System Builder Marathon, March 2010: $750 Gaming PC

Graphics Cards And Hard Drive

Graphics Cards: Two Sapphire 100245HDMI Radeon HD 4850 512MB

We can’t say for sure how long the Radeon HD 4850 will remain available for around $100, but its return was a welcome sight to the eyes of this system builder.

Read Customer Reviews of Sapphire's Radeon HD 4850 512MB

Sapphire’s heat sink and quiet variable-speed fan effectively cool this Radeon HD 4850 far better than the original single-slot reference design ever did. CrossFire bridge connectors are included in the bundle, sweetening this deal even further for the intended use in our system.

The $650 SBM PC in September also used two of these 100245HDMI cards, although Sapphire has since redesigned the printed circuit board (PCB). The cards are not advertised as factory overclocked, but they came clocked at 650 MHz GPU and 1,000 MHz GDDR3, just like the company’s Vapor-X model.

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS

Read Customer Reviews of Western Digital's Caviar Black 640GB

We could have saved $20 and once again gone with 500GB of storage, but the Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB hard drive offers gamers a good blend of capacity, performance, and affordability. This 7,200 RPM, SATA 3 Gb/s drive has dual processors, 32MB cache, and is backed by a five-year warranty.

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  • pertshire
    Cool, I didn't realised athlon IIs can be unlocked. Is there a good chance for the x2 too?
  • donovands
    I'd say go for the $500 gaming machine. I'm interested in what kind of performance such a small budget can give.
  • Anonymous
    I would really like to see a $500 pc
  • 3lslaine
    I have the athlon 2 425 which i managed to unlock to a phenom x4 with 6mb of level 3 cache . i also have 2 4850s in xfire :)
  • Vort3x
    Yes go for the 500$ i agree.Still coming out of the recession budget is still an issue for the masses of gamers out there
  • megafreak
    God you americans get things cheap. The UK equivalent of newegg sells 4GB DDR3 1333 for £100 which should be about $150 thanks to recession, but before that it would be more like $170.
  • pac_71
    Hmmm depressing. Priced component for component here in AU and came to $1500 from mainstream suppliers!!!

    Admittedly they are with old RRP pricing on the 4850's so they could be replaced (say 2x5750) saving $500.

    BTW are prices in US$ or EU$ and where are the components sourced?
  • Anonymous
    MegaFreak is right. UK prices are certainly higher than that.
    I have recently discovered It lets you compare different system specs against performance and even throws in some modern games for comparison. Quite handy when you know what you are interested in.
  • Anonymous
    For any interersted here is a link to the site i mentioned
    PC-Specs. It says that my machine is getting 3.5 stars out of 5 and that I can play 95% of games released over the past 12 months. No need to upgrade yet then i reckon.
  • audiovoodoo
    BTW are prices in US$ or EU$ and where are the components sourced?

    The EU countries use the euro (€) and not the dollar. Here in the UK we still use real money (£). Unless they say otherwise (and I've never seen them do this) Toms is always in US$
  • loraline1
    For that money, I built myself a slightly different system. I have to admit, I got everything 2nd hand, but all was still fairly new and in excellent condition.

    Not sure if the states have that good a market for 2nd hand components, but here in Europe, the market is good. It took me 4 months to get all the components I wanted and all is running fine @W7.

    system :

    Chieftec Mesh Ca-01
    Amd Phenom II x3 720be
    MSI 790FX-GD70

    OCZ Gold LV 6G (OCZ3G1333LV6GK)
    +Kingston VR 1333 cl9 2G

    Coolermaster RealPower 550W
    Sapphire HD 4870 1GB GDDR5 PCI-E

    Plextor PX-760SA 18x
    WD CG 500/750GB