System Builder Marathon, March 2012: $650 Gaming PC

Motherboard And Memory

Motherboard: Gigabyte H61MA-D3V

Gigabyte's microATX H61MA-D3V separates itself from less expensive H61 Express-based boards with features like a 16-lane PCI Express slot capable of taking an Ivy Bridge processor and running at third-gen data rates, two USB 3.0 connectors, two SATA 6Gb/s ports enabled by a Marvell add-in controller, an all-solid capacitor design, and Gigabyte’s UEFI DualBIOS technology.

However, it lacks PCI slots, along with the multiple system fan headers we valued so much on MSI's larger motherboard used last quarter.

Read Customer Reviews of Gigabyte's H61MA-D3V

Memory: 4 GB Team Elite DDR3-1333 TED34096M1333C9DC

Going into this build, we knew that memory data rates would be locked at 1333 MT/s, and the best performance enhancement we'd be able to pursue would be lower latencies. So, we continued our search for the best possible value-oriented memory by choosing the one and only 4 GB dual-channel kit able to keep this build under budget. At just $20, it was hard to pass on Team Elite’s basic DDR3-1333 kit with CAS 9 timings and a 1.5 V rating.

Read Customer Reviews of Team Elite's TED34096M1333C9DC Kit

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  • Anonymous
    This was so cool to read, I never knew how cheap building a gaming pc could be, if only I knew how to assemble one lol
  • bobbyp86
    @Orange Juice, just check out some youtube videos it's pretty easy and a lot of fun :)
  • Stupido
    Actually this info to me is very useful... proves that current low-mid range quads are good enough to drive juicy gpu...
    because I would like to build small(ish) gaming PC based on mini-ITX; that would be such a nice small & sexy machine :)