System Builder Marathon, August 2012: $1000 Enthusiast PC

Memory, Hard Drives, And Optical Drive

Memory: Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600 Memory Kit

Our readers want to see 8 GB of overclockable memory in our mid-range enthusiast build. So, we're obliging, even if it pushes us a little over our budget. Priced at $55, this kit boasts fairly tight 8-8-8-24 timings, and we look forward to seeing how scalable it might be in our ASRock motherboard.

Read Customer Reviews of Mushkin's Enhanced Blackline 8 GB DDR3-1600 Kit


SSD: OCZ Agility 3 AGT-25SAT3-60G 60 GB

Read Customer Reviews of OCZ's Agility 3 60 GB SSD


A solid-state drive is one of the most significant upgrades you can drop into your PC. And, for a mere $60, OCZ’s Agility 3 gives us enough space for our operating system and a few performance-sensitive applications.

It's not the fastest model available, and it's certainly not very large. But our tests demonstrate that even a mediocre SSD is many, many times more responsive than a conventional hard disk.

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 750 GB 32 MB Cache

Read Customer Reviews of Seagate's Barracuda 750 GB


With a fast SSD providing quick access to the files needed to boot-up quickly, we picked Seagate's 750 GB Barracuda for our storage drive. It’s a decent performer and reasonably priced at $70.

Optical Drive: Samsung SH-222BB/BEBE 22x DVD-ROM


Read Customer Reviews of Samsung's SH-222BB/BEBE DVD-ROM


We didn’t pick this "bebe" for its name. We chose it because it was selling for $15 when we bought it, and we needed to save every penny possible.

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    Top Comments
  • alchemy69
    Bring on the usual motley crew of those who could have done it so much better.
    23
  • wildkitten
    mayankleoboy1i love how much difference a few months had on the performance.Just want to mention : i dont see the use of including an optical drive in 2012. i cant remember the last time i used an optical drive. And with digital sales outselling physical discs, i dont see why it is included. Its not about saving $15. Its about buying a part that you will be using less than a couple of times in an year.probably lesser.

    I think there is still a place for optical drives. I just finished a new tower build myself, an i5 3570k myself with the same video card on an Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe. I put in a Blur Ray burner that was only $90. With almost all new phones doing 1080p video, I can burn discs for friends and family of personal videos. People also still have CD players in cars and honestly, on a price per GB bases, it's still the best form of backup.
    20
  • lighter17
    What's going on with the processor price. The i5-3570k is $230 not $300. Then there's no mention of the CPU cooler in the price list.

    And you're pairing an Ivy Bridge CPU with a P67 motherboard to save a few dollars?

    Does anybody proofread these articles?
    19
  • Other Comments
  • alchemy69
    Bring on the usual motley crew of those who could have done it so much better.
    23
  • lighter17
    What's going on with the processor price. The i5-3570k is $230 not $300. Then there's no mention of the CPU cooler in the price list.

    And you're pairing an Ivy Bridge CPU with a P67 motherboard to save a few dollars?

    Does anybody proofread these articles?
    19
  • lunyone
    ^^^ Just noticed and was starting to type that same mistake too :)
    +1 for the p67 and not a maybe a B75 based mobo like:

    or

    Z77 based mobo for ~$95 shipped??


    Just a though on the mobo situation....
    4
  • lunyone
    ^^^ Links didn't work, trying again below:
    -2
  • mayankleoboy1
    i love how much difference a few months had on the performance.

    Just want to mention : i dont see the use of including an optical drive in 2012. i cant remember the last time i used an optical drive. And with digital sales outselling physical discs, i dont see why it is included.
    Its not about saving $15. Its about buying a part that you will be using less than a couple of times in an year.probably lesser.
    -5
  • cangelini
    lighter17What's going on with the processor price. The i5-3570k is $230 not $300. Then there's no mention of the CPU cooler in the price list. And you're pairing an Ivy Bridge CPU with a P67 motherboard to save a few dollars?Does anybody proofread these articles?

    Good catch. Not sure what was up with Don's pricing, but his CPU was way off, and he forgot to include the cooler in his price list. I've updated it, and it's only $7 bucks off his original quote, so we're still in good shape. Appreciate the sharp eye, guys!
    Chris
    10
  • wildkitten
    mayankleoboy1i love how much difference a few months had on the performance.Just want to mention : i dont see the use of including an optical drive in 2012. i cant remember the last time i used an optical drive. And with digital sales outselling physical discs, i dont see why it is included. Its not about saving $15. Its about buying a part that you will be using less than a couple of times in an year.probably lesser.

    I think there is still a place for optical drives. I just finished a new tower build myself, an i5 3570k myself with the same video card on an Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe. I put in a Blur Ray burner that was only $90. With almost all new phones doing 1080p video, I can burn discs for friends and family of personal videos. People also still have CD players in cars and honestly, on a price per GB bases, it's still the best form of backup.
    20
  • Anonymous
    60 gb SSD? why bother?
    -24
  • blackball3242
    The asrock professional series is shown whereas the actual motherboard being used is the performance series.

    I almost thought the motherboard had 3 pcie slots for only $100- that would have been a steal!
    -1
  • nathcarter
    Any particular reason for P67 over Z77? Is it purely cost-based, or are there significant performance benefits?
    5
  • Anonymous
    Looks promising except for the UEFI issue. What motherboard would you recommend for someone who doesn't happen to have a spare Sandy Bridge processor around to update the UEFI?
    10
  • simonmodule
    I thought the ivy bridge wasn't that good in overclocking as sandy bridge, cause of the whole intel hd graphics being bigger and all the overheating?
    -5
  • sterimar
    In my opinion, you should stick to the budget, Tom's. Part of the fun (and the reality of the situation for most people) are the tradeoffs you have to deal with when assembling your PC. And no, it wasn't the extra memory or the SSD that pushed you over budget since you say those are compulsory components. It was the 670 that you wanted so much. If you can't fit it under $1,000, then just don't get the 670, get something worse or get a cheaper CPU with the 670. I understand going over budget by a few bucks, but $57, that's a pretty significant lapse in budgeting, in my mind.
    7
  • Fokissed
    mayankleoboy1i love how much difference a few months had on the performance.Just want to mention : i dont see the use of including an optical drive in 2012. i cant remember the last time i used an optical drive. And with digital sales outselling physical discs, i dont see why it is included. Its not about saving $15. Its about buying a part that you will be using less than a couple of times in an year.probably lesser.

    Because it's needed. Need it to install Windows and certain software. Sometimes you can't avoid using the optical drive.
    15
  • Fokissed
    sterimarIn my opinion, you should stick to the budget, Tom's. Part of the fun (and the reality of the situation for most people) are the tradeoffs you have to deal with when assembling your PC. And no, it wasn't the extra memory or the SSD that pushed you over budget since you say those are compulsory components. It was the 670 that you wanted so much. If you can't fit it under $1,000, then just don't get the 670, get something worse or get a cheaper CPU with the 670. I understand going over budget by a few bucks, but $57, that's a pretty significant lapse in budgeting, in my mind.

    But the SSD and RAM don't have much effect on the benchmarks preformed in the marathon. Those optional components are dead weight when it comes to the comparisons.
    0
  • Anonymous
    FokissedBut the SSD and RAM don't have much effect on the benchmarks preformed in the marathon. Those optional components are dead weight when it comes to the comparisons.

    exactly. i get a few thumbs down from people that think a 60 gb SSD is worth it.

    well what does it do?
    boots windows faster thats it; a complete waste of $60 in terms of performance.

    if its an advantage to install an SSD a minimum would be 120 gbs so at least all applications and games can be installed.
    1
  • mayankleoboy1
    any PC built today needs an SSD. depending on your budget, choose the capacity. A PC cant be fast without removing the biggest bottleneck.
    8
  • sarinaide
    Again a build that is over limit and greedy, I regard $1000 as the basic enthusiast build and this doesn't reflect it adequately;

    1] Fixation on 'k' chips is insane, the fact that I can run BF3 on a stock Thuban at well over 70 FPS with maxed presets is enough to suggest that $50 for the overclocking is actually not really needed.

    2] Ivy bridge on a P67 setup, just to get a pretty board on a dead chipset, not only are you crimping the IB features you can settle on a Z77 UD5H from Gigabyte a far superior board.

    3] GTX 670, a HD7850 can max out a game at HD res around 1080P why spend more?
    -5
  • dragonborn
    I don't know how someone could put such components in a crappy case like this !
    0
  • sarinaide
    For this tier the 7870/660ti/7950B should have been the criteria, that is a price range from $270 to $330 total savings of $70-130 which is more than sufficient.
    8