is interested in going for a Quad Core instead of the Dual Core.

    Intel Quad Core Q6600
    Asus P5QL Pro Motherboard
    NVidia 9800 GTX
    GSkill 4 Gb Ram
    580 Watt PSU
    Rosewill Mid-Tower
    160 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive
    SATA CD/DVD Burner
  • Master Exon
    I guess I will share my for-Christmas build with TH.

    $82 2.5GHz E5200 45nm C2D
    $0 (no CPU cooler)
    $54 ASUS P5KPL-CM
    $34 A-DATA 2x2GB (4GB) DDR2 800
    $200 GeForce 260
    $55 WD 320GB WD3200AAKS
    $0 integrated sound
    $0 integrated network
    $12 Spray painted an old beige case black.
    $67 500W SeaSonic
    $22 LG DVD burner
    $10 card reader

    $526 Total

    I don't see why they didn't shave off $40 for the cheaper CPU
  • weinheimer
    That is a nicely configured system at fair pricing