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CPU, Motherboard, And Cooler

System Builder Marathon, December 2010: $1000 PC
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CPU: Intel Core i3-550

Our Core i3-550 experiment saves us about $75 on what we would have spent on a Core i5-760. For that lower price, we’re giving up two physical CPU cores in exchange for two logical cores enabled by Hyper-Threading, and getting half the L3 cache--that is, 4 MB instead of 8 MB.

On the other hand, the Core i3-550 has a 3.2 GHz clock rate, while the Core i5-760 only hits that under optimal conditions in Turbo mode, usually running at a 2.8 GHz clock in threaded applications.

Read Customer Reviews of Intel's Core i3-550


Common sense tells us the $75 upgrade to the Core i5-760 is money well spent in the scheme of things, but we keep an open mind until we see the benchmarks and overclocking performance.

Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth 55i

Read Customer Reviews of Asus' Sabertooth 55i


Asus’ Sabertooth 55i is arguably one of the most robust LGA 1156 overclocking boards available, and the $150 sale price is too good for us to pass up. This board is designed to deliver an improved overclocking experience for LGA 1156-based CPUs using ceramic-coated heat sinks on the PCH and MOSFETS, binned capacitors and MOSFETS, and automatic phase switching.

CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus

Read Customer Reviews of Cooler Master's Hyper 212 Plus


Since Cooler Master’s Hyper TX3 costs more at retail, the Hyper 212 takes its place as our recommended cooler. At the same $30 price tag, the Hyper 212 has larger, more capable cooling hardware. And it’s quieter, to boot.

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Top Comments
  • 14 Hide
    Core2uu , December 14, 2010 4:50 AM
    I think we're missing the point of including the Core i3 in this month's build. The purpose was to explore the CPU bottle-necking that can be observed on today's common applications because threading implementation has managed to find itself actually put into effect. Throwing in an i5 760 would have been too predictable and too boring. This puts perspective on the fact that dual-cores matched with high clock speeds are no longer the performance kings as was true more than a year ago.
  • 11 Hide
    cangelini , December 14, 2010 10:09 AM
    I think a lot of folks are failing to understand the concept of the System Builder Marathon. This isn't a buyer's guide to tell you what your next PC should look like.

    Rather, it's a competition between three builders who compete against each other for the best value. To avoid the same things happening each month, they take your feedback into consideration and try new things. Hopefully, we all learn something in the process.

    And at the end of the series, three people walk away with free PCs. Please, read these stories with an open mind, an understanding of the series, and feel free to offer constructive criticism for next quarter.

    Best,
    Chris Angelini
  • 10 Hide
    cangelini , December 14, 2010 11:35 AM
    haplo602Then I pity the unlucky one winning this wonder of a trash can. Seriously if this is a competition, then let's have all 3 builds for a respective price point and get people to vote on the best.


    Pro tip: Not entering is the easiest way to not win :) 
Other Comments
  • 7 Hide
    AMW1011 , December 14, 2010 4:17 AM
    I can't say I'm impressed this time. You should never have went with a clarksdale, they are simply bad. Getting a more reasonably priced motherboard, cutting another $20 from the HDD and PSU, and an i5 750, would have been much better.

    Still, we have more information than before so I can't complain.
  • -3 Hide
    Poisoner , December 14, 2010 4:24 AM
    That PSU only has 2 PCI-E hook ups. So you'll have to use adapters in this build. Pathetic.
  • 0 Hide
    bloodymoth , December 14, 2010 4:29 AM
    yeah I agree with AMW1011, but it is pretty solid. Too bad only US residents can participate :p 
  • 5 Hide
    ivan_chess , December 14, 2010 4:32 AM
    The CPU choice was a little disappointing this time around. A Core i5 or even a comparably priced AMD processor would have done much better (especially in productivity because four cores are typically better than two).
  • 4 Hide
    adbat , December 14, 2010 4:38 AM
    I think it would be good to include previous build in the test system page it would make comparison easier.
  • 1 Hide
    duk3 , December 14, 2010 4:43 AM
    1 tb 7200.12 hard drive?
    GTX 570? (debatable)
    Cheaper motherboard, maybe not supporting SLI if gtx 570 is taken over 460 sli?
    $50 corsair ddr3 1600?
    i5 760 with these savings?
  • 14 Hide
    Core2uu , December 14, 2010 4:50 AM
    I think we're missing the point of including the Core i3 in this month's build. The purpose was to explore the CPU bottle-necking that can be observed on today's common applications because threading implementation has managed to find itself actually put into effect. Throwing in an i5 760 would have been too predictable and too boring. This puts perspective on the fact that dual-cores matched with high clock speeds are no longer the performance kings as was true more than a year ago.
  • -6 Hide
    scrumworks , December 14, 2010 5:16 AM
    Tom's nvidia -line continues. No surprises there.
  • 6 Hide
    amirp , December 14, 2010 5:25 AM
    like they said in the previous article even the 6000 series radeons weren't out when they made these articles,
    reading comprehensions noobs
  • 0 Hide
    amirp , December 14, 2010 5:26 AM
    *comprehension
  • -2 Hide
    sudeshc , December 14, 2010 5:30 AM
    Not impressed, could have been better.
  • 3 Hide
    clownbaby , December 14, 2010 5:47 AM
    add space is getting out of control on this site.
  • 0 Hide
    clownbaby , December 14, 2010 5:52 AM
    worst i3 overclock ever. And a 750gb wd black? Waste! You could get a faster 1tb samsung for less.

    I normally enjoy these builds, but this is among the worst I've seen. For ~$10 you probably could have gotten a ddr3 1600 kit, not to mention money could have been saved on the motherboard. And with a measly 4ghz overclock, you can probably return the aftermarket cooler and get your money back.
  • 0 Hide
    tacoslave , December 14, 2010 5:56 AM
    amirplike they said in the previous article even the 6000 series radeons weren't out when they made these articles,reading comprehensions noobs

    derp
  • 0 Hide
    exr , December 14, 2010 5:58 AM
    nice
  • 7 Hide
    amdfangirl , December 14, 2010 6:01 AM
    Two GTX 460s... with a dual-core... serious?
  • 1 Hide
    bigmantenor , December 14, 2010 6:41 AM
    ...Cable...Management...
  • -3 Hide
    shrapnel_indie , December 14, 2010 6:52 AM
    a dual-core i3 eh? Why not have tried a dual-core i5-655k? I know, more expensive... but I know some people out there may see "i5" and think that they are all the same. (n00bs, who haven't educated themselves yet.)

    The Intel Core i5-655K Clarkdale 3.2GHz LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core Unlocked Desktop Processor ( NewEgg p/n BX80616I5655K ) is the same price as the Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor ( NewEgg p/n BX80605I5750 ) at the time of this post.
  • 5 Hide
    dirtmountain , December 14, 2010 7:19 AM
    I enjoyed this build, i don't see the sense in always using the same CPU, case,GPU combos. By changing to the i5, using the NZXT case, the 460 1GB in SLI you give your readers something different to consider and not the same old, same old. Good work and good builds in both the $2,000 and $1,000 SBMs.
  • -6 Hide
    freshnbaked , December 14, 2010 7:45 AM
    WOW look at what I just put together from my local hub, Microcenter, I have a I7-950, 460sli, with blueray player, but the 70 buck from the blueray player could of took me to 8gb of 1600mhz ram.

    Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 7,200 RPM SATA ---49.99
    Micro Center 4GB DDR3-1333 (PC3-10666) CL9 Desktop ---49.99
    Samsung SH-B123L 12X BD Combo Drive ---49.99
    x2-Palit NE5TX460FHD79 GeForce GTX 460 ---329.98
    Intel Core i7-950 3.06GHz Boxed Processor ---199.99
    Diablotek PHD Series 650 Watt ATX12V Power Supply ---39.99
    PowerSpec Powerspec TX366 ATX Case ---17.98
    Gigabyte GA-X58-USB3 LGA 1366 X58 ATX Intel MotherBoard ---184.99

    for a grand total of ---999.48


    It would blow that PoS they built away, let me at them!

    Ps. if I were to spend it, I would say F the blue ray player and the I7-950 and get the I7-870 for 229.99 and the 97.99 X-fire mobo and go for 2 5850's with 8gbs of 1600 mhz ram. But what do I know ")
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