Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Video Cards, Power Supply, And Case

System Builder Marathon, June 2011: $1000 Enthusiast PC
By

Video Cards: 2 x Gigabyte Radeon HD 6850 1 GB in CrossFire

While we’re extremely happy with the performance we squeezed out of our unlocked Radeon HD 6950 the last time around, we’re curious to see how a pair of Radeon HD 6850s in CrossFire compares today.

The Radeon HD 6850 is already fully-enabled; it doesn't have any unused on-die resources that can be unlocked using a firmware update. Fortunately, performance in CrossFire mode is potent.

The only variable holding this duo back is 1 GB of GDDR5 per card. The Radeon HD 6950 in our last SBM had twice as much on-board memory with which to work. And as we've seen from benchmarks past, that'll affect high-resolution gaming alacrity, especially with anti-aliasing enabled.

Read Customer Reviews of Gigabyte's GV-R685OC-1GD


We chose two Gigabyte GV-R685OC-1GD cards due to their low price and powerful dual-fan aftermarket Windforce cooler. At $340 for the pair, they’re about $65 more than a single Radeon HD 6950 2 GB.

Power Supply: Corsair CMPSU-650TX

Read Customer Reviews of Corsair's CMPSU-650TX


With a 52 amp 12 V rail and an excellent reputation, the Corsair 650TX continues to dominate the sub-$100 power supply market. At $89, we simply can’t find a significantly better option to choose.

PC Case: Xclio Nighthawk

Read Customer Reviews of Xclio's Nighthawk


As usual, we're trying out a new case in this quarter's System Builder Marathon. This time around we've chosen Xclio's Nighthawk.

The low $55 sticker price includes three 120 mm fans, an LED control panel, and cooler control, all in a simple, elegant design configured to allow exhaust to exit the case from the top, just like other, more expensive models.

Display all 69 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 15 Hide
    whysobluepandabear , June 22, 2011 4:24 AM
    seller417650W is enough power for this rig?

    Well, looking into my tarot cards and crystal ball, I see It peaks at 400W at full load. So yeah, I think 650W may be a bit of an overkill.
Other Comments
  • -7 Hide
    kelby0320 , June 22, 2011 4:10 AM
    Radeon HD 9950 I want one
  • 1 Hide
    quixilver1 , June 22, 2011 4:23 AM
    Why change the cooler from the $200 pc. It is only $5 more and still within the budget.
  • 15 Hide
    whysobluepandabear , June 22, 2011 4:24 AM
    seller417650W is enough power for this rig?

    Well, looking into my tarot cards and crystal ball, I see It peaks at 400W at full load. So yeah, I think 650W may be a bit of an overkill.
  • 7 Hide
    quixilver1 , June 22, 2011 4:28 AM
    quixilver1Why change the cooler from the $200 pc. It is only $5 more and still within the budget.

    Should read $2000 pc.
  • 2 Hide
    Tamz_msc , June 22, 2011 4:37 AM
    Overall, its a good build.
  • 3 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , June 22, 2011 5:00 AM
    whysobluepandabearWell, looking into my tarot cards and crystal ball, I see It peaks at 400W at full load. So yeah, I think 650W may be a bit of an overkill.

    Why would it be overkill? Its the kind of headroom you should have so your not straining the psu. Sure you could get away with less, but for a few dollars more than a 500w unit you can get a 650w. Its perfectly balanced and leaves room for upgrade. Its good to see what 2 6850's can do but i think if I were building this PC i would chose a faster single card and upgrade to dual cards later.
  • 3 Hide
    akorzan , June 22, 2011 5:07 AM
    seller417650W is enough power for this rig?

    Yes. There is a misconception that rigs need over-sized power supplies. I have a Core i7 875k and a Radeon HD5850 running on a 400 Watt power-supply. Is it pushing it? Yes, if I clock it to 4.2 GHz and run Furmark and Prime95 none stop...
    No if I run Furmark and Prime95 at 3.33 GHz, and definitely no for any realistic workloads.
    Why did I get a 400 watt power-supply? Because it is darn silent and was recommended on Silent PC Review for "budget" power-supplies. (Bare in mind that "normal" are gold SeaSonics)
  • 4 Hide
    whysobluepandabear , June 22, 2011 5:26 AM
    iam2thecroweWhy would it be overkill? Its the kind of headroom you should have so your not straining the psu. Sure you could get away with less, but for a few dollars more than a 500w unit you can get a 650w. Its perfectly balanced and leaves room for upgrade. Its good to see what 2 6850's can do but i think if I were building this PC i would chose a faster single card and upgrade to dual cards later.


    Because he was asking if 650W was enough, when all he had to do was look at the chart and clearly see the 399W max system (CPU+GPU) load.


    So essentially, for that system, the 650W is more than enough, and ...effectively an "Overkill".
  • 3 Hide
    Kamab , June 22, 2011 5:45 AM
    Most power supplies run most efficiently around 50-60% max load. That and they tend to not heat up as much at that load, so what you think is "Overkill" might be more reliable, efficient, and less likely to have failing components due to less heat.
  • 6 Hide
    alikum , June 22, 2011 5:46 AM
    Here's another question. Does it have sufficient power connectors for both cards?
  • 1 Hide
    buzznut , June 22, 2011 6:04 AM
    alikumHere's another question. Does it have sufficient power connectors for both cards?

    +1
  • 2 Hide
    quixilver1 , June 22, 2011 6:16 AM
    alikumHere's another question. Does it have sufficient power connectors for both cards?

    Yes
    2x 6+2 pci-e connectors
    Card uses 1x 6pin connector each
  • 3 Hide
    KenZen2B , June 22, 2011 6:24 AM
    If you are going to overclock and spend that amount of money for the CPU, it does not make any sense to go cheap on the cooler. Next time show the difference between this cooler and the high end cooler when overclocking. It may only make sense to go cheap when not overclocking.
  • 0 Hide
    alikum , June 22, 2011 6:30 AM
    quixilver1Yes2x 6+2 pci-e connectorsCard uses 1x 6pin connector each

    I was under the impression that each requires at least 2 connectors because my toxic version requires 1x 6+2 and 1x 6
  • 2 Hide
    nitrium , June 22, 2011 7:06 AM
    Most (or even all) of the charts show "March 2010 $1000 system". I was actually confused, since I always skip the preamble, and go straight to the hard numbers.
  • 3 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , June 22, 2011 7:07 AM
    alikumI was under the impression that each requires at least 2 connectors because my toxic version requires 1x 6+2 and 1x 6

    my powercolour 6850 has 1 connector and so do most of them.
    "I have a Core i7 875k and a Radeon HD5850 running on a 400 Watt power-supply" - wouldnt try that on a diablotek 400w.
  • 2 Hide
    Stardude82 , June 22, 2011 7:18 AM
    quixilver1Why change the cooler from the $200 pc. It is only $5 more and still within the budget.


    My guess is that the $2k cooler couldn't fit in the $1K cooler case. The Nighthawk is an inch narrower and the Loki is an inch shorter. There are still a few good cases which should work with the 120 mm fan.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , June 22, 2011 7:29 AM
    This build completely killed my video card plans. 2 x Radeon 6850 are $10 cheaper than THE CHEAPEST GTX 570. But what's the better choice!?! Damn you graphics card producers for making this so hard :) 
Display more comments