Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Nov 2012 - $500 Gaming PC

Description: A mid-sized desktop. A core i3 powers this machine, meaning you get a dual core with quad core gaming power thanks to Intel's Hyper-Threading technology. Gaming performance is equivalent to an AMD Phenom II x4 900 series CPU. Non-gaming performance is about on par with other dual-cores. RAM is a standard 8GB, easily upgradable to more. Motherboard supports USB 3.0, as well as x16/x4 Crossfire (which you probably won't want to use anyways). A beefy 480W power supply provides clean power for this machine. You also get a nice bump in graphics performance with the HD 7850 and a nice boost from the Caviar Black hard drive.

Expect excellent 1080p performance out of most games at high settings, good performance at 2560x1600 at medium settings.

Cost Breakdown
Subtotal MIRs Total

Individual Parts
CPU Intel Core i3-2100 $120 --- Newegg
RAM G.Skill 8GB DDR3 1600MHz $25 --- Newegg
Power Supply Rosewill Stallion RD500-2DB $40 --- Newegg
Hard Drive WD Caviar Black 500GB $70 --- Newegg
Graphics XFX Radeon HD 7850 $170 $20 Newegg

Type Part Part Price MIR Link
Motherboard + Case MSI Z77A-G41 Rosewill Blackbone $100 $15 Newegg


SSD: With the lack of quality, > 64GB capacity SSDs at the $70 price point, the budget-friendly SSD substitutions remain the same as from the $300 build. Keep the same configuration above, but replace the WD Caviar Black HDD with a 60GB SSD. 60GB should be able to hold your OS, basic applications, and 3 - 6 full games. At the slightly-over-budget $90-$100 price point, 90GB and 120GB SSDs become available. There's even a crazy clearance deal for Intel 180GB SSDs. But be quick, they'll run out soon.
Crucial M4 64GB $66 --- Amazon
Samsung 830 64GB $63 --- Amazon
Kingston HyperX 3K 90GB $88 --- Amazon
Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB $100 --- Amazon
Sandisk Extreme 120GB $100 --- Amazon
Intel 330 120GB $100 --- Amazon
Intel 330 180GB $100 --- Newegg

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