System Builder Marathon, September 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!
In the previous System Builder Marathon (SBM), we lowered our mid-range budget from $1500 to $1000. In order to compete with the preceding $1500 build on the graphics front, we opted for a Radeon HD 5830 CrossFire configuration. The $1000 limit forced us to make some compromises in the rest of the system, and we gambled on an OEM Phenom II X3 720—the risk paid off, and the CPU successfully unlocked with four fully-functioning processor cores. The end result performed admirably against the preceding quarter's $1500 PC, especially considering the $500-lower buy-in.
This time around, we put together what we consider a more balanced system. We considered a Phenom II X6, but since Thomas Soderstromchose that platform for his high-end machine, we thought it'd be more interesting to go with an Intel Core i5-750 to compare results.
With that said, here are the components we chose for the new midrange $1000 enthusiast system:
|$1,000 Enthusiast System Components|
|Motherboard||Asus P7P55D-E LX|
LGA 1156, Intel P55 chipset
|Processor||Intel Core i5-750|
2.66 GHz, Four Cores, 8 MB L3 Cache
|CPU Cooler||Cooler Master HyperTX 3||$30|
|Memory||Crucial 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3-1333|
Dual-Channel Desktop Memory Kit
|Graphics||MSI GeForce GTX 470|
1280 MB GDDR5-3348
|Hard Drives||WD Caviar Black 640 GB|
640 GB, 7200 RPM, 32 MB Cache SATA 3Gb/s
|Optical||Lite-On iHAS124 OEM|
24x DVD+R, 8x DVD+RW, 48x CD ROM
|Case||Antec Three Hundred||$60|
|Power||Corsair CMPSU-650TX 650 W|
ATX12V, EPS12V , 80 PLUS Certified
With current pricing, this system is actually $15 below our $1000 target, yet we make no significant compromises in any particular area. Let’s examine our hardware choices.
- The Balanced System
- CPU, Motherboard, And Cooler
- Video Cards, Power Supply, And Case
- Memory, Hard Drive, And Optical Drive
- Assembly And Overclocking
- Test System And Benchmarks
- Benchmark Results: Synthetics
- Benchmark Results: Media Encoding
- Benchmark Results: 2D And 3D Graphics
- Benchmark Results: Productivity
- Benchmark Results: Crysis And Call Of Duty
- Benchmark Results: DiRT 2 And S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
- Power And Temperature Benchmarks