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System Builder Marathon, March 2010: $750 Gaming PC

Case, Power Supply, And Optical Drive

Case: Antec Three Hundred Illusion

When looking for an inexpensive enclosure to house an overclocked gaming rig, the Antec Three Hundred is among my favorite contenders. The perforated front bezel and top-mounted 140mm and rear-mounted 120mm exhaust fans provide outstanding airflow, while 3 x 5.25” external and 7 x 3.5” internal bays offer plenty of room for storage devices.

Read Customer Reviews of Antec's Three Hundred

The Three Hundred has room for three optional 120mm intake fans, but the Illusion model comes with a pair of 120mm blue LED fans pre-installed behind the front bezel, as well as blue LEDs in the TwoCool 140mm top exhaust fan.

Expect to pay an additional $15 for the Illusion, which may or not be worth it depending on personal taste. But when we found it for just $5 more than the Two Hundred, it was an easy decision to try the Illusion for this build.

Power Supply: Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W

This affordable Antec PSU has a combined maximum +12V output of 45A, an 80 PLUS efficiency rating, quiet operation, and a three-year warranty.

Read Customer Reviews of Antec's EarthWatts EA650

For about the same price, we almost chose the Corsair CMPSU-550VX that uses a single 41A +12V rail. But the EarthWatts EA650 has not let us down yet, and it meant that power-consumption measurements could be directly compared to the previous two SBMs. Both are quality units capable of powering this dual-GPU gaming system.

Optical Drive: LG Black 22X DVD Burner SATA Model GH22NS50

Read Customer Reviews of LG's GH22NS50

This highly affordable, no-frills, 22X SATA DVD burner is the perfect drive to serve our optical needs.

  • erdinger
    This system seams to be really potent. Good job!
    Reply
  • erdinger
    Good job. I Really like the system and I agree in nearly every decision.

    unlocking the forth core and still overclocking to 3.6Ghz is just great! I'm getting jealous because my 4th core is broken.

    I'm looking forward to the value comparison.
    Reply
  • cruiseoveride
    This is almost identical to my build. But I used 2nd hand parts, dual HD4870s and it worked out just less than $600.

    4 cores, 3.2Ghz, 13,000 3dmark points.

    Great bang-for-buck system.
    Reply
  • stray_gator
    Apart from a SBM entry, this article also provides reality check regarding the benefits of a fourth core. quite useful.
    Reply
  • jsowoc
    I find the value comparisons are usually (always?) that the least expensive computer has the most "value", followed closely by the middle computer, trailed by the most expensive setup.

    Would it be possible to make a 3-way comparison of systems at the same price (for example, $1000)? One could be an AMD-based system, another an Intel-based, and a third maybe a graphics-heavy monster, or a MicroATX system (to see how much performance you sacrifice to stay in $1000 and fit a small form factor).
    Reply
  • Otus
    What would by interesting is a round of "upgrade" builds. Set specific budgets for ungrades and add them on top of the hardware from a previous round. That would allow commentary on upgrade paths and also help builders of new rigs.
    Reply
  • shubham1401
    Wow!
    This processor is a beast for the price...Really Impressed
    Reply
  • Crashman
    jsowocI find the value comparisons are usually (always?) that the least expensive computer has the most "value", followed closely by the middle computer, trailed by the most expensive setup.Would it be possible to make a 3-way comparison of systems at the same price (for example, $1000)? One could be an AMD-based system, another an Intel-based, and a third maybe a graphics-heavy monster, or a MicroATX system (to see how much performance you sacrifice to stay in $1000 and fit a small form factor).
    Except for the CPU cooler, you usually sacrifice nothing to go Micro ATX. Tom's Hardware even did a micro-ATX SBM...where the Core i7 system sucked because it had to use the stock cooler. You can find semi-small micro-ATX cases that fit mid-sized coolers.

    Antec also makes a MICRO ATX MID TOWER which REALLY sux since it misses the point of Micro ATX completely, so I don't want to hear about that one.

    And of course there's Micro ATX mini-towers with the same layout as full-ATX. You get all the performance of ATX and the big cooler, with a case that's around 14-15" tall.
    Reply
  • jsowoc
    CrashmanExcept for the CPU cooler, you usually sacrifice nothing to go Micro ATX. Tom's Hardware even did a micro-ATX SBM...where the Core i7 system sucked because it had to use the stock cooler. (...)
    My argument was not that they should do a $500-$1000-$2000 comparison of uATX builds - they did this. I was suggesting doing a $1000intel - $1000amd - $1000uATX comparison.
    Reply
  • tigerwraith
    I still dont understand why they went with 2 gfx cards. Ive seen in a lot of reviews that even the newest games dont always work right off the bat when using Crossfire or SLi, So why not spend the money on a 5770 for this. You get DX 11, Dual to Triple moniters, and passthrough. So say you wanted to build a budget HTPC that could game Id have went with the 5770 or 5830 not only would that be a great cpu to watch on a HDTV but you would only need the HDMI cable to run everything.
    Reply