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Are System Builder Marathon Rigs Suitable for a First Build?

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February 10, 2010 6:34:20 PM

I am almost ready to build my first PC...and then I read about - and drooled over - the Enthusiast PC in the December 2009 System Builder Marathon.

I said I'm "almost ready" for my first build because I feel there are still a few things I need to learn about, like how to choose a case. I figured I would buy my last pre-made computer for Windows 7, and my next computer would be my first build.

The beauty of an SBM computer, as I see it, is that the experts at Tom's have selected all the parts, so I know they're well-matched and good quality, thereby removing a major worry for a first timer.

Of course, reasonable people can and do disagree about whether Tom's should have used "this" brand of video card instead of "that" brand, and every month new and better components come to market, but to me as a potential first-time builder...who cares? Any way you look at it I'm getting a computer that's more capable than what HP or Dell offer, even if it costs a little more. (And I have the satisfaction of building it myself.)

So what's your opinion: Is a System Builder Marathon PC a good choice for a first build?

February 10, 2010 6:36:35 PM

Nah. They had some weak stuff this time around.
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February 10, 2010 6:37:54 PM

It is a good choice and will work for a new build. I would still recommend posting your build in this forum for feedback and ways to cut cost without lossing performance.
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February 10, 2010 6:43:38 PM

They're decent builds at that price, but can often be tweaked and costs lowered by current deals.

They also make some funky decision, such as having 4 HDDs in the high end build without having a single SSD.
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February 10, 2010 6:45:48 PM

SSDs will get outdated fast. Either that or they are reduced to a read only state after a few years of heavy use.
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February 10, 2010 6:56:05 PM

builderbobftw said:
SSDs will get outdated fast. Either that or they are reduced to a read only state after a few years of heavy use.

I don't believe that's the case at all.

Also, I echo MadAdmiral's sentiment that the SBM builds are a great place to start for any new build, but that December's builds were a bit borked.
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February 10, 2010 6:58:11 PM

soulbro said:
I don't believe that's the case at all.

Also, I echo MadAdmiral's sentiment that the SBM builds are a great place to start for any new build, but that December's builds were a bit borked.


This talks about SSD endurance.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/kingston-ssdnow-ssd...

As for the outdated part, all bleeding edge, experimental, young tech gets outdated fast
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February 10, 2010 7:01:24 PM

No, young tech becomes mainstream fast. SSDs are certainly the future, and there isn't a single most noticeable upgrade in computing today.

That said, SSDs do have problems that need to be worked out. However, once you reach a certain amount for the build, there isn't a good alternative to spend the money on.
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February 10, 2010 7:03:09 PM

What? Dude, 3 30"" moniters in eyefinity with 5970 xfire=win.

Better off buying more displays for eyefinity than spending it on SSDs.
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February 10, 2010 7:05:09 PM

So instead of spending $400 on an 128 GB SSD to drastically increase a PC's perceived speed, you'd rather spend $4,000 to get no performance gain?

Yeah...that sounds like a great investment...
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February 10, 2010 7:08:21 PM

30 "" screens can be found used for about 700$ ea. So it's closer to 2K$, and SSDs don't increse my FPS, just load times. Also, Eyefinity is awesome on 24" and larger screens.
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February 10, 2010 7:08:43 PM

Best answer selected by Bulldog17.
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February 10, 2010 7:23:54 PM

tecmo34 said:
It is a good choice and will work for a new build. I would still recommend posting your build in this forum for feedback and ways to cut cost with lossing performance.

Thanks, tecmo, and thanks to everyone else, too. It's great to know that I can ask for feedback on my build.

I've got my eye on the 12/2009 "Enthusiast" PC (and not just because it was the "winner" of that shoot-out.) I don't need two video cards, and I don't need a fancy video card at all. (I'm no gamer.) I would trade the two video cards for one simpler card and a memory card reader and pocket the change. That ought to bring the price of the build to within reasonable distance of a similarly capable OEM buy, only I'll have better parts. (I already have software.)
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February 10, 2010 7:32:02 PM

builderbobftw said:
This talks about SSD endurance.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/kingston-ssdnow-ssd...

As for the outdated part, all bleeding edge, experimental, young tech gets outdated fast

Yeah, but what I took away from that article was that SSDs last at least as long as magnetic drives, except that when an SSD "fails," it becomes read-only, rather than a paperweight. ;) 

Anyway, if I have to replace my SSD every few years, it's still worth it to me...it just makes things so fast.
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February 10, 2010 7:33:26 PM

soulbro said:
Yeah, but what I took away from that article was that SSDs last at least as long as magnetic drives, except that when an SSD "fails," it becomes read-only, rather than a paperweight. ;) 

Anyway, if I have to replace my SSD every few years, it's still worth it to me...it just makes things so fast.


I've seen some of the first magnetic drives ever made, the ones the size of a modern computer. Those things are fun to disect, and the weird thing is, some of those things still work after like 30+yrs.
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March 20, 2010 5:25:35 PM

True,
But those dishwashers were made for an enterprise market, not for a consumer market.
Just look at the incoming inspection and mil spec. quality of the parts/ some of the critical ones.
Don't compare different markets.
Look at PC server builds today. a $150 motherboard vs. a $800 one. Of course some of that is mark-up.
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