In response to the Conference Call a few weeks back I took the challenge to see just how effective at modern gaming a "$500" PC really is. I looked at a few options and came up with this build which I believe would give the overall best performance at a $500 cap. Note I cheated a bit in not including an OS in this build so in reality this would really create havoc on this build as the $90 Microsoft charges for an OS license would all but cripple this build.
As it stands I'm still about $17 over $500 but as prices fluctuate I believe its doable to find very similar online at this price as well you could really "cheap" out on the case and save $20. I put the parts together on Sunday and started installing OS and downloading the sample of games I would play and test.
As you can see I substituted some parts with what I had laying around rather than buying the parts listed in the build. I did this only where it would be "non-performance" impacting. So the PSU and CPU cooler as well as some case fans.
Things to note from day 1.
"Cheap" cases really suck! I cut myself 2 times on this cases working inside it. I'm so used to more expensive cases that have everything rounded and clean. Additionally the layout of this case made it impossible to route the 8 Pin ATX Power cable behind the case and above the mobo so I had to run it along the top (awful). Spacing is really tight everywhere so cable management will be a challenge once I think it through.. The HD Audio header was bizarrely placed near the CPU on this motherboard so that cable was routed underneath the GPU.
HD's are painful once you get used to SSD's everywhere.
Wow this PC is whisper quiet! I guess having a 260x instead of 3 monster GPU's makes a huge difference in noise levels.
More to come.