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System Builder Marathon: Mid-Cost System

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March 25, 2008 4:35:16 PM

We double the budget of yesterday's low-cost PC's and build the best possible PC we can for under $2000.

http://www.tomshardware.com/2008/03/25/system_builder_marathon/index.html

More about : system builder marathon mid cost system

March 25, 2008 4:48:13 PM

I know three categories keeps it nice and clean, but there really need to be four:

1) low (average around $500, maybe $600)
2) mid (average from $1200 to $1500)
3) high (average maybe a little over $2000)
4) no limit; best parts you care to buy

$2000 just seems really high for mid-range if you're thinking in terms of the average consumer.
March 25, 2008 5:26:43 PM

I agree; $2000 is NOT a mid-range system. When I think midrange, I think $1200-$1500. I like this catagory for a mid-range system because it's arguably close to the cost of purchasing a console and a good HDTV. In my position, I'm looking to replace my three-four year old computer (socket 939 and AGP video card mobo so I need to do a complete rebuild) and I'm torn between spending $1200-$1500 (this includes monitor, something THG doesn't include and should) to either rebuild my computer or get a console and good HDTV. In my mind, a gamer considering a mid-range computer is also the type of person who might consider the console and HDTV gaming solution. Someone willing to spend $2000 on a new computer (without the monitor which will need to be $400-$500 at least to justify the $2000 tower) is not thinking this is "mid-range"; that is an enthusiest's build. Mid-range is someone who wants a solid-performing gaming system but doesn't quite qualify as hardcore gamer.
March 25, 2008 5:41:19 PM

I don't think the CPU selected is optimal. The editors are spending an additional 240 dollars for 266MGHZ WTF?? The 240 dollars would have been better spent on two additional 500GB hard drive and put the three 500gig drives in a Raid5 array, a much better use of the money. That would provide an effective 1TB of storage and data protection of up to 1 drive failure, much better than an extra 266mghz.
March 25, 2008 5:52:13 PM

Their budgets were talked a lot about in the previous "low range" article's thread and I think/hope they're going to do things very differently next time - $2,000 before a monitor and OS is definately NOT midrange! I strongly think appropriate sized/resolution monitors should be included. I can live w/o the OS being included.

I'd rather the article be delayed a little so that the proper parts could be gathered, ie the SLI 9600's. And they talk about spending twice as much on the Q6700 for such a minor gain....and then go ahead and use it anyway...lol? Frustrating to read/comprehend O_o
March 25, 2008 5:56:06 PM

jonnyli said:
I don't think the CPU selected is optimal. The editors are spending an additional 240 dollars for 266MGHZ WTF??


You know what? You're absolutely right.

Our SBM focus this time around was trying to fit in the most powerful hardware up to a certain price point; instead of strictly picking the greatest components regardless of price, we picked the most powerful components we could fit in the budget.

We went with the Q6700 because we had space in the budget, but really a Q6600 is a better value choice. We mentioned that in the article, but the feedback we've been getting is that our readers would prefer us to have selected value over price point.


What I can say is that the editors are taking the feedback into account so we can change it to suit our readers' expectation next time around. In the interim, keep in mind this SBM might not fit your expectation unless you're aware our goal was fitting the most powerful hardware you can under $2000.

We hear you and appreciate your feedback. By the sounds of it, you folks will find the next SBM much more satisfying!


March 25, 2008 7:37:11 PM

cleeve said:
You know what? You're absolutely right.

Our SBM focus this time around was trying to fit in the most powerful hardware up to a certain price point; instead of strictly picking the greatest components regardless of price, we picked the most powerful components we could fit in the budget.

We went with the Q6700 because we had space in the budget, but really a Q6600 is a better value choice. We mentioned that in the article, but the feedback we've been getting is that our readers would prefer us to have selected value over price point.

I think it was quite an odd choice as you can buy the new yorkfield q9300 2.5 GHZ for about $300usd. Or maybe even the Q9450 2.66GHZ for $399usd. It seems to me that if you can get a newer core cpu with the same clock for cheaper you should do so.
March 25, 2008 7:45:13 PM

indeed, the q6700 was a bad choice for the budget... for those extra dollars you could have bought a better case (if needed) and a better CPU cooler: Tuniq Tower as example.

I don't think I have a midrange gaming system cause seriously. I've spent 1400 US on parts. to put this together.

Q6600 G0 stepping, @ 3,2 ghz 400FSB 1:1 ratio
2 gigs Corsair XMS2DHX DDR2 800mhz 5-5-5-12 1,9v
EVGA GF 8800GTS 512 OC'd and silent @ 720 core and 2000 mem.
Raptor 150 gb 10.000rpm
sata2 Samsung spintpoint T166 500gb.
Thermaltake armor case
OCZ GameXsteam 700Watt PS.
Abit IP35 Pro "Off limits" mobo.

Is that considered midrange? i thought it was high-end pretty much. It's a good bang for the buck. Except for some parts. But why not OC the q6600 a little more instead of using the Q6700.

I hope this helps a bit, I love your articles. But sometimes they are just plain confusing. Maybe it's also difference of tastes.

notice: you could also have put 2 raptors in raid 0 for that cost.
notice2: don't spare out on a cpu cooler, with that case a Tuniq will easily fit in.
notice3: haven't heard much from that mobo, but it seems a good choice.
March 25, 2008 7:51:48 PM

Any chance we could get a comparison with the last marathons systems and a check of how much it would cost to upgrade them to simular performance?
March 25, 2008 8:26:11 PM

I understand the point of the Q6700. Next time I thing they should call a Mid cost system at $1500 a high end at $2600 and a really high end at $3500+. Great choice on the RAM, PSU, Case, and motherboard (Although I would prefer a Gigabyte EX38-DS4 ~$206). All the mentioned are solid choices. The CPU cooler is not to my liking, would have preferred a good Zalman or a Thermaltake (ie. Zalman CPNS 9x00). The Raptor seems kind of useless giving the fact that 7200.11 HDDs are only few milliseconds slower in most things, and has better value per GB and price vs performance. radium69 has a good system listed above.
March 25, 2008 8:27:45 PM

radium69 said:
I don't think I have a midrange gaming system cause seriously. I've spent 1400 US on parts. to put this together.

Q6600 G0 stepping, @ 3,2 ghz 400FSB 1:1 ratio
2 gigs Corsair XMS2DHX DDR2 800mhz 5-5-5-12 1,9v
EVGA GF 8800GTS 512 OC'd and silent @ 720 core and 2000 mem.
Raptor 150 gb 10.000rpm
sata2 Samsung spintpoint T166 500gb.
Thermaltake armor case
OCZ GameXsteam 700Watt PS.
Abit IP35 Pro "Off limits" mobo.

Is that considered midrange? i thought it was high-end pretty much. It's a good bang for the buck. Except for some parts. But why not OC the q6600 a little more instead of using the Q6700.
Here is how I see it, for what it's worth:

forgetting price at all... if you place all available procs on a chart based on performance (dual sockets included), the Q6600 is not at the top. It is at a higher point of the middle, sure... but not in the top bracket.

Same goes for the gts, while there are less positions on that chart than for CPUs the same is true, it is still bested by a gtx, gx2 and many dual/tri/quad card setups. Still high-middle but not the top. The rest of the components have less of an impact but the same holds true there.

You cannot base a performance range on price and vice-versa. It is either performance bracketing or price and ranked on the same. If you consider that their brackets for low/mid/high were (I assume here) based on performance first, then it all becomes clear IMO.[:mousemonkey:2]

If you are basing it on price and put the same scale at work with all possible price points of a computer system in scope then you find that instead of the upper-middle yours is now very much in the lower brackets of the range.

This is not a reflection on you or your parts choices but rather the cold reality that the top end stuff is expensive. Always has been. Most of us have a level that we build to and it usually is in the mid-range area even though it may be "high-end" performance to us. My last build was 2 years ago and cost me $1500 (no monitor or peripherals in that) and I had to admit that it was not the "true" high-end even though my wallet said it was.[:mousemonkey:4]Sucks sometimes, but that is what enthusiasts must deal with on any hobby... lack o' cash.[:mousemonkey]
March 25, 2008 8:47:39 PM

It’s obvious that most of Tom’s readers are “Savvy” and we normally enjoy his articles but I find myself going straight to the conclusion these days. It’s not the writing itself, it’s what there making the writers write about, example: “Stepping on 3year old chips”.
I don’t want this to come off wrong because I do enjoy the web sight.

Signed,

A concerned reader
March 25, 2008 9:11:00 PM

One thing that gives the writers/editors a disadvantage is that they need to actually build/test the box.

In a Perfect world, you would have used some GTS SLI cards for less money as noted, but you did not physically have them handy.

As posters, we have the luxury of hand selecting nearly any component on the the internet.
March 25, 2008 9:11:44 PM

I can't agree more about the CPU. I would even go as far to ask why even go quad core to begin with?? On top of it why even choose a GTX?? An e8400 and an 8800GTS 512 seem like the obvious, if only solution for a mid-range system. This would bump the cost of the system down considerably. The system might be under $2000, but not after you buy Windows and all the peripherals required to use the computer. Keep that in mind.

I agree also agree with the above poster about skipping to the conclusion. I knew something was wrong when I saw that a Phenom was chosen for the low-end system. This latest system could be worse, but you guys are way off the mark. You would suggest a poor component choice (8800GTX) to people if you are "under the gun" as you put it? Use common sense.
March 25, 2008 9:17:51 PM

@sojrner
Yeah, a while later I was thinking the same thing. Like I said before, I think it's pretty much a difference of tastes aswell.

I think they pull the very high end processor in the charts into the performance category. In that case, you are pretty much correct.

However, as I'm 17 years old, and got my PC from my dad (I helped to pay it aswell) I just don't see the benefit of that processor. But that is offcourse from a financial aspect. Even though my dad might have money to burn, I'd rather have a good system which will last me quite long, and spend money after 5 years for a new system that will perform mid-high.

Do we really benefit from 10 more frames over 60 frames per second.
Anyway, I'm playing the latest games (including crysis) at max (except for crysis). Crysis is a future developing game, that pushes hardware like it is suppost to. I think it's a good kick on the bum for Nvidia and ATI, aswell as INTEL & AMD .

But you are correct. But I'd rather stay for a nice budget what I call a Mid-high budget ($1000+)

Low budget = $500 to $700

High = SLI or XFIRE (2500-+)

Over the top = (3000+)
but that's just a waste of money in my eyes.

It's pretty much a big point of view case. You build what YOU think is good for your wallet. And at the same time have kick-ass performance for what you get. Or you might even overclock and get more performance without pushing your hardware to it's limits (as in temperature, duration etc)

I think it's good to talk about it though, it could support people at tom's making their articles better and more attractive.
March 25, 2008 9:40:47 PM

I tend to believe that midrange should be determined more by price and not by where benchmarking results fall on a chart. I think that most people would consider a midrange system to be one that was built to have the best performence for about $1500 today. $2000 is just a bit too far over the midrange line for most people.

I've been a system builder for well over a decade. I have never posted her before but after seeing the nearly 2k price tag for a midrange system I was compelled to state my opinion. I'm sure some people will not agree but the fact that you could easily shave off 400-500 to make the 1500 price level and loose MINIMAL performance proves my point.

Heck you could even go for one of the new wolfdale dual cores (and maybe even overclock it) and get good or better performance on a lot of apps because there are not many apps that take advantage of quad core arcitecture at this point(besides encoding and a couple other types of apps that most users arent concerned with). When there are more apps that do take advantage of this you can simply upgrade to a newer quad core for much less than it costs now to get one currently.

The graphics could have easily gotten away with an 8800GTS 512MB, OR please someone tell me why nobody thought of this... 2x 8800gt's (you can get 2 of these for about $460 right now.... If ur already gonna spend $415 on a single graphics card why not just get the 2 8800gt's.

There def need to be more catagories of systems to build. I agree with Ananan, but I would have there be a Low end, Mid, High, and then Ultimate. This system that was built borders the high end in my book.

Matt
March 25, 2008 10:11:06 PM

cleeve said:


We hear you and appreciate your feedback. By the sounds of it, you folks will find the next SBM much more satisfying!


Maybe the timing was just wrong for a new SBM.

I'm right now sitting in front of the same case and GPU as this build but I built this system in 2006! I'm excited about finally making the move to a quad core when the mid-range Yorkfields hit but right now that is the only new hardware that is compelling me. From your last build to this one not enough new has happened in hardware other than much better pricing for a good GPU.




March 25, 2008 10:14:12 PM

Element81 said:
I tend to believe that midrange should be determined more by price and not by where benchmarking results fall on a chart. I think that most people would consider a midrange system to be one that was built to have the best performence for about $1500 today. $2000 is just a bit too far over the midrange line for most people.

I've been a system builder for well over a decade. I have never posted her before but after seeing the nearly 2k price tag for a midrange system I was compelled to state my opinion. I'm sure some people will not agree but the fact that you could easily shave off 400-500 to make the 1500 price level and loose MINIMAL performance proves my point.

Heck you could even go for one of the new wolfdale dual cores (and maybe even overclock it) and get good or better performance on a lot of apps because there are not many apps that take advantage of quad core arcitecture at this point(besides encoding and a couple other types of apps that most users arent concerned with). When there are more apps that do take advantage of this you can simply upgrade to a newer quad core for much less than it costs now to get one currently.

The graphics could have easily gotten away with an 8800GTS 512MB, OR please someone tell me why nobody thought of this... 2x 8800gt's (you can get 2 of these for about $460 right now.... If ur already gonna spend $415 on a single graphics card why not just get the 2 8800gt's.

There def need to be more catagories of systems to build. I agree with Ananan, but I would have there be a Low end, Mid, High, and then Ultimate. This system that was built borders the high end in my book.

Matt



^Because 1 8800GTX is only a tad lower than 8800GTs in SLI, once OCed 8800GTX would be better. A good SLI motherboard will cost more too (780i).

March 25, 2008 11:23:32 PM

This article is a joke........Near $2000 for the mid-level system is over the top, considering the price jump of more than double from the low cost system.

These articles need a $1200-$1600 price range.

Try looking at your new build forums......look at what specs and prices your average reader is paying.
March 25, 2008 11:49:07 PM

One two 8800GT's are much faster than an 8800GTX, the GT was only about 15% slower just a few months ago and guess what? That hasn't changed.

Now, I also want Tomshardware to know I drink your milkshake:
Case: hec 6XR8 $54.99
Mobo: MSI P7N 750i $164.99
Graphics Cards: CHAINTECH 8800GT x2 $399.98
Power Supply: PC Power and Cooling 750w: $149.99
Memory: G.Skill 4 (2x2g) DDR2-800 CAS 4: $94.99
Hard Drive: Raptor 150 gig $140
DVD Drive: Lite-On SATA unit, 20x DVD writes with Lightscribe $32.99
Thermal Compund Artic Cooling MX-2 $6.99
CPU Cooler: ZEROtherm BTF95 $43.99
CPU: Intel Q9450 $335.99 (same clock speed, and cooler too)
AND
Monitor: Spectre 24" 5ms 1920x1200 $369.99
Mouse: Razer Lachesis $79.99
Keyboard: Saitek PZ30AU $49.99

Altogether than totals to $1924.53. And you get a mouse, keyboard, and Monitor, and way more graphics power and way more processor to.

Note that the processor is $335.99, I found it at Dealiverable.com. Apparently someone stated that this is otherwise findable for $399, so its not a bad deal at all. In fact I expect the price to go down to $299 eventually, what with the higher yields on these (smaller cores and bigger wafers than last generation).

All in all, I think I throughly spanked the Tomshardware mid-range system, given that I have a quieter system (and really, the Antec 900 would cool dual GTX's in its day, the much cooler GTs are just fine in my case) and I also got a monitor, a good mouse and keyboard.

All in all, I don't just drink Tom's milkshake, I eat his lunch, his dinner, and bang his wife while he cries in a corner at night. Then I go get it on with his daughter after killing his mother. Then I steal his car. (first man to catch who this diss is in homage of, gets cake).

Sorry guys, but really, you are using year old hardware and doing it without any flair. In fact, if I were to cut the drive down to a 7200rpm Caviar unit from Western digital I'd shave $80 off the build, allowing a builder to add Vista 64bit to his budget and still be under the $2000 limit. Tom's system? You get a processor that, really, doesn't do anything for anyone at half a grand, a graphics card that needs oodles of power and ventilation (hence the Antec case, which is overkill for this build) and is slower than two cheaper cards in SLI, and you get no operating system, no monitor, no mouse, and no keyboard. You just get a case with hardware that barely keeps the dust off itself.

And really, I should shave this down to a grand. Thats a mid range price point, especially with what the economy is doing.
March 25, 2008 11:55:38 PM

In fact, Toms, please hear my cry:

Don't release your high end build tomorrow. I can only imagine that its going to be filled with a QX6850 and a 8800 Ultra. Please, take a few weeks off the system build and wait for new hardware to launch. Get the latest Intel processors in your lab, then go get a 790i mobo, a Q9650, two 8800GTS cards, ditch your thoughts on a Solid state and stick with two raptors, and then get some DDR3.

Otherwise, you are just going to have people laughing at you again.
March 26, 2008 12:15:13 AM

I don't have any problem with the price range however the processor video card mobo combination doesn't make any sense to me.

1st the proc the Q9300 is at tigerdirect for $299 (i don't know how it really overclocks yet with what like a 7.5x mutilplier i think) but heck the Q6700 is only $499 OEM maybe last week it wasn't like that but idk 540 on that processor ???? do you really think its worth it over the Q6600 and overclocks that much better. I can understand if you got a great deal on it or maybe for 350 but not for the price. Most of us i would think know not to go after a product like that for the price unless you have a very specific purpose for it. Its serously sounds like ok I have a 2000 dollar build I am going to spend 500 on the processor thats that. Not saying the processor isn't important.

2nd/3rd The mobo your going to buy an sli 780 mobo with only 1 graphics card. I understand upgradablitiy but your not going to buy another 8800gtx for it after putting 2000 bucks in a computer in like 6 months to one year at this point in time. (the 8800gtx is still a good card but its pretty old) So go with the X38 board.
Yes I read you didn't have 2 8800 gts which stated in your article would be better but most of us are graphics geeks this is probably the most important part for many of your reader (not all but many). So get this part right next time.

4th- Ram was fine but could have cut back on the proc and put 8 gigs in with a 64bit os which would have been more interesting than the Q6700 but thats just my opinion

I'm begging to feel like you guys just wanted to do a quad core face off here I am interested to see how well this sucker can overclock but I still feel like most of us would rather have seen the newer 45nm stuff in even if its hard to find it at a good price today. It would lengthen the timeframe of the usefulness of the article.

Sorry to be negative but this really was a dissappointment for me. I love that fact that you guys do these articles for us but this could have been great and i feel like it was just ok. You got $2000 you can do better especially if you want the best bang for 2 grand.
March 26, 2008 12:47:21 AM

Seems like the systems are being built to fall within the low/mid/high performance classes with budgets that are way too high for them, causing the splurge for unnecessary parts. That's why so many people are complaining about wasted money. Hope the revamps you guys have planned make the next SBM much better.
March 26, 2008 2:10:32 AM

Element81 said:
I tend to believe that midrange should be determined more by price and not by where benchmarking results fall on a chart. I think that most people would consider a midrange system to be one that was built to have the best performence for about $1500 today. $2000 is just a bit too far over the midrange line for most people.
:heink:  that is purely subjective IMO... In order to be comparable between all readers you need to have an absolute truth... not one that moves with the tides. That absolute in this case is pretty clearly raw performance as the metric. It is then up to YOU the reader to use your melon and adjust +/- to fit your needs. Yes, the price points were chosen within that absolute measure just to have 3 evenly spaced places on the large scale but it still gives you an idea of what $X gives you.

Element81 said:
I've been a system builder for well over a decade. I have never posted her before but after seeing the nearly 2k price tag for a midrange system I was compelled to state my opinion. I'm sure some people will not agree but the fact that you could easily shave off 400-500 to make the 1500 price level and loose MINIMAL performance proves my point.
:pfff:  No it doesn't. All it proves is that performance does not scale linearly with price... but most readers of Tom's (and system builders of over 10 years) already know this and so the proving that is moot. If you don't like a give price paid, start shaving for your own build... this (and any other review of a particular system) is just a comparison point. nothing more.

Element81 said:
Heck you could even go for one of the new wolfdale dual cores (and maybe even overclock it) and get good or better performance on a lot of apps because there are not many apps that take advantage of quad core arcitecture at this point(besides encoding and a couple other types of apps that most users arent concerned with). When there are more apps that do take advantage of this you can simply upgrade to a newer quad core for much less than it costs now to get one currently.
[:mousemonkey:2] I thought the argument for the quad core in the article was more than adequate. It is painfully obvious that the industry is going to parallelism in ALL code. Quad core just gives you a longer stint w/o needing to upgrade. Again, pretty clear IMO.

Element81 said:
The graphics could have easily gotten away with an 8800GTS 512MB, OR please someone tell me why nobody thought of this... 2x 8800gt's (you can get 2 of these for about $460 right now.... If ur already gonna spend $415 on a single graphics card why not just get the 2 8800gt's.
[:mousemonkey:4] It was very plainly mentioned in the article why they did not have the sli... didn't you read it? Also, there is an argument (not mentioned yet that I can see) that sli is not the best route. If you plan on running dual monitors (which I do) then only crossfire supports that while enabled. Being as this was billed as an "all around" performer and not just a gamer that is a real option and sli becomes less attractive.

@Shadow703793: agreed.

Element81 said:
There def need to be more catagories of systems to build. I agree with Ananan, but I would have there be a Low end, Mid, High, and then Ultimate. This system that was built borders the high end in my book.

Matt
Like I mentioned earlier... whether or not YOU think it is high end is all well and good personally, but on a full scale absolute performance scale it is not. Even on an absolute price scale (as I mentioned before) it is not. Cleeve has already mentioned a possibly better system they are working on that might please more... so you may get your "more categories" in the future... we shall see.

Basically, a logical argument you have not made. come back, 1 week!... NEXT! :pt1cable: 
March 26, 2008 3:44:39 AM

MadBadger said:
I agree; $2000 is NOT a mid-range system.


I hardly post and had to post about how poor the pricing is for their build. $2,000 is not a mid-range system. The owners of the site should read their own forums to understand the consensus on mid ran
March 26, 2008 6:29:29 AM

Wow, I agree with most of the posts here and instead of just reading others input this time I feel I should speak up as well saying the article was way off. Perhaps I am just stuck in the past but the previous builds were much more helpful then the new low and high end. I could not believe what I was reading just under $2000 for mid range? Don't get me wrong I enjoy most of the articles at toms and browse the forum daily, and used to recommend their builds to friends, cannot say I would for either of the new builds, and since the high end tomorrow will likely be at a monster price I will not be telling friends about it either. Maybe once again it is just me but it seem like the articles should cater to the readers and just from the builds people request it would seem no one spends over $2000 for most systems. Most just seem to want to build systems for under $1000. To bad, wanted to get some ideas for my new build from the articles, but even my "stranger" butt can tell I am not getting my moneys worth from them builds.
March 26, 2008 7:33:15 AM

I too think 2000$ is way too much for a midrange. Specialy once you "convert" it to some 2000€ in most european shops for these same components. I think it should be like .. 1200-1300 for midrange (hey, it's without peripherals! AT ALL), and more like 800$ for low part.

As much as I know, most hardware is grouped like this:
low-end: Celerons/Semprons/C2D E2xxx series; non-gaming graphic cards; Windows Home
mid:E4000, Athlons, E6000 for higher-mid configs; 9600 GT/HD38xx; 8800GT/GTS for high-mid parts; integrated sound; Windows XP Pro; 4GB RAM
high: higher E6xxx models and quads (both amd and intel); 8800GTX, 9800GX2, HD3870X2; raptor for system+terabyte drive for storage;Vista Home Premium 64bit; 4GB high-perf RAM; DEDICATED SOUND CARD!
ultra-high: extreme edition CPUs, tri-quad sli/crossfire, raptor raid, sound card with rack, vista ultimate 64bit sp1; 8GB RAM; etc

BTW - 2000$, AND NO DEDICATED SOUNDCARD?! This is absolutely biggest miss in there...
March 26, 2008 8:05:24 AM

Tried to edit, but didn't let me post, so here:
EDIT: Oh, and few days ago, I was reading legionhardware.com, they made just 900$ config WITH monitor/speakers/keyboard/mouse (no windows), and it's still almost as fast as your "low" configuration, as it uses same HD3870, and only huge difference is C2D 4500 vs your quad Athlon. But it's WAY cheaper, as you DO GET EVERYTHING for 910$!

And oh, EVERYONE likes to go out and put 600-700-800W power supplies in their "building-a-pc-review", and every time they bench something they confirm that "whole system" runs under 300 for similar hardware.. let's give it 20% of wasted energy, it's still no more than 400W power supply needed, 450W if you want to be sure its all fine and dandy.. So why on earth if (for example) C2D E6700+8800GTX XXX edition+raptor+DVDRW spend 300W as a WHOLE SYSTEM (google it! try it!) does every single reviewer offer us 600+W power supply. You did the same with both "low" config (600W? for what? 55nm GPU and an athlon quad?) and this so-called "midium" one (750W? LOL! Even 550W is more than enough here, even with GTX and Quad CPU, and even if you overclock like hell you won't waste double the power than). Your own Skulltrail review measures 2x quads with 8800GTX OVERCLOCKED TO 4GHZ (!!) to draw 630W. So you can probably power well overclocked Skulltrail system with this 750W power supply.. So again to the start - why using 600+W power on low-mid configs with SINGLE CPU, and SINGLE GPU?
March 26, 2008 12:35:13 PM

Well a PSU won't draw more power from the wall than the system needs, so really the only thing being wasted is $ when buying 750W PSU's for systems that only need 500W. Although, keep in mind that the majority of PSU's run most efficiently when they're under ~75% load; if you're someone who keeps the computer on all day/night, it may actually not be a bad investment since 'more' of the wattage drawn from the wall will actually be used to power the system and not wasted.

But anyway.. I'm just glad Don and the staff are reading and posting in these follow up posts! They SHOULD have been reading and paying WAY more attentiong to their own message boards (and/or others around the 'Net) before starting these builds because they would have gotten a much more realistic budget range just from that.
March 26, 2008 1:33:16 PM

The general public would probably consider $400-$500 a "low-end" price, $700-$800 to be "mid-range," and perhaps $1200-$1500 to be the "high end." Look at mass-marketers like Best Buy and Dell for the stuff they sell (their $2500 "gamer" systems would be over the top).
Tom's audience, however, is not the general public. The point being that the price points Tom's used, while arbitrary, might not be that out of alignment with an enthusiast audience. I do think though, that a much stronger focus could have been placed on bang-for-buck, which any enthusiast does, rather than forcing the build to an arbitrary price point regardless of value; a case of "what's the best I can get for $XX," vs. "what can I include in order to spend $XX." Hopefully Cleeve's assurances of a better future cycle will be justified.
March 26, 2008 1:43:10 PM

^good to know there are others that can look past $X and see the point. :) 
March 26, 2008 3:27:13 PM

I look at this from a different point of view. You chose to use a Q6700 Quad. I looked at your CPU charts and the Benchmark difference between the Q6600 and Q6700 is mimimal at best. I dont think it is worth the extra $250.00 you are paying for it. The question I pose is for $250.00 how much increase in performance are you receiving? If the answer is almost none, then maybe you should spend it on something else or not spend it at all.

Then you chose a 750 watt power supply. If you are not building an SLI system that is just too much power. Apparrently you dont believe in saving energy.

You might want to consider RAM rated slightly higher than 800 Mhz.

If you just want to spend more money what is the point? There is only so much performance that can be considered Mid-range.

For a higher quality than this you plan on building a Dual Xeon Core 2 Quad? That would be pushing it out of the range of Desktop and into the range of High-End Commercial Workstation.
March 26, 2008 3:46:06 PM

piasabird said:
...[random repetition of earlier stuff]...

:pfff:  wow, just read previous posts... they prove your conclusions wrong or redundant, especially about the psu.
March 26, 2008 9:16:57 PM

I think the choice of the Q6700 makes a LOT more sense in light of the fact that on April 20 it will be dropping in price to below $300. Yeah, you could still argue for other procs but it makes more sense in this system at that price. Taking that into account if you just swap the GPU out for an 8800GT then you'd have more of a true mid-cost system IMO.

I'm actually happy to see that they're going to OC the Q6700 because I just bought a Q6700 + QW:ET for $299.99 through a one-day sale at ClubIt.com. Should be here tomorrow. I was going to go 6600 but for the price I just said what the heck...

brad
March 26, 2008 9:43:42 PM

What price drop? I haven't heard about any? Can some one fill me in please?
March 26, 2008 10:27:44 PM

The Q6600 is Scheduled to Drop in Tray Price from $266 to $224 on April 20th.

That being said I was waiting for this too until Fry's graced me with a $179.99 Sale on the Q6600 Today.
Unfortunately, it's now over.

Microcenter has it for $199, however.
March 26, 2008 11:07:55 PM

^ Thanks for the heads up. What else are supposed to go down? What about the E6x50s etc.?
March 26, 2008 11:35:14 PM

Don't mean to pile on the crew at Tom's too much, but I'll echo the sentiment that $2000 is too expensive for mid-end. Hell, when I built my PC I put about a $1000-1100 into it, and I thought that was mid-range, hell I think it is a damn good performing mid-range machine.
March 26, 2008 11:51:59 PM

Shadow703793 said:
^ Thanks for the heads up. What else are supposed to go down? What about the E6x50s etc.?





brad
March 27, 2008 12:37:53 AM

^ Nice. thanks. I haven't had the time to check up on the prices, cause of school work and spending too much time on the Forums ;) .
March 27, 2008 1:44:12 PM

Quote:
Using the 150GB Raptor allows us to get some very high transfer speeds, and we were interested in seeing how this configuration will stack up against the RAID system that will be used in the high-end machine later in the marathon. The Raptor is a pricey experiment at $170 for the drive, but we're willing to pay the price to see what the Raptor can do. For increased storage we've added a regular 500GB Caviar as a secondary drive for $95, giving us a total of 750 GB of storage.


Huh ? Didn't the author read the Tom's Hardware site ?

Quote:
Using the 150GB Raptor allows us to get some very high transfer speeds


Quote:
The Raptor is a pricey experiment at $170 for the drive, but we're willing to pay the price to see what the Raptor can do.


Maybe they saw this ? If they did, they should already know what it can do ?

http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/11/21/samsung_overtake...

Transfer Speed (Peak / Average)
Samsung F1 (118.7/ 91.7)
Seagate (100.3 / 89.0)
WD Raptor (87.0 / 75.3)

Now I know TH is happy that WD gave them 15 free HD's

http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/12/21/toms_reference_s...
"Western Digital provided the 15 test hard drives for our test systems."

But I would think that they would read their own tests and not be wondering what it can do.....especially when it puts a significant hit on the budget.



!