Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Closed

System Builder Marathon, Dec. 2011: $2400 Performance PC

Last response: in Reviews comments
Share
December 19, 2011 3:50:07 AM

when i first saw "System Builder Marathon, Dec. 2011: $2400 Performance PC" first thing i thought was a x79 build, $2400 just for performance PC using a 2600k CPU i kinda cringe , i cant imagine how much more expensive it would be if u did it with a 3930k, yes i know it not a big different in performance between the two but was just wonder :) 
Score
-2
December 19, 2011 4:03:55 AM

Retire Crysis? Blasphemy!
Score
13
Related resources
December 19, 2011 4:38:02 AM

When I saw how much power this thing sucks down, I was glad to see that it pretty well shows the law of diminishing returns. This does nothing to change my opinion that only where time is money, i.e. for professional use, is this kind of cost justified. Spending this amount of money just to play games is a waste of resources all around, from the money to buy the parts, to the expense of running it. For future high-end builds, please specify the professional and/or his/her software that this machine is being designed to run. Justify the GPU choice by throwing in a GPGPU application that can take advantage whatever was selected. BTW, it does LOOK great; nice case choice.

Also, as much as I understand the frustration with sacrifices, IMHO that's where the best lessons are.
Fun to read, yes, but just not practical. Hmmm, I guess that means the downvoting is about to begin...
Score
27
December 19, 2011 4:51:13 AM

Quote:
The contest opens on December 19, 2011 9:00 PM PDT and closes on January 4, 2012 9:00 PM PDT.


So, I wait until tomorrow to enter?
Score
1
December 19, 2011 5:40:27 AM

NovuluxSo, I wait until tomorrow to enter?


No, you're good today. It should start with today's story. I'll see if I can get that changed.
Score
2
December 19, 2011 6:15:59 AM

$2400 and no i7 3930K?
Score
-4
December 19, 2011 6:26:59 AM

one-shot$2400 and no i7 3930K?
What, and ditch one of the graphics cards for a reduced average-performance score? 3930K didn't show up until after the system was ordered, but I stand with the first argument, there's just not enough performance to be gained using these specific apps.
jtt283For future high-end builds, please specify the professional and/or his/her software that this machine is being designed to run. Justify the GPU choice by throwing in a GPGPU application that can take advantage whatever was selected.
We try to add professional apps that at least a few thousand of our readers have access to, but I'll ping Chris for more. Basically we try to spend our money boosting our own apps and adding a few more is probably justified. Suggestions?
jtt283BTW, it does LOOK great; nice case choice.
I was a little disappointed in my examination of the Arc Midi, that it's nowhere near as solid as the Arc Mini. I think it's because it's larger (so the bracing bends are further appart). As nice as the Arc Midi looks, the Antec Three Hundred is far sturdier at a similar size.
jtt283Also, as much as I understand the frustration with sacrifices, IMHO that's where the best lessons are.Fun to read, yes, but just not practical. Hmmm, I guess that means the downvoting is about to begin...
I almost voted you down for saying that... :p 
Score
6
Anonymous
December 19, 2011 6:37:45 AM

love the fractal case!!
Score
0
December 19, 2011 7:10:18 AM

I can't find the storage benchmarks. Am I just overlooking them? I am thinking about getting the Crucial M4 for Christmas. It seems like a good overall value.
Score
0
December 19, 2011 7:18:13 AM

MattMockI can't find the storage benchmarks. Am I just overlooking them? I am thinking about getting the Crucial M4 for Christmas. It seems like a good overall value.
They're on the PCMark benchmark page. Tom's Hardware uses those four application-based results to calculate the storage score.
Score
1
December 19, 2011 7:28:01 AM

add battlefield 3 into the benchmarks please! i wanna see how the computer performs!
Score
1
December 19, 2011 7:38:59 AM

stuffexadd battlefield 3 into the benchmarks please! i wanna see how the computer performs!
Great! Now, any suggestion for benchmarks that might be somewhat common among readers that could highlight the value of a six-core CPU?
Score
0
December 19, 2011 8:19:00 AM

"I was a little disappointed in my examination of the Arc Midi, that it's nowhere near as solid as the Arc Mini. I think it's because it's larger (so the bracing bends are further appart). As nice as the Arc Midi looks, the Antec Three Hundred is far sturdier at a similar size."

Its also half the price.

Toms needs more current benchmarks, some of these games were talking are ages old. And need i say we need a RTS game in this mixture. I am a bit disappointed that the 3930k wasn't in this build along with a nice X79 board. Not that a 2600k processor isn't fast enough but you never know. I would rather pick up my six core but thats just me, and most likely it could be a waste. But like i said you never know, i remember SupCom came out and that required some CPU multi core power. Not sure how many cores were needed but a Quad was definitely better then a Dual core.
Score
1
December 19, 2011 8:23:35 AM

replace crysis with battlefield 3!
Score
5
December 19, 2011 9:25:56 AM

The love affair with nVidia continues. 3x 6950 can be had for substantial savings even while factoring a nf200 motherboard while providing increased performance and eliminating microstuttering. The inclusion of watercooled gpu/cpu setup while novel, is little more. The loss of a cpu HSF and no addition of spotcooler means your VRMs and memory are relying on just a single exhaust fan being pushed through a radiator for circulation. I know this was a 'no-sacrifice' build, in the end it just felt like an ill-planned money sink.
Score
0
December 19, 2011 11:11:43 AM

I would also like to see a comparison using three 6950s. Also, microstutter is gone with a triple card configuration.

Considering the price of the 2 gtx580s, 3 hd6950s might offer better value - as long as the game allows multi-gpus.
Score
4
December 19, 2011 11:35:32 AM

ZehI would also like to see a comparison using three 6950s. Also, microstutter is gone with a triple card configuration.Considering the price of the 2 gtx580s, 3 hd6950s might offer better value - as long as the game allows multi-gpus.


You can compare the two by using another article by Thomas Soderstrom that also utilizes the i7-2600k but is looking at SLI/Crossfire scaling.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/crossfire-sli-3-way...

In the 3 games that the two systems both had shared benchmarks, the 3x 6950 was the clear winner.
Score
1
December 19, 2011 12:03:24 PM

I guess it would have been nice to see what this 'gaming system' can do on a few more games we are actually playing not just games we use to bench.
Score
0
December 19, 2011 12:40:30 PM

nice build, but it looks like somewhere in the $2000-2400 range there is a definite loss in !/$, though it does still help with the ultra high end graphics on games like metro.

Toms, can we get some reviews on how the computers from each bracket compare year over year as a general summary to end the year out? I would love to see what $2000 gets you in 2010 vs 2011, and even 2009. My bet is that there would be some decent changes over the last 2 years as everything has droped in price with the exception of those peskey hard drives.
Score
2
December 19, 2011 1:12:58 PM

ZehI would also like to see a comparison using three 6950s. Also, microstutter is gone with a triple card configuration.Considering the price of the 2 gtx580s, 3 hd6950s might offer better value - as long as the game allows multi-gpus.
After the failure of the Gigabyte board from the last SBM, this builder wanted to try the competitor from MSI. Upgrading to 3-way support would have required a far-more-expensive NF200-equipped motherboard to get the PCIe lane multiplication...and the Core i7-3930K wasn't available when the machine was ordered. So, maybe a 3930K next time using less-expensive 3-way CrossFire to recoup some of the extra money? That depends of course on availability and cost of competing solutions.
a4mulaThe love affair with nVidia continues.
I'd address the rest of your post but you've already proven yourself incapable of making an accurate statement. Tom's Hardware uses AMD graphics far more often in its SBM machines. Now go on to Tomorrows build and let's see if you claim a love affair with AMD...
Score
7
December 19, 2011 1:17:36 PM

Given the price of HD's I would suggest 2 X SSD's. 256G would be plenty of room and a much better price for performance.
Score
-1
December 19, 2011 2:14:38 PM

Crashman...We try to add professional apps that at least a few thousand of our readers have access to, but I'll ping Chris for more. Basically we try to spend our money boosting our own apps and adding a few more is probably justified. Suggestions?...

Aligning with the theme that this isn't a gaming PC, but is a professional's machine, who also wants to play games, I'd look at either video rendering or CAD/CAM. For the sake of those applications, that the pro would NEED, this may mean a workstation-class GPU, which will eat budget fast. Tossing in a HD6870 as an afterthought to play games TOO might be the sort of thing the graphics pro might want to try (assuming the drivers play nice together). Such a machine would no doubt be blown out in the gaming benchmarks, while remaining the most viable professional's choice.
Score
-1
December 19, 2011 2:42:27 PM

jtt283When I saw how much power this thing sucks down, I was glad to see that it pretty well shows the law of diminishing returns. This does nothing to change my opinion that only where time is money, i.e. for professional use, is this kind of cost justified. Spending this amount of money just to play games is a waste of resources all around, from the money to buy the parts, to the expense of running it. For future high-end builds, please specify the professional and/or his/her software that this machine is being designed to run. Justify the GPU choice by throwing in a GPGPU application that can take advantage whatever was selected. BTW, it does LOOK great; nice case choice.Also, as much as I understand the frustration with sacrifices, IMHO that's where the best lessons are.Fun to read, yes, but just not practical. Hmmm, I guess that means the downvoting is about to begin...


I suppose you live in minimal housing without useless air conditioning and don't own a car, drink sodas, go to movies, watch television, waste your time reading Tomshardware articles when you could be working to save the starving children in Africa and trying to solve the Middle East conflict?

Puh-lease. I bet if I knew you, I could find a dozen ways you are "wasting resources" in your life, and you are too busy judging other people to know it. Here's a clue: life isn't just about doing what is practical, sometimes it's just about having fun, and, good news, you get to have fun your way, and I get to have fun mine.
Score
-2
December 19, 2011 3:16:58 PM

I'm very impressed by the number of comments pointing out the diminishing returns found when building a "no compromise" system versus a more mainstream choice. If we give up SLI and overclocking, we can save $50 on the CPU, $75 on the motherboard, huge money on the graphics, and big money on the power supply. And we still end up with a machine that can play any modern game at 1080p with admirable fidelity. The monitor industry doesn't seem to be ready to provide us with high quality IPS 3d displays, and even with the way NV and ATI drag their feet anymore, technology moves fast and buying more beef than you can currently use almost never pays off. I just can't see any compelling reason to run a kilowatt beast right now.

BTW, good call on the Antec 300. No USB 3.0 up front sucks, but it's such an amazing case for $50 that I never see justification for spending more.
Score
0
December 19, 2011 3:31:53 PM

CrashmanI'd address the rest of your post but you've already proven yourself incapable of making an accurate statement. Tom's Hardware uses AMD graphics far more often in its SBM machines. Now go on to Tomorrows build and let's see if you claim a love affair with AMD...

Why do you always take things so personally? Every article you write you defend as if only your viewpoint counts. You write great articles, that doesn't mean people are always going to agree with your choices many of which are subjective to begin with. I get it, the theme of the build was overclocking and you wanted cards that fitted within that framework. At the end of the day you accomplished what you set out to do and you built a pc that not many people would mind owning.
Score
0
December 19, 2011 3:59:31 PM

a4mulaWhy do you always take things so personally?
Because you accused a site that (by counting builds) appears to have an "obvious AMD bias" of having an obvious Nvidia bias?
Score
2
December 19, 2011 4:09:15 PM

CrashmanThey're on the PCMark benchmark page. Tom's Hardware uses those four application-based results to calculate the storage score.


Now I see them. Thanks.
Score
2
December 19, 2011 4:15:59 PM

Great rig. I like the calls for RTS games, but finding a popular one, one that supports sli/crossfire, etc, I wouldnt want to bother. They do apparently chew up cpu's, so from that aspect, it might be worth the effort, but definitely not essential.

For recommendations on a gpgpu something or other, i have no clue. I've been hoping to see one or more get used so I'd at least hear about them hah.

To AMD tri-crossfire, I just dont like the gamble of many games releasing, then waiting for driver fixes. I feel confident nvidia has something usable right out the gate every time.

Have an unpacked arc midi sitting in the corner... cant wait to use but cant decide what to buy/what to wait for, to put in it. Honestly, it'll probably sit there another 2-3 months.
Score
-1
December 19, 2011 4:18:58 PM

If you're taking for suggestions for professional software, the most demanding I can think of that a huge range of engineers and scientists use is Matlab. A program running a combination of difficult calculations (FFTs, best-fits, etc.) should give a sample cross section of what many professionals use it for.

I might also suggest Solidworks or AutoCAD, but I've rarely seen that slow up significantly on any modern processors, so I doubt it is demanding enough on a regular basis. I've had Matlab codes take hours though!

Just my $0.02.
Score
1
December 19, 2011 4:26:58 PM

Do you get an email confirmation when signing up? Thanks to the wonderful proxy at my job site, the website timed out when I hit submit. Don't want to submit more than one (since both submissions would be deleted and defeat the purpose) but I don't not want to sign up if the proxy ended up not sending my submission.
Score
-1
December 19, 2011 4:31:58 PM

CrashmanBecause you accused a site that (by counting builds) appears to have an "obvious AMD bias" of having an obvious Nvidia bias?

What did you say earlier? Inability to make accurate statements. I'm sure you miss the double standard here because self-reflection obviously isn't a strong suit. Never once did I accuse this site of being bias in any regard. My statement of "The love affair with nNvidia continues" wasn't aimed at this site, or even you personally, just this particular article. If you'd like to argue that your choice was the best choice based on value or performance fine, but otherwise you're just doing a poor job at defending the same arrogance that you show every single time anyone disagrees with you.
Score
0
Anonymous
December 19, 2011 5:06:45 PM

Interesting VCGGTX580XPB-LC-CPU cpu/gpu cooler... went to take a look and it's already a deactivated product at egg.
Score
1
December 19, 2011 5:21:03 PM

a4mulaIf you'd like to argue that your choice was the best choice based on value or performance fine, but otherwise you're just doing a poor job at defending the same arrogance that you show every single time anyone disagrees with you.
The problem is that you appear to define "being right" as arrogance. I've already stated for example that 3930k and 3-way 6950 might be a better choice, I just sent that response to people who didn't start off with a statement of bias :) 
Score
1
December 19, 2011 6:01:17 PM

Hey can you folks @ Toms take this and say a xfire 6970 rig and give a honest to goodness 2 D Surround vs Eyefinity comparison ? I have not been able to find any articles with good comparisons- let alone a idea of average frame rates and such. And since you already have one sli rig laying around right now.....
Score
0
December 19, 2011 6:02:29 PM

Would like to see this high end gaming machine play Metro 2033 WITH Physx ON.
Score
1
December 19, 2011 6:50:10 PM

BLACKSCIHey can you folks @ Toms take this and say a xfire 6970 rig and give a honest to goodness 2 D Surround vs Eyefinity comparison ? I have not been able to find any articles with good comparisons- let alone a idea of average frame rates and such. And since you already have one sli rig laying around right now.....
Few editors have a matched monitor set. It's something staff at this level has been unable to solve for around 2 years. An email campaign might get the ball rolling...(looks over shoulder for Chris...)
Score
0
Anonymous
December 19, 2011 7:28:39 PM

awesome build
Score
-1
December 19, 2011 7:37:55 PM

good article.. I have a very similar setup except my 580s are air cooled and I have a 850w psu. I have to question the relevance of liquid cooled cards even at a 2560 x 1600 resolution. I have a HPZR30W monitor at that resolution and am not aware of any 2560 x 1600 30 inch monitors (or bigger) that have a greater than 60hz refresh rate. Are you getting any extra benefit from 86fps to 100fps on these monitors? I get screen tearing above 60. I have no problem maxing out bf3, witcher 2 and arkham city at ultra at this resolution (60fps)
Score
1
December 19, 2011 7:44:02 PM

"Anyone who questions the money spent on added storage is probably missing the point that this is not a pure gaming system, but instead a general performance machine that plays games well."

I'm not sure how a machine could have 2x 580's and not be classified a "pure gaming system."
Score
2
December 19, 2011 8:31:55 PM

CrashmanWe try to add professional apps that at least a few thousand of our readers have access to, but I'll ping Chris for more. Basically we try to spend our money boosting our own apps and adding a few more is probably justified. Suggestions?


Tossing in a Blender or Maya benchmark would have been nice. Blender, at least, is free. Although, if a "professional" was going to use a rig for 3DSMax or the like, they would likely have opted for FireGL/Quadro cards rather than gaming-class hardware. It is hard to build a rig and pin it as a "professional-use" machine as each profession would alter it to be better geared for purpose: calc grunts would push a dual-CPU Xeon-based system with crud graphics (unless leveraging Cuda), whereas Maya render addicts would likely have stuck on the old X-series mobos with quad Quadro cards if they could. Horses for courses. Just label the machine has "enthusist-class" and move on with life.
Score
2
December 19, 2011 8:37:33 PM

branflaks8 said:
"Anyone who questions the money spent on added storage is probably missing the point that this is not a pure gaming system, but instead a general performance machine that plays games well."

I'm not sure how a machine could have 2x 580's and not be classified a "pure gaming system."
For all reasonable points and purposes, I kinda agree. A professional already building a stacked system primarily for productivity purposes might fork over a couple hundred for better gaming GPUs, I don't see them going $800 over for this kind of SLI.

Impressive build, as always, but I have to echo some of the thoughts here about diminishing returns. Even though the power bill won't jump much ( my guess is this would maybe suck down $30 / year more in electricity than my current system, ) the huge cost on parts still makes this machine unattainable for 90% of the readers. ( Yes, I know, that's kinda the point, but still . . . )

I'm happy to see the price brackets rise a bit. An extra $100 for the budget model still makes it very affordable, but allows it to pack a lot more horsepower, and ditto for extra $200 mid range. I'd be interested to see a slight recategorization for the SBM: $600 for budget, $1000 for mid-range, $1500 for high-end, and $2500 for extreme. I think realistically $1500 is the limit most people can spend on a machine. It won't get you everything, but it allows you a lot of flexibility on cases, mboards, CPUs, and GPUs and gives a whole lot of bang for the buck.

As for benchmarks, I see you already have a 3DS test, what about adding some more Autodesk software, like Maya or Softimage? Or would that take it too far into a dedicated workstation role? What about making a separate, beefier 3DS benchmark?

Score
1
December 19, 2011 8:47:58 PM

RedJaron said:
Impressive build, as always, but I have to echo some of the thoughts here about diminishing returns. Even though the power bill won't jump much ( my guess is this would maybe suck down $30 / year more in electricity than my current system, ) the huge cost on parts still makes this machine unattainable for 90% of the readers. ( Yes, I know, that's kinda the point, but still . . . )

How about we make a call out for a new category: low-power performer. This would be a "green PC" of sorts. 80+ Silver/Gold PSUs of course, but aiming to reduce total wattage, while trying to push high(er) performance than the usual "HTPC" builds. The point would to win out on the efficiency scale. Just how much performance is lost by going for pairing the best performance/watt GPUs of the upper-class rather than the always-top-end cards? Perhaps there are people perfectly happy with 60fps at 1920x1080 ultra rather than 120fps that would rather have a 400watt machine than a 900watt machine. It's sort of at odds vs the goal of the "best in class" for performance, would be a challenge none-the-less.
Score
2
December 19, 2011 9:01:46 PM

Oh, I wasn't complaining about the power usage in this build. I was trying to point out that some people exaggerate the added electrical bill expense when running a high performance machine. Going for a "green performance" build will likely drop you in the $1000 - $1500 range, where power consumption difference will be minimal. The price difference in the parts between two machines would likely be more than the power consumption difference over the lives of the systems.
Score
0
December 19, 2011 9:13:59 PM

*looks at OC'd CPU idling at 15.1 C*

I still don't know how you guys accomplish this. Do you do your testing in a freezer?

Great article BTW...man those HDD price increases really hit the pocketbook. I bought new hardware about 2 weeks before all that craziness and saved a lot of money by the look of it.
Score
0
December 19, 2011 9:14:58 PM

nevermind..just remembered it's peak temperature minus room temperature.
Score
0
Anonymous
December 19, 2011 9:22:00 PM

What is with you Intel fan boys? Don't you know that AMD has the bigger stick on the block with the FX-8150 is a faster chip with just as many cores and cost still almost $100 less than any i7 proc. I would use the extra $100 to rewrite this story!!!! Not a bad choice for the MoBo though, always liked MSI hardware. Surprised you all didn't go MSI on the graphics chip set too. I could build a better system hands don with the same budget and come out saving money every where, and still school you on Crysis!!!!
Score
-5
December 19, 2011 9:23:19 PM

Wow i can't believe how good Crysis's graphic compare to today's. Wow, it's still use for today's benchmark damn, i remember a few years ago, when GTX 200 and HD4000s are new, it struggles even with crazy crossfire or sli, i still get like 35fps on that game o_O
Score
0
December 19, 2011 9:49:09 PM

Tom's is having so many Computer giveaways I couldn't remember if I already entered this one. Hopefully I didnt enter twice; but either way its awesome!
Score
0
December 19, 2011 10:20:26 PM

Look like the increased budget didn't show $400 of performance improvement. So may as well keep it at $2000 budget for now.
Score
1
!