System Builder Marathon: $625 Gaming PC

CPU And Cooler

Processor: Intel Pentium E5200

This month, we again revisit the Intel Pentium E5200 that reached some truly impressive clock speeds in our November $625 system.

Read Customer Reviews of Intel's Pentium E5200

Clocked at 2.5 GHz with 2 MB L2 cache and running on an 800 MHz front side bus (FSB), this dual-core 45 nm Wolfdale doesn’t offer the same stock performance as the Core 2 Duo E7300 used last month did, but currently at a $43 cheaper price, it offers tremendous value and performance for the overclocker on a budget.

CPU Cooler: Xigmatek HDT-S963

Read Customer Reviews of Xigmatek's HDT-S963

Our desired components this month left us $25 for a CPU cooler, and we chose the Xigmatek HDT-S963. It has HDT (heat-pipe direct touch) technology, aluminum fins, anti-vibration rubber fan mounting, and a PWM variable-speed 92 mm fan. Assembly, while required, is simple and straightforward.

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  • waxdart
    I've not even read this - and already I'm thinking - who is going to pay $£€625 for a system these days :)

    Can we make a system for a penny? Its doesn't have to run Crysis that well.
  • mi1ez
    "and even an external 3.5” bay that some cases now lack."
    They lack it with good reason... Hardly anyone uses them and other cases often supply an adaptor.
  • waxdart
    Read it now. Thank you Paul. One of the best articles running on the site – keep it up.

    The December system looks like its holding its own rather well. How much has that prices dropped? Could be a $500 system in there. Want to keep running totals on all component selections? No neither would I.

    As always this is a site – where are the pounds?
  • mi1ez
    Good article. Always amazes me how capable a $625 rig is!

    What happened to the international $750 cheap computing challenge though? I was interested to see some different rigs battle it out at the same price point.
  • Anonymous
    For those who want prices in pounds... processor costs around 105 GBP, graphics card around 240 GBP, Case around 20 GBP, PSU around 50GBP, Ram is around 54 GBP, while harddrive and optical drive will add up to about 65 GBP. The system will cost just over 400 GBP overall in uk.. (prices from tekheads and venomelectronics as of 10 Feb)
  • waxdart
    starmate > YOU ARE HIRED! thank you for the effort.

    Now all you have to do, is do that, for every single post - every single day. Then mi1ez and I can might me able to get over the "this is a" site. I tried to get over it; but failed.
    I'm glad you found all the parts, does my head in when they post parts that i can't get without adding $80 postage.

    This opens up the other thing. You can get fair Dell for about £400 (no monitor). Is it worth making a DIY rig at this price point?
  • starmate
    Yh wax yourwelcome, I'll post one for the articles i like :P and i like tthe marathons.. tbh Tomshardware shud do this themselves :/
  • Solitaire
    starmate: Hate to point out the obvious but that price is actually well over £500, not £400. And that's after forgetting the CPU cooler :P

    And that said, the CPU and graphics prices seemed way too high. E5200 should be €70-80 (say £70) and I've seen the Sapphire HD4870 for under €170 on Pixmania, so with the weakeneing euro that's £150 GBP. I'm pretty sure that G.Skill RAM could be lower as well.
  • Anonymous
    Here's my build for $825
    E8400 3.0Ghz -$140 NIB ebay
    Intel dp45sg DDR3 1333mhz -$90 NIB ebay
    4Gb DDR3 -$120 tigerdirect
    ATI 4870 1gb -$240 NIB ebay
    Ultra M923 -$80 tigerdirect
    650 Watt -$60 tigerdirect
    CDR/RW -$30
    650 Watt -$70
  • starmate
    steel I don't understand why that was relevant for this article?
  • progress lover
    I build machines for friends/family too. I look here for benchmarks. When I build someone a system, it needs speakers, monitor, OS, mouse/keyboard, order to achieve MINIMUM functionality. All PCs need these things and leaving them out of Tom's builds skews the value argument towards the lower end systems. The value argument should be presented in two ways. 1: As it is now - assuming you already have all the other bits you need. 2: As if you had to buy ALL the parts someone would actually need to have a usable machine. Even with a refurb 19" monitor, low end keyboard/mouse/webcam/speakers and OS, then you're talking another $200 on the price of these builds. Or 30% of this '$625' PC. If you use the REAL price of the system of $825 PLUS shipping then the value versus the mid-range sys with similar perifs would look v different. At least the low and mid range systems need to consider the REAL cost of actually providing a working system to an average user. The prices and value are currently misleading. I'll reiterate that I apprecate the work and visit often, but it could/should be improved and reflect the reality faced by many builders.
  • Anonymous
    Great article, but I reckon that the compromise on the box is a bad one. I was very close to ordering a cheapo box from Asus, but opted instead for one from Antec. In the UK you can pick up the Antec NSK4000 for about GBP40, which is about USD65 at the moment. I got an Antec Pro 120mm fan which can shift 80CFM. This cost about GBP2 after selling the standard Tricool one on Ebay. This fan plugs into the Asus P5Q motherboard, and has its speed controlled from there.

    With my e5200 overclocked to 3.4GHz, RealTemp's stress test with Prime95 produces a temperature of 55C on the stock cooling. This means I save GBP15 as I do not need a 3rd party cooler. Overall, my box+120mm fan achieves low temperatures, and looks good, which I don't think you could say about the cheapo Silverstone one in your review.