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System Builder Marathon: High-Cost System

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a b à CPUs
March 26, 2008 7:37:07 PM

http://www.tomshardware.com/2008/03/26/system_builder_m...

So what do you guys think? I think this is a very good PC given the price. I see the point of the CPU, Case, RAM, etc. EXCEPT THE PSU!! The PSU is a VERY LOW Quality! It is In tier 5! See:http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=108088I would think that they would have used at least a PP&C 610 or a Corsair 520HX. My heart just dropped when I saw the PSU. :??:  .
I agree that they could have gotten a different CPU but, given the budget limit I see why they chose that CPU (QX9650) and the Motherboard, RAM, HDDs, Liquid cooling, etc. I still can't get over the fact that they used such a low quality PSU. I think Toms should check out the link above when buying a PSU for a guide.
a c 129 à CPUs
March 26, 2008 7:53:31 PM

I think that particular model limps up to Tier-4, but still I don't know anyone of the many people here I'd consider knowing what they're doing recommending or buying a Coolermaster PSU.
March 26, 2008 8:57:32 PM

Actually, Coolermaster PSU's starting at 850W and up are manufactured by Enhance, which is a very high end OEM manufacturer (Tier 2 on that particular list). I know you looked at that PSU Tier list, but you should search a little bit more for reviews and recommendations because you would find that it performs very well and comes highly recommended.

That said, since they're trying to spend $4,000, I don't see why they wouldn't just grab a 1000W+ model for the 'futurer-proofing' and improved lifespand/efficiency of the PSU (running at lower % loads = most efficient, longer life). I would've grabbed 8Gb of RAM also, but /shrug I'm more interested in the lower budget ranges.
Related resources
March 26, 2008 9:05:51 PM

I have to agree with the PSU comment. With an extra 600 bucks to blow, there's no reason to have gone with that particular PSU. In addition, I was kind of expecting 1066 ram to push the limits of overclocking this system, especially with the watercooling setup.

Those things aside, at least this build makes a lot more sense than the previous two...
a b à CPUs
March 26, 2008 9:13:15 PM

Although the PSU is actually made by Enhance, the PCB design is of lower quality than most of the other ones. I say Tier 3/2 at max.
a b à CPUs
March 26, 2008 9:33:57 PM

oushi said:
I have to agree with the PSU comment. With an extra 600 bucks to blow, there's no reason to have gone with that particular PSU. In addition, I was kind of expecting 1066 ram to push the limits of overclocking this system, especially with the watercooling setup.

Those things aside, at least this build makes a lot more sense than the previous two...


It was the only power supply they had on hand with cables long enough to reach the CPU 12V power connector. They didn't choose the Coolermaster, it "chose them". The one they were supposed to use simply wouldn't work.
March 26, 2008 9:36:28 PM

I'm not sure I completely understood their radiators. I get the dual fan one in the top, but did they use the other one because it holds the reservoir? And does it blow OUT of those side vents? Was it just me, or was that part of the guide confusing?
March 26, 2008 9:40:18 PM

Crashman said:
It was the only power supply they had on hand with cables long enough to reach the CPU 12V power connector. They didn't choose the Coolermaster, it "chose them". The one they were supposed to use simply wouldn't work.

They said the cords in the modular PSU they used in their last high-end system were too short. They still could have picked out a better PSU that's out on the market.
a b à CPUs
March 26, 2008 9:41:06 PM

Crashman said:
It was the only power supply they had on hand with cables long enough to reach the CPU 12V power connector. They didn't choose the Coolermaster, it "chose them". The one they were supposed to use simply wouldn't work.

Thanks for clearing this up. No wonder they "got" that PSU.
a b à CPUs
March 26, 2008 10:04:57 PM

lcaley said:
I'm not sure I completely understood their radiators. I get the dual fan one in the top, but did they use the other one because it holds the reservoir? And does it blow OUT of those side vents? Was it just me, or was that part of the guide confusing?


Yes, it probably should have been explained in the article a little better, but the photos help:
1. The top radiator sits above two exhaust fans, so it's always at the temperature of the inside of the case (which is still much cooler than the CPU).
2. The front radiator sits behind an intake fan, so it gets down close to the temperature of the outside of the case.

Water goes from the CPU to the top radiator where it's cooled to case temperature, then to the bottom radiator where it's cooled even more, before returning to the CPU. Reasons for that design include:

1. The fact that there was no "cold" place to put the big radiator and the small one wouldn't offer the performance they wanted by itself
2. The small radiator has a reservior, so they didn't need to drill holes and waste space for a separate reservoir.
a b à CPUs
March 26, 2008 10:33:03 PM

jevon said:
That said, since they're trying to spend $4,000, I don't see why they wouldn't just grab a 1000W+ model for the 'futurer-proofing' and improved lifespand/efficiency of the PSU (running at lower % loads = most efficient, longer life). I would've grabbed 8Gb of RAM also, but /shrug I'm more interested in the lower budget ranges.


Good points, but I don't think anyone had time to grab another unit, or several new units to find another one with long enough cables. Besides, hardly anyone really needs 1000W, Tripple SLI systems rarely exceed 700W and good power supplies have 50-150W of extra power beyond their rating.

8GB would have been useless using a 32-bit OS, which they picked for compatibility.
March 26, 2008 10:41:15 PM

Wow that case is beautiful! It's so simple and concise, yet so elegant. DAMN YOU TOM"S HARDWARE now I must get it!!
March 27, 2008 12:04:20 AM

i dont like the sound card...
a b à CPUs
March 27, 2008 12:28:45 AM

^Hey, it came with the motherboard, imo. it is better than the normal usual on board sound.
March 27, 2008 12:58:48 AM

true.... but if they had $4000 to spend, then might as well get a high end one...
a b à CPUs
March 27, 2008 1:30:01 AM

^ Well unless you are in to audio work,etc those cards are fine.
March 27, 2008 2:14:46 AM

I agree. This is the high-end build. It should have a high-end sound card such as Auzentech Xfi or Xfi Fatality etc... Few PC enthusiasts are going to sink that much into a PC and then not get a good sound card. Was also surprised they didn't go with raptors. Then again, I didn't go with raptors either..I went with the exact same drive they did. :D 

brad
March 27, 2008 4:28:29 AM

The sound card looks good.
I have the same case then that one and the most beautiful thing about it his the way I can work with the removable tray for assembly.
I'm not really sure if the water cooling solution with two radiator could lower so much the temperature. i'm pretty sure they can have the same or may be better temp with a Coolit freesone elite and took thefans and put it on top of the case to get more exhaust and the air flow will increase inside the case. Because now the cold air coming in the case is just come from the rear fan, all others fans throw hot air inside.

Last idea, why they don't go for sli-ready memory, like Patriot Extreme Performance 2x2gb and EPP correction. If you do the math the difference will not be over the budget they have and everything is highly available for now.

But to be honest it's damn good machine.
a b à CPUs
March 27, 2008 5:29:52 AM

The Ballistix PC2-6400 has EPP values for 1000MHz. But EPP is useless to an experienced overclocker who would rather manually assign values.

The rear fan pulls hot air out. The top fans pull hot air out. The front fan blows cold air in, but it wil be somewhat warmer after it leaves the front radiator.
March 27, 2008 7:37:51 AM

I dont under stand with another $600 to blow and a wonderful water cooling why not waterblocks for the GPU's it would perform awesome on ocing
a b à CPUs
March 27, 2008 8:23:58 AM

Good VGA water blocks are expensive: Cards that already have them are cheap by comparison. The editors tried to get some samples from BFG, but BFG didn't respond.
March 27, 2008 8:40:15 AM

oushi said:
I have to agree with the PSU comment. With an extra 600 bucks to blow, there's no reason to have gone with that particular PSU. In addition, I was kind of expecting 1066 ram to push the limits of overclocking this system, especially with the watercooling setup.

Those things aside, at least this build makes a lot more sense than the previous two...


I agree with most of the components on this system. It's pretty darned close to the way I'd go if I were to build one myself, and I wouldn't waste money on a sound card with the current onboard sound quality.

Anyone who's run Crucial Ballistix DDR2-800 knows that not only will it do 1066MHz without a sweat, it'll also do over 1200MHz. It runs up to 960MHz on 4-4-4-12 timings with 2.1v and up to 1235Mhz (slightly higher or lower on the 3 sets I have) with 5-5-5-15 timings at 2.1v. Not many 1066Mhz modules can claim as much. I might have upped it to the Ballistix Tracer 8500, which runs exactly the same but also includes the nice LEDs. :) 
a b à CPUs
March 27, 2008 8:48:42 AM

If you seriously need to spend 3.4k+ on a computer that is obsolete in 6-12 months, you need to re-evaluate your priorities in life :lol: 

Hey Crashman, when did you join up with the THG crew?
a b à CPUs
March 27, 2008 8:55:28 AM

CRAP, they outed me didn't they....
March 27, 2008 11:58:16 AM

I thought the sound card choice was because of not having any free slots that would accommodate a better card.
a b à CPUs
March 27, 2008 12:05:41 PM

firebird said:
I thought the sound card choice was because of not having any free slots that would accommodate a better card.


Correct, they left two slots open to accomodate a future 3-way SLI configuration
March 27, 2008 1:56:32 PM

Personally I would have gone with a PC-Power and cooling PS. 2 of those new SSD hard drives in raid, and a pair of 9800gx2's
a c 203 à CPUs
March 27, 2008 4:05:59 PM

Again, here's the part that got me:

http://www.tomshardware.com/2008/03/26/system_builder_m...

"The hardware in this month's System Builder Marathon is, in many ways, far more advanced than anything before it, but two places where we couldn't find a significant improvement were the hard drives and graphics cards."

Couldn't find ? Maybe try reading the TH site ?

I know, I know....in the Tom's Reference system article it was noted that WD gave TH 15 free HD's, but that doesn't mean that they should wind up in every single build. The low end and hi end builds get Caviars and the mid range gets Raptor ?????

http://www.tomshardware.com/2008/03/26/system_builder_m...

"We've been fond of Western Digital's 750 GB Caviar WD7500AAKS ever since it made its record-breaking-performance debut last year.

Hello ! we building last year's high end system or this year's ?

In November, TH published this test

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

HD Read DTR's - (Peak / Average / Minimum)
WD 750 AAKS - 94.3 / 74.8 / 48.0
Seagate 7200.11 - 100.3 / 80.9 / 51.0
Samsung F1 - 118.7 / 91.7 / 56.3

So why pick a HD in a high end system that tests 20% slower than the "king of the hill" in your own tests ?

There's a new WD 6400AAKS that has the same platter density as the the F1 so, if they married to WD, I can't fathom why they didn't use the newer, faster model. Despite it's cache being only 16 MB as compared to the F1's 32 MB, it should still be a better performer than the older 750 GB model.

http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3269&cp...
March 27, 2008 4:39:54 PM

It's really disappointing to read arguments in the article that time was a factor for not choosing certain parts.




March 27, 2008 4:54:32 PM

Crashman said:
Yes, it probably should have been explained in the article a little better, but the photos help:
1. The top radiator sits above two exhaust fans, so it's always at the temperature of the inside of the case (which is still much cooler than the CPU).
2. The front radiator sits behind an intake fan, so it gets down close to the temperature of the outside of the case.

Water goes from the CPU to the top radiator where it's cooled to case temperature, then to the bottom radiator where it's cooled even more, before returning to the CPU. Reasons for that design include:

1. The fact that there was no "cold" place to put the big radiator and the small one wouldn't offer the performance they wanted by itself
2. The small radiator has a reservior, so they didn't need to drill holes and waste space for a separate reservoir.


Sorry I'm so far behind on this. So the front fan is blowing cool air across across the radiator. That makes sense. But by doing that, the downside is that intake is basically blowing warmed air around the inside of the case, right? I guess you gotta do what you gotta do, but that seems odd to me.
a b à CPUs
March 27, 2008 6:04:36 PM

lcaley said:
Sorry I'm so far behind on this. So the front fan is blowing cool air across across the radiator. That makes sense. But by doing that, the downside is that intake is basically blowing warmed air around the inside of the case, right? I guess you gotta do what you gotta do, but that seems odd to me.


Well, the choices are to either blow warm exhaust air through the radiator and give the CPU less cooling, or blow cool intake air across the radiator and make the inside of the case warm. At least in this configuration, most of the heat is removed from the coolant by the top radiator before its cooled even more by the front radiator. This of course reduces the temperature of the front radiator so that there's less affect on case heat.
a b à CPUs
March 27, 2008 6:14:57 PM

tjhva said:
It's really disappointing to read arguments in the article that time was a factor for not choosing certain parts.


That happens to everyone: You buy parts and by the time they're delivered something better has been announced. You assemble the system and by the time your programs are loaded the newly announced part is on the market.
March 27, 2008 6:15:28 PM

Yeah, that makes sense. Very cool build... thanks for clearing that up for me.
a b à CPUs
March 27, 2008 6:18:25 PM

JackNaylorPE said:

In November, TH published this test

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

HD Read DTR's - (Peak / Average / Minimum)
WD 750 AAKS - 94.3 / 74.8 / 48.0
Seagate 7200.11 - 100.3 / 80.9 / 51.0
Samsung F1 - 118.7 / 91.7 / 56.3

So why pick a HD in a high end system that tests 20% slower than the "king of the hill" in your own tests ?


Shurely Shum Mishtake.

I think you should lambast the author for missing a good read!
March 27, 2008 7:20:36 PM

WOW what a P.O.S. If you spend that much on a PC get 2x 3870 X2s not GTXs. Also WHY THE HELL DID THEY GET A TJ09?!?!? For $270 you can get cases that are SO much better than that. The only reason to get that case is that you have too much money and like the looks of it A LOT. The cooling is not worth the money, cable management is impossible, and it is VERY heavy for an aluminum case. Also that PSU is rediculous. Lastly that WC CPU cooler SUCKS, for that amount of money they could have gotten a much better cooler or just went with air. Wow, they need to get ME in there and I will show you a great PC for much less than what they paid.

I'm just going to ignore I ever read that article, after all I like THW, and I don't want my opinion to drop.
March 27, 2008 7:22:14 PM

tjhva said:
It's really disappointing to read arguments in the article that time was a factor for not choosing certain parts.



Sums up all TH's SBM articles. Couldn't have put it better myself.
March 27, 2008 7:34:50 PM

I'm surprised no one's mentioned this yet... but... only 4 GB mem?

You have $4k and you only got 4 GB mem?

Other than that... and the obvious arguments about HDs... *most* of the other arguments can be personal preferences (once the fact that timelines and vendor cooperation are included). It's not a horrible setup. I think it's the... least disappointing... out of all three builds.
a b à CPUs
March 27, 2008 7:43:24 PM

The_Blood_Raven said:
WOW what a P.O.S. If you spend that much on a PC get 2x 3870 X2s not GTXs. Also WHY THE HELL DID THEY GET A TJ09?!?!? For $270 you can get cases that are SO much better than that. The only reason to get that case is that you have too much money and like the looks of it A LOT. The cooling is not worth the money, cable management is impossible, and it is VERY heavy for an aluminum case. Also that PSU is rediculous. Lastly that WC CPU cooler SUCKS, for that amount of money they could have gotten a much better cooler or just went with air. Wow, they need to get ME in there and I will show you a great PC for much less than what they paid.

I'm just going to ignore I ever read that article, after all I like THW, and I don't want my opinion to drop.


Obvioiusly you already ignored the article or you wouldn't be such a moron. You couldn't get 2x 3870 X2's to play nice when the parts were ordered, and that wasn't very long ago. And you can't get a better case to hold that hardware.

Period

End of discussion

Out of over 200 cases considered, the TJ09 and TJ10 were the only ones that would support the hardware. You sir are the weakest link.

Good bye.
a b à CPUs
March 27, 2008 7:52:55 PM

Phrozt said:
I'm surprised no one's mentioned this yet... but... only 4 GB mem?

You have $4k and you only got 4 GB mem?

Other than that... and the obvious arguments about HDs... *most* of the other arguments can be personal preferences (once the fact that timelines and vendor cooperation are included). It's not a horrible setup. I think it's the... least disappointing... out of all three builds.


Yeh, 4GB sux for Vista, but Vista 64 doesn't have the compatibility. Even one of the benchmarks was incompatible with Vista 64.

They'd have been better off with XP, for which 4GB is huge and there's no need to use XP 64 just to add more.

Ah well, the site is moving to DX10.1 and DX10 is just part of the transition.
March 27, 2008 8:03:05 PM

I am curoius as to why someone would build such a great machine and include a 1.44 floppy?? huh?
a b à CPUs
March 27, 2008 8:08:49 PM

gr8faith said:
I am curoius as to why someone would build such a great machine and include a 1.44 floppy?? huh?


The floppy was kept on the side for a possible experiment with WinXP. XP needs a floppy to load RAID drivers, unless you really like figuring out how to slipstream them.
March 27, 2008 8:24:44 PM

2x 8800gtx's? Why bother? This article probably wasn't put together in time for 9800GX2. Also if you were going to stick with 2 vid cards why not get the 8800GTS (G92). It performs better in SLI than 2 8800GTX and cost less.
a b à CPUs
March 27, 2008 10:44:12 PM

Crashman said:
You sir are the weakest link.

Good bye.

Only one of the hosts on that show could say that line with powa :) 

Crashman said:
Yeh, 4GB sux for Vista, but Vista 64 doesn't have the compatibility. Even one of the benchmarks was incompatible with Vista 64.

I run vista (admittedly x86) with 2GB RAM and it's fine, although 4GB would be nicer, it isn't necessary.

gr8faith said:
I am curoius as to why someone would build such a great machine and include a 1.44 floppy?? huh?

Because no rig is 1337 without a floppy :sol: 
March 27, 2008 11:04:26 PM

randomizer said:
Only one of the hosts on that show could say that line with powa :) 


I run vista (admittedly x86) with 2GB RAM and it's fine, although 4GB would be nicer, it isn't necessary.


Because no rig is 1337 without a floppy :sol: 



At least 4 GB is necessary for newer games. Crysis itself hogs 2+ GBs at high settings, and Vista can hog up to one GB. Between those two, how much is left? Anyway, you can use page file, but it's a huge performance killer. :p 

I forgot to order the floppy for my new rig. It is no longer 1337 now... :cry: 
March 28, 2008 12:53:46 AM

Nothing will upset me more than trying to install XP without a floppy. It's literally the most frustrating thing on the planet. Literally.
a b à CPUs
March 28, 2008 1:52:07 AM

Literally?
a c 203 à CPUs
March 28, 2008 2:05:44 AM

IIRC, Xp w/ SP2 doesn't need the floppy ..... at least not for the SATA optical drive issue.......still needed for some RAID setups.
a b à CPUs
March 28, 2008 10:15:22 AM

Crashman said:
Literally?

Yes :lol: 
a c 203 à CPUs
March 28, 2008 12:54:06 PM

Crashman said:
Literally?


He must be single. :pt1cable: 
!