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System Builder Marathon: $500 Gaming PC

Case, Power Supply, And Optical Drive

Case : Antec NSK4480B

Fitting all our components into Antec’s stylish NSK4480B Super Mini Tower case was no problem at all. The silicon hard drive grommets and three-speed 120 mm rear exhaust fan provided a quiet computing environment at stock speeds as well as good ventilation for our overclocking. Factor in the included $60 quality power supply, and the NSK 4480B provides just the value we needed for our entry-level system.

Read Customer Reviews of Antec’s NSK4480B

Power Supply : Antec Earthwatts 380 W

It’s the power supply’s job to provide clean stable voltages for our system components and we didn’t want to sacrifice quality just to obtain a higher wattage rating. The Earthwatts 380 W may need to be replaced if CPU or GPU upgrades are ever made, but its dual 17A +12V rails offer a maximum of 27 amps, and provided all the power we needed to overclock our $500 system as built. Quality, 80+ efficiency, and quiet operation add to the overall value even further.

Optical Drive : Lite-On 20X DVD±R SATA Model iHAS120-04

The highly affordable, quiet, and smooth-operating (Ed.—is that a Sade reference ?) Lite-On SATA 20X DVD+RW was the perfect DVD burner to complete our system just within budget.

Read Customer Reviews of Lite-On’s 20X DVD±R SATA Model iHAS120-04

  • radguy
    Thanks for the article. I always enjoy these sbm builds you guys do. I guessed wrong again but actually think you guys picked a better choice. Nice to know build quality is still taken into consideration even at the 500 dollar range. Also just to mention this again next time noise and power consumption charts please.
    Reply
  • "The silicon hard drive grommets"

    That wouldn't dampen much noise.

    Try silicone hard drive grommets
    (They are usually silicon-oxygen based polymers)
    Reply
  • slomo4sho
    I wish you used the E5200 CPU for this build, current prices reflect a difference of $14 only.

    Also, in the future, would it be possible for you to have two builds for the $500 budget build. One based on Intel AND the other on AMD?
    Reply
  • xx12amanxx
    I would have spent maybe 30$ on a cheapo case and put the 50$ toward's a hd4850! Most people building a 500$ pc are going to want maximun performance and not care what the case looks like.
    Reply
  • cangelini
    xX12amanXxI would have spent maybe 30$ on a cheapo case and put the 50$ toward's a hd4850! Most people building a 500$ pc are going to want maximun performance and not care what the case looks like.
    $30 for a case and PSU? Sounds like a build asking for trouble. I personally don't think $80 for a nice chassis and power supply is bad.
    Reply
  • cangelini
    Slomo4shOI wish you used the E5200 CPU for this build, current prices reflect a difference of $14 only. Also, in the future, would it be possible for you to have two builds for the $500 budget build. One based on Intel AND the other on AMD?
    Heya Slo! We're actually weighing the possibility of simply switching off each month on the $500 system since AMD has some very compelling hardware in that range.
    Reply
  • slomo4sho
    cangeliniHeya Slo! We're actually weighing the possibility of simply switching off each month on the $500 system since AMD has some very compelling hardware in that range.
    Well in this case, an AMD build might have allowed for a 4850. I look forward to seeing what you decide upon but I still think a monthly build of each platform at the $500 build is definitely something worthwhile.

    Transitioning month to month between the two usually does not allow for comparative annalist in your "Performance And Value, Dissected" write-ups
    Reply
  • cangelini
    Slomo4shO
    Gotcha. We'll discuss that as a possibility, then.
    Reply
  • lounge lizard
    I love the article and second the notion that it would be a great idea to run it every month. I for one am a firm believer of upgrading more consistently at a reasonable cost per component rather then just throwing $1500 at new machine.

    At some point it would be interesting if you guys could run an Upgrade Edition of the $500 system builder. Most people that have the courage and knowledge to overclock their new parts by over 50% (wow the E2180 rocks!)would almost definitely have components that they could and would want to swap between rigs.

    Again, great article.
    Reply
  • reasonablevoice
    king_edgar"The silicon hard drive grommets" That wouldn't dampen much noise.Try silicone hard drive grommets(They are usually silicon-oxygen based polymers)
    What the hell are you saying?
    Reply