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Sharky Extreme : Features December 26, 2011
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Features

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July Entry-Level Gaming PC Guide

By Housen Maratouk :  July 29, 2011

Intel CPU: Core i5-2300 (2.8GHz) w/ Bundled Cooling
Current Cost: $185

Also changing since the last edition of this guide is our Intel CPU recommendation. This time around, we’re going with the 2.8GHz i5-2300 Sandy Bridge processor. With 6MB of L3 cache and 256KB on each of its four cores, this quad-core processor offers plenty of power at a reasonable price.


AMD Motherboard: ASUS M4A87TD EVO (AMD 870)
Current Price: $105

This motherboard from ASUS, with AMD 870 and AMD SB850 chipsets, offers two PCIe 2.0 x16slots, four memory slots (with a max of 16GB of RAM), six USB 2.0 ports in the rear (plus six more mid-board), two USB 3.0 ports, gigabit LAN, integrated 8-channel  audio, and six SATA 6Gb/s connections.

Intel Motherboard: MSI P67A-G43 (P67)
Current Price: $125

Out switch to a Sandy Bridge processor meant switching to an LGA1155 motherboard, as well. This MSI, with a P67 chipset, offers two PCI-E slots, two PCIe 2.0 x16 slots, four memory slots (with support for up to 32GB of RAM), two USB 3.0 ports, eight USB 2.0 ports,  gigabit LAN, integrated 8-channel audio, and two SATA 6GB/s connections.


Memory: G.SKILL F3-10600CL9D-4GBPK 2 x 2GB kit
Current Price: $36

The 4GB G.SKILL kit remains our choice for both of our builds should offer plenty of memory for an entry-level gaming machine. In each of our builds, though, this will leave two memory slots available. So users who find themselves needing (or just wanting) more will have room to grow.


 Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB (Bare Drive)
Current Price: $55

This drive from Samsung remains our choice, offering plenty of performance and space with only a few compromises having to be made: namely its 32MB cache and 3.0Gb/s SATA interface. Despite these, this 7200rpm drive is sure to please and is a perfect fit for an entry-level gaming system.


Optical Drive:  LG DVD±RW GH22NS50B SuperMulti Drive Black SATA Model (OEM)
Current Price: $19

When faced with the choice to spend more on processors or more on an optical drive, we once again decided to forego a Blu-ray drive and stick a DVD burner. As we’ve noted before, though, the LG we went with offers plenty of speed for the money and should more than meet most users’ needs.


Video Card: Sapphire 100283-3L 5770 Radeon HD 5770
Current Price: $115

Still offering plenty of power for entry-level gamers, the RADEON HD 5770 remains our choice for this build. The specific model we chosen to mention is once again from Sapphire, though others are also available and rebate deals often abound. So keep checking prices for this and other models as you go through your build.


LCD: Acer X223WDbd Black 22" 5ms 1680x1050
Current Price: $120

As we moved to higher-end (read: more expensive) processor choices, something had to give. And one of the compromises we made, this time around, was going from our previous 23” monitor recommendation to a 22” model. Still, we think we’ve gone with a solid choice in recommending the 22” Acer X223WDbd. It offers a 5ms response time, 1000:1 contrast ratio, and 1680x1050 resolution. Connections include an analog connector and a DVI port.


Sound Card: Integrated
Current Price:  $0
Logitech LS21 Speaker System
Current Price: $20

Given our $900 budget, we once again decided to forego a dedicated sound card and make do with the integrated 8-channel chipset that each of our selected motherboards comes with.  Paired with the Logitech LS21 speaker system, though, we’re still left with some darned good sound for a price of only $20.

Mouse:  Razer Abyssus Gaming Mouse
Current Price: $30
Keyboard: Rosewill RK-7300 Multimedia Keyboard
Current Price: $12

We’re once again recommending the same pairing that we did in the last edition of this guide. This mouse from Razer and keyboard from Rosewill offer the flexibility and functionality that one is looking for in a gaming system as a combined cost of only about $42.


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