System Builder Marathon, March 2011: $500 Gaming PC

The conclusion of our December 2010 $500 PC story hinted exactly where I hoped to take this month’s gaming rig. Specifically, I was interested in an AMD Phenom II X4 quad-core processor paired with Radeon HD 6850 or GeForce GTX 460 (1 GB) graphics. However, I anticipated that pulling this off would likely mean building a $600 gaming machine, a move that would throw off our clean $500/$1000/$2000 dollar brackets. So, what sacrifices would be needed to keep this build on target?

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reynod2982d ago

Thats a dam good rig for that price, though i would spend a bit extra on the GPU maybe 50usd more and get something more capable, along with that overclock the CPU to make full use of the GPU.

ChrisW2982d ago

Don't forget you'll also need a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

Substance1012982d ago

Think most people already have that sort of stuff, just like they have a TV. No one considers the price of an HDTV when they say 300usd for the console.

My current Keyboard is a g15 bought it like 3years back. Mouse is 8years old, laser mouse i bought long while back, Sound system is 5.1 i bought 10years back still holding up well.

I guess most people will be having all those accessories. Though adding those in cant be too much.

captain-obvious2981d ago

thats a nice PC but i dont know if it'll last long
you need more power for upcoming games

WayneKerr2982d ago

Why do I need this? I have a PS3

Cell processor, More powerful than a i7
RSX GPU, Most powerful GPU ever
256XDR RAM, So much better than 16gigs of DDR3 PC3-16000C8 2000MHz Triple Channel ram

Its just the Devs are so lazy but one day my 5yr old PS3 will be running all games in 720p, Sorry 1080p, Yeahh.

kharma452982d ago

lol you really do have no clue.

captain-obvious2981d ago

i would go ahaed and say that cell is almost as good as an i5

just take the OS away and all the other bull shit
and then
i5 > cell

sorry but its the truth

Substance1012981d ago (Edited 2981d ago )


I think the Cell is a mixed bag. It can do GPU tasks better then a CPU, however when it comes to general purpose CPU tasks it would probably get slaughtered even at the hands of a dual core cpu.

Thing is when games are developed for PC, they hardly ever give any graphics tasks to the CPU, the GPUs are so powerful giving any of those tasks to the cpu would be a waste. Equip a dual core CPU with any midrange GPU even an 8800gtx which is 4 years old now. That combo will blow past whatever the RSX and Cell can manage. Best looking game on PS3 might be KZ2 or KZ3, it stands no chance against Crysis 1 running on gamer settings on a Dual core cpu and 8800gtx(which is pretty ancient by todays standard).

In other words Cell will lose to a dual core when it comes to general CPU tasks. When it comes to graphics tasks it will get blown to bits even at the hands of old GPUs as mentioned above, which is the reason why Sony didnt opt to go for 2 cells in the PS3. They knew the Cell wont be able to measure up to a GPU like the RSX. Personally i prefer a setup where the CPU does its bit and graphics tasks are dedicated to a proper GPU.

theonlylolking2981d ago (Edited 2981d ago )


KZ3 looks better than crysis 1 but worse than crysis 2(PC).

I play crysis 1 @ max settings.

reynod2982d ago

Which is why you dont have a single first person shooter from Sonys own first party that runs in 1080p and 60fps, something possible on 3-4yr old pc hardware. Yep sure explains alot how powerful Cell and RSX are.

gamesmaster2982d ago

was i the only one that recognised the sarcasm?

Baka-akaB2982d ago (Edited 2982d ago )

Apparently we were the only ones so far .

I thought that "256 xdr so much better 16gigs of ddr3 " was an easy giveaway

arjman2981d ago

I love how the disagreer's must've thought he was actually being serious.

NanoSoldier2981d ago

Bad taste of sarcasm. But the ending of your comment makes it clear :D

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 2981d ago
Queefy_B2982d ago

I doubt waynekerr has anything to play, hey wayne time to go outside the trailer and wash uncle earl,s back and then milk the goat.

M4I0N32981d ago

LoL, dude, the guy was being sarcastic.

tubers2981d ago

Love Tom's hardware and their system marathon builds and suggestions :)

I'd love me some PS3/360 though. I already own a semi decent pc (Phenom x4 and 5870 2gb).. but I'd love to taste exclusive games from consoles for.... FUN!..

The whole point really.

Queefy_B2981d ago (Edited 2981d ago )

Well then you will want a PS3 my friend as you will have the best of both worlds and wont miss out on any exclusives.

Substance1012981d ago

True most Xbox exclusives are there on the PC. Its only the PS3 exclusives that PC doesnt have. Multiplats are superior on PC anyways.

chak_2981d ago

1080p is not a necessity.

I went from my 1080p monitor to a 1680 120hz.

Man I don't regret it. You can power from the downed resolution AND you have the smoothness.

oohhh yeah.

ct032981d ago (Edited 2981d ago )

I agree that the resolution isn't that important for games as long as you have good anti-aliasing. But size is, at least to me.

24" from 2 feet is now the absolute minimum I want in order to immerse myself in a game. That equals the size of 72" from 6 feet.

But really, 30" is where it's at.

chak_2981d ago

yeah, personnal choice & all, can't debate. Though I do prefer 22'.

I had a 24, and felt I had to do too much eye-gym, and ended up having viewing issue. With my 22 I'm just fine.