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System Builder Marathon, December 2010: $1000 PC

System Builder Marathon, December 2010: $1000 PC
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Although we were afraid of the results, this time around we decided to try something new, forgoing the Core i5 in favor of a dual-core Core i3 CPU in our build. Can the higher clock rate compensate for the loss of two physical cores in our $1000 system?

System Builder Marathon, December 2010: The Articles

Here are links to each of the four articles in this month’s System Builder Marathon (we’ll update them as each story is published). And remember, these systems are all being given away at the end of the marathon.

To enter the giveaway, please check out this Google form, and be sure to read the complete rules before entering!

Day 1: The $2,000 Performance PC
Day 2: The $1,000 Enthusiast PC
Day 3: The $500 Gaming PC
Day 4: Performance And Value, Dissected

Introduction

Our mid-range enthusiast systems have been a little predictable over the past year. The Core i5-750 and Core i7-920 proved themselves to be ideal starting points in the $1000-$1500 price range. And while we’ve been able to demonstrate some specific areas of success with Phenom II X3 and X4 alternatives, the quad-core Intel lineup continues to shine as the sweet-spot.

But what about Intel’s Core i3 lineup? Can a dual-core Hyper-Threaded processor deliver Core i5- 750-class performance with higher clock speeds? Is there superior overclocking potential to be exploited? Is the Core i3 a viable alternative for someone who wants to save a few dollars on the CPU now and upgrade to a Core i5 or i7 later? Can the money saved be better spent on other components?

Those are questions we try to answer in this month’s $1000 enthusiast system, and here are the components we are using to do that:

$1,000 Enthusiast System Components
MotherboardAsus Sabertooth 55i
LGA 1156, Intel P55 chipset
$150
ProcessorIntel Core i3-550
3.2 GHz, Dual-Core, 4 MB L3 Cache
$130
CPU Cooler
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
$30
MemoryGeIL Black Dragon 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3-1333
Dual-Channel Desktop Memory Kit
$80
Graphics2 x ECS NBGTX460
GeForce GTX 460 SLI configuration, 1 GB GDDR5 per card
$380
Hard DrivesWD Caviar Black 750 GB
750 GB, 7200 RPM, 32 MB Cache SATA 3Gb/s
$70
OpticalLG 22x DVD – GH22LS50 OEM
22x DVD+R, 8x DVD+RW, 48x CD ROM
$18
CaseNZXT Gamma
$40
Fans
2 x APEVIA CF12S-BK 120 mm$8
PowerCorsair CMPSU-650TX 650 W
ATX12V, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Certified
$90
 Total Cost$991
Display 117 Comments.
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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