We can do better than this with some deals. Too bad, my $600 may goes to GPU.
Edited by linskingdom - 7/5/08 at 5:02am
What happens when six hundred free greenbacks collides with an abundance of cheap hardware? You get Icrontic's $600 stimulus check PC. While you could busy your wallet with responsible tasks like bill paying or shed building, the dog days of summer call for reckless financial abandonment and an appreciation for the precipitous decline in the cost of swank components. Besides, it's what The Man wants you to do! Don't just do it for yourself, step up and do it for your country.
You know that at Icrontic we like to do it right. That means we've done the legwork and you can do the buying. If you’re prepared to do that, here's what you get for a cool $600 and why we chose it:
Motherboard - DFI BloodIron
Why it's good: Despite even more recent chipsets, the P35 is a time-tested powerhouse of overclocking prowess. Couple this mastery with a no-frills/all-thrills board like the ascetic BloodIron and you'll have an overclocking festival reminiscent of ABIT's beloved NF7-S 2.0. Of course, this may have something to do with DFI sniping the NF7-S 2.0's lead engineer a few years back. We promise that you'll love this motherboard because it stands head and shoulders above anything else in its price range.
How you can do better: This board has a lot to offer an overclocker but it isn't all that and a bag of donuts. If you're looking for more advanced features like solid caps, 8-phase power, and an abundance of extras, you should turn elsewhere. Reasonable choices include Asus' P5K-E, the Gigabyte GA-P35-DQ6 and the DFI LanParty DK P35-T2R/S.
Processor - Intel Core 2 Duo E7200
Why it's good: Like the 8800GT, the Core 2 Duo is Intel's best product in a very long time. Since its 2006 introduction, Intel has held the crown for speed, heat, and efficiency. Not content with standing still, Intel continues to step up their game with the release of the 45nm Nehalem architecture. With heat output reductions and speed increases of up to 20%, it seemed like a no-brainer to cram a Nehalem-based dual core into the stimulus PC.
How you can do better: From the chip we picked, it's more speed (a faster Core 2 Duo) or more cores (Core 2 Quad). If you're particularly fond of content creation and the manipulation of multimedia, a Core 2 Quad Q6600 will double your cores and tack on about $80 to the total. If you're feeling especially rich, the cooler-running Nehalem-based quad cores will run you an extra $140 bones over our baseline.
Memory - OCZ Platinum Rev. 2 DDR2-800
Why it's good: Little birdies tell us that there is more than meets the eye to this memory. You didn't hear it from us, but there's a solid chance that this memory can run at DDR2-1000 with a slight bump to the VDIMM. Of course, if you don't have an appetite for voiding your lifetime warranty, the RAM comes at an appreciable price in a tidy design. If you're quick on the trigger, OCZ is offering a $25 MIR circa the time of this article's publication to sweeten the deal.
How you can do better: We desperately wanted to jimmy 4GB of RAM into this machine, but we had to axe it in the end. While your flavor of Windows XP will probably rob you of 750MB, having 3.25GB of memory at your disposal instead of 2GB will make a world of difference in games. Expect your budget to climb by $40 if you want to make this happen, captain.
Video - NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT 256MB
Why it's good: NVIDIA's 8800GT is easily one of their best GPU releases in years. It boasts an unrivaled price/performance ratio and delivers astonishing quality for a pleasing amount of money. Even with new generations of cards hitting the streets, it's hard to beat the GT.
How you can do better: This edition of the card only comes with 256MB of memory. While memory is not the sole determinant of a GPU's performance, the 8800 series gets the most benefit out of 512MB. This upgrade adds about $50 to the total cost, but will enable higher resolutions and graphical options with minimal loss of frame rate.
Power Supply - Corsair CMPSU-450VX
Why it's good: The VX-series of power supplies is getting rave reviews all over the web for the quality of its power output and the quality of its construction. While 450w doesn't seem like much with today's 1kW monsters, be assured that it's more than enough to power our rig with juice to spare.
How you can do better: This depends on your fancy and aspirations. If you're a fan of modular cables, there are greener pastures to be had on this front. If you're a soul looking for an overclocked quad with titanic disk space and an array of video cards that could re-render Jar-Jar out of Star Wars, you might want a bigger power supply. Jumps in wattage with this quality could exorcise up to half the price of this machine from your wallet.
Hard Drive - Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3160
Why it's good: Seagate is a respected brand and the Barracuda is a respected product line. This hard drive won't win any races to the finish line, but it won't hurtle towards the checkered flag a miserable wreck of bits and bytes either. In fact, we chose the drive for its cost to size ratio and its long-standing reliability. Sometimes it pays to respect ol' faithful.
How you can do better: If you want to shave a few seconds off of loading times, Western Digital's Raptor series is a clever girl that trades speed for bucks. Other than that, price scales with capacity, so you are limited only by your wallet.
Optical - Samsung SH-S223F
Why it's good: Most of today's best burners use Samsung guts, so ol' Sammy has to be doing something right. With a plethora of burning options, a color that matches our case and proven reliability there's no reason not to spring for for the cheap'un here.
How you can do better: Blu-Ray? Ack. Thbbpt!
Case - CoolerMaster Centurion 5
Why it's good: If it can anchor the Queen Elizabeth 2 to port, we tossed it out of the lineup. Advantageously, this contender remained when we axed the scrubs. Cooler Master delivers an attractive design with cooling that's extraordinarily good for this price range.
How you can do better: We had to cut corners somewhere, and the case was the place. While this case isn't bad at all, it's a dunce compared to Antec's legendary Nine Hundred chassis. If you've ever thirsted for the case to end all cases, the Nine Hundred hovers around $80-120 bucks.
And the total for this little beauty clocks in at a svelte $588.92. If you fudge the cost of shipping like all good enthusiasts do, that will leave you room for a cold sixer to wile away the hours.
DFI BloodIron $114.99
Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 $129.99
OCZ Platinum Rev. 2 PC2-6400 (2x1GB) $43.99
NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT 256MB $99.99
Corsair CMPSU-450VX $74.99
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3160 $47.99
Samsung SH-S223F $26.99
CoolerMaster Centurion 5 $49.99
Sometimes the good government taketh, sometimes they giveth. Capitalize on a rare opportunity and do the Right Thing™.
Edited by linskingdom - 7/5/08 at 5:02am