System Builder Marathon: $625 Gaming PC

Case, Power Supply, And Optical Drive

Case: Antec Three Hundred

Last month’s Antec NSK4480B served us well and is a nice case bundled with a reliable power supply. You may have noticed it has jumped up in price by $20, making it somewhat less of a bargain now. But our reasons for choosing a new case this month were not because of this price increase, but because of the desire for a bit more reserve power than what the 380 W EarthWatts provides.

Thanks to its rear 120 mm and top-mounted 140 mm three-speed exhaust fans, the Antec Three Hundred packs a huge amount of airflow into a well-built, very affordable overclocking enclosure. Other notable features are top-mounted I/O ports, nine drive bays, and room to add three 120 mm intake fans with a washable air filter for the front two fans. One thing the case lacks is an external 3.5” bay, so those who desire an internal floppy drive or card reader will need to purchase Antec’s adapter and use one of the three 5.25” bays.

Power Supply: Antec NeoPower 650 W

As mentioned, we intended to use the $50 EarthWatts 500 W power supply, but it was no longer in stock. For a substitute, any quality 400 W-430 W power supply with 30A or more of +12 V would have done the job for this system as built. The problem was that the models we considered, such as Antec’s EarthWatts, NeoPower, or True Power Trio 430 W, as well as the Corsair 400CX, were all $60 or higher at the time.

In comparison, the Antec NeoPower 650 W power supply is a bargain for $75, never mind once we factor in the combo saving that took $30 off that price. It’s a quiet power supply with a modular design for neater cable management and it packs a whopping 624 W of +12 V, which is enough for a quad-core system with dual HD4850s or even the mighty Radeon HD 4870 X2.

Optical Drive: LITE-ON 20X DVD±R SATA Model iHAS120-04

The same LITE-ON SATA 20X DVD+RW that satisfied our needs last month fell in price by $1 and was again the perfect DVD burner to serve our optical drive needs.

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  • Anonymous
    I'm sorry am I reading the US version? Get some GBP on the go
  • Solitaire
    Even if they did it'd be pointless; $625 is ~£400 or €480. And there is no way in hell you're going to get that spec machine for either of those amounts; rough guesstimate for that spec in Ireland is €630 - WELL over the $800 mark. And that's using really cheap e-tailers (sans eGay) and not counting the various shipping costs, which should bring the whole thing nicely past $850 and up toward $900 if you have a bad day with stock levels and specials. I doubt its THAT much better over there in Blighty.

    Summary: A pointless article - it just doesn't apply this side of the Pond.

    ... But I am interested by the E5200 remarks. It rather hilariously makes a certain recent overclocking article here on Toms look just a little bit ridiculous (an article which claims to OC an E7300 to 4GHz and fails, OCing it to 3.8GHz while claiming the E5200 is a poor part) How far is the E5200 OCd here? 4GHz stable, 4.3GHz possible...

    However, I noticed the bit about the FSB issues. Funny coincidence, I had issues a while back too, and while a BIOS update allowed me to push it higher the mobo was nowhere near 400MHz and used a lot of juice to keep it stable. Many others seem to have difficulty getting the E5200 stable when the FSB pushes past 400MHz as well, even on FSB1600-rated boards. Hmm...
  • bobwya
    anonymous6I'm sorry am I reading the US version? Get some GBP on the go

    "$ = £" mate...

    Ah I look at those prices and dream (of cheap computers)... :crazy: