Like many, I've built computers previously (I have back when I was in high school about 10 years ago) and always knew that building a computer always has better performance and customizations and overall speed due to the parts and knowledge of the user. Kind of like having a stock car, and modding it to suit the way your personality is, whether speed or luxury. We all know prebuilt computers come with tons of junk, and if you're on tomshardware.com you already know you're a bit more tech savvy than most people lookin' for a cheap deal on a cheap computer.
Recently, I've been interested in rebuilding a new computer and of course remembering this site from a decade ago I decided to read up and review and brush up on the new technology and updates, etc.
I've read plenty on the forums and the "How to" on building your own and tuning/tweaking and I wanted to point out a few things.
1. Tomshwardware comes out with annual or biannual system builder marathons. Wouldn't the best considerations for (more than half the posts per page on building a new system) be already answered and tested by the article?
ie. I read posts on "Critique this $700 dollar gaming build" or "Final buy @ $1,000" and I figure wouldn't pointing these people to those articles (obviously doesn't match $ exact from the builder marathon article, so I do understand posting a response to fulfill the persons needs) be better?
Since I primarily was interested in playing some of these non-graphic intensive games (somethin' like Heroes of Newerth or World of Warcraft, not Crysis/etc) I figure I'd follow the exact rubric of the the budget gaming rigs. Between $650-750. The article points out the advantages of dual graphic cards 4850's. Contrary as I read through many of the current posts on this board, many are suggesting the 5770 as the single card alternative in the cheaper end builds. So then I'm at a crossroads between thinking the tested article vs the suggestions posted by members of our community, which one is better?
2. If it were possible, although I do understand this is time consuming, to have a sticky thread on top, daily updated every friday (or whatever day once a week) on a gaming rig of increments from $500 to $2,000. Generally speaking from newegg.com. I think this would cut down daily on the amount of posts asking for reviews on their ideas of gaming rigs. Have someone always try to find the cheapest, yet budget performance from 500, 750, 1000, 1250, etc. to 2,000. Combo deals and everything. Since this is done once a week, it'd be up to date. People would then see a budget and look at the suggestions and it'd be easier to fine tune a build from there or at least ask a question with a skeletal frame when changing things around.
So before I end up posting parts I think would best fit my sub 800 dollar rig, and have someone figure out what fits where best I thought I'd share a couple of ideas to hopefully reduce the amount of threads asking for a rig critique/build at a certain price.
1.) At times we don't point to or recommend the Pre-built system posted by Tom's. At the same time, they are not always the best bang for the buck or use the "best" components. They try and see how big of build they can get at a price range, regardless of what many of us would not recommend on any day. Also at times, there are better components out on the market by the time Tom's article is posted, since they are a month or so behind to do the build & testing.
2) There is a sticky at the top to cover most of what you've requested. I update it about every two weeks or so though... Not weekly. Check out and see what you think. Recommend Builds by Usage
I did take a look at these and thought they were outdated. I was wrong there. It would be great to see the updates a day or two after the new combo deals release... I'm not too sure if they release at the beginning of the month, or whenever during the month. That way there are combo deals to take advantage of and the current prices with them listed. I'll make sure to take a look when it's updated with the new combos =D
Keeping track of all Newegg combos that fit for given price points would be pretty time-intensive. If you're volunteering to do it though, go ahead.
In my opinion, the reason a single 5770 gets recommended over 2x 4850s most of the time is that the assumption is that at any monitor resolution below 1920x1080, the 5770 is more than enough for most games, and it allows you to CrossFire in the future while taking advantage of DX11 now (theoretically Eyefinity also, but that's unlikely on a budget build). With the $50 saved, a low-end budget can get a better processor or motherboard or RAM, which could improve the day-to-day (non-gaming) experience of the user. Or a better PSU or whatever.
And finally, the system builder marathons frequently do things like get a great graphics card, a slow hard drive, and RAM with slow timings. The builds certainly can game, but they might be disappointing in other areas. And obviously, they don't apply to render/photoshop/just-want-to-surf-the-net-and-email builds.