System Builder Marathon, March 2010: $1,500 Enthusiast PC

Memory, Hard Drive, And Optical Drive

Memory: Crucial 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3-1333 Triple-Channel Kit

The price of memory continues to rise, but Crucial's 6GB triple-channel memory kit continues to provide sweet low-latency overclockable memory at a relatively low price.

Read Customer Reviews of Crucial's 6GB DDR3-1333 Memory Kit


We might have gotten away with 3GB of RAM, but for $165, it doesn't hurt to have twice that capacity under the hood.

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 750GB

Read Customer Reviews of Western Digital's Caviar Black 750GB


A single drive is more cost-effective than a RAID setup, and a striped RAID array won’t offer a perceptible performance increases for the typical user. Of course, a redundant array is appealing for data protection, but frankly, we're not sure the extra expenditure would provide tangible performance benefits in the kind of desktop applications we'll be running.

We continue to opt for Western Digital's Caviar Black series as a fast and reliable single-drive solution. But this time we've upped the ante to the 750GB flavor instead of the 640GB model we've selected in the past. Hard disk prices continue to drop, and now $80 buys you this drive with three-quarters of a terabyte on tap.

Optical Drive: OEM Samsung SH-S223C CD/DVD Burner SATA

Read Customer Reviews of Samsung's SH-S223C


For $20, how can you lose when purchasing a name-brand optical drive? The OEM Samsung model SH-S223C delivers 22x DVD+R write speeds and a 2MB cache, but most importantly it does everything we expect it to do.

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    Top Comments
  • Anonymous
    The labels on all the charts appear to be wrong. They're mentioning a "Current $1300 System" but I thought the current system was $1500?
    10
  • Other Comments
  • shubham1401
    Now this is an excellent PC for overall usage...
    6
  • sabot00
    Love to have this PC. Great components, really wish Fermi at least drops prices.
    2
  • skora
    I find it funny Cleeve that you mention the effects of ATIs monopoly on the high end GPU market but nothing on the CPU front. How much better off would we all be if AMD had a competing product for the Core i5/7s.

    Out of curiosity, how big is the storage capacity needed for your benchmark suit? I know you were over budget, but how close could you have come to one of the lower capacity SSDs and their performance advantages?
    0
  • Anonymous
    The labels on all the charts appear to be wrong. They're mentioning a "Current $1300 System" but I thought the current system was $1500?
    10
  • anamaniac
    To be honest, this just somehow seems disappointing to me.
    But then I think of how much I spent on my rig, and got less, I'm even more disappointed.

    It's crazy that prices keep raising on everything though. 6 months ago I was $9/GB for DDR2, in Canadian dollars. $12.50/GB for DDR3. It's absolutely ridiculous.
    2
  • Otus
    It looks like i5->i7 is not worth it for gamers. The increases when FPS
    0
  • Crashman
    OtusIt looks like i5->i7 is not worth it for gamers. The increases when FPS


    I've got news for you: i3->i7 is not worth it for gamers. Tom's Hardware has an interesting article in the works.
    2
  • p1n3apqlexpr3ss
    @Crashman
    Sounds good, this something to do with the i3 HTed vs traditional quad thing?
    0
  • Crashman
    p1n3apqlexpr3ss@CrashmanSounds good, this something to do with the i3 HTed vs traditional quad thing?


    I think it's a Windows 7 thread shifting and dual-threaded games thing, since both the i3 and i7 have HT.
    0
  • Stardude82
    SethVNThe labels on all the charts appear to be wrong. They're mentioning a "Current $1300 System" but I thought the current system was $1500?


    The whole comparison is BS. $200 is a lot of money where I come from and the stock cooling on the i5 750 is garbage. The low-end Conroes had much better cooling and they were only 65W TDP. I say stick your no-name heatsink on last quarters machine, call it a $1400 box, redo the overclocking and then publish the results as that way they will be at least somewhat relevant.
    0
  • baracubra
    Great build!

    One thing I would change is the case...this doesn't look mean/rough enough for such a gaming rig, and there's no option of adding lights to interior to beef it up cuz the side cover isn't transparent :(
    -8
  • Onus
    You broke the budget. Sorry, but FAIL.
    -6
  • eddieroolz
    Seems like a fairly decent article to me. The increase in gaming performance is just staggering o.O

    On a side note, whoever that gets this rig is very lucky, the i7 in this one is probably one of the more overclockables ones, it seems. Too bad I'm just north of the 49th :(
    0
  • Crashman
    Stardude82I say stick your no-name heatsink on last quarters machine, call it a $1400 box, redo the overclocking and then publish the results as that way they will be at least somewhat relevant.
    It's not just "any" no-name sink, it's one that provided surprisingly good performance in its review:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/corsair-h50-fort120,2370-5.html
    0
  • RySean
    The RAM for the current build was incorrectly listed as:

    2 x A-Data 2GB DDR3-1333 Kit
    2 x 2GB (4GB Total), 533 MHz (1,066 MHz DDR), CAS 7-7-7-59

    Feel free to delete this comment once it's fixed.
    0
  • the_krasno
    I commend you for the case choice. I have that case myself, installed 2 more fans and never regretted it!
    4
  • Stardude82
    CrashmanIt's not just "any" no-name sink, it's one that provided surprisingly good performance in its review:http://www.tomshardware.com/review [...] 370-5.html


    Nearly any no-name heatsink would be better than the current stock cooling. I wasn't dissing the sink, the defensiveness makes me think there was some shilling for New Egg going on since Rosewill is just the name New Egg slaps on to "unbranded" imports.
    0
  • Sihastru
    AsRock motherboard, had one once, NEVER again! The problems are not worth the amount of money you might save...
    -3
  • peckiro
    Good matchup. For the money though I think I'd still go with the I-750.
    0
  • cib24
    Swap the cooler with a Hyper 212 Plus and the PSU with a Seasonic 750w 80-plus certified Gold and I'd buy it.
    -4