System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: $800 Enthusiast PC

Video Card, Power Supply, And Case

Video Card: PowerColor PCS+ AX7870 Myst Edition

Don't let its name fool you; the GPU in this graphics card is actually a cut-down Tahiti (check out Tahiti LE, Tested: PowerColor's HD7870 PCS+ Myst Edition). That's right, the same one used in AMD's Radeon HD 7900-series cards. 

Previously, the Pitcairn-based Radeon HD 7870 with 1,280 shaders and 1,200 MHz memory was this segment's price/performance leader. But this card, with 1,536 shaders and 1,500 MHz memory, beats it.

Read Customer Reviews of PowerColor's PCS+ AX7870 Myst Edition


At $240 on Newegg, and with stock performance closer to the 1,792-shader Radeon HD 7950, this graphics card allows our $800 enthusiast-oriented PC to remain competitive in the high-end gaming arena.

Power Supply: Antec Neo Eco 520C 520 W

Read Customer Reviews of Antec's Neo Eco 520C


Although we've been favoring Corsair's CX600 in our mid-range builds lately, today's budget cut forces us to look elsewhere. Antec's Neo Eco 520C has an excellent reputation for a low-priced power supply, and our decision to use an Intel CPU should help keep consumption down compared to the FX-8350 we used last time. At $55, this is an exceptional component for the money.

Case: Xigmatek Asgard II

Read Customer Reviews of Xigmatek's Asgard II


The case is another component that we saved a few dollars on in order to remain within our $800 budget. Thankfully, the Asgard II is a very spacious, elegant-looking case that we can live with. There's only a single 120 mm rear fan, the PSU is top-mounted, and the drives are aligned front-to-back. However, considering the $34 retail price, we can't really complain.

Create a new thread in the US Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
63 comments
    Your comment
    Top Comments
  • That's a great value PC there. Would be hard pressed to think of a more compelling combination for the money. Well done.
    17
  • Other Comments
  • The table outlining the components of the build. It should read 800$ and not 1000$, I think?
    0
  • guessed they reused the previous template, sure it'll be fixed soon and people will wonder what we're talking about
    -1
  • Quote:
    Although we're going to miss the snappy boot-up times and almost-instant application launches the solid-state drive enabled, we probably won't be penalized too much in the benchmark results.


    And therein lies the problem with benchmarks.
    An enthusiast PC, without a SSD boot drive?
    -8
  • That's a great value PC there. Would be hard pressed to think of a more compelling combination for the money. Well done.
    17
  • The heat sink breaks easily but it is a good cheap solution, as long it doesn't break.
    0
  • If this machine were at $1000 budget, might as well add a 128GB SSD, and replace the HD 7870 to a HD 7950.
    -1
  • "Overclocking

    Overclocking the Core i5-3550K is"
    0
  • i think you couldve found a cheaper z77 solution and squieezed in a 64mb cache hdd
    -10
  • ipwn3r456If this machine were at $1000 budget, might as well add a 128GB SSD, and replace the HD 7870 to a HD 7950.



    there would be marginal performance boost from switching from a 7870 LE(nerfed 7950, heck can call it a 7930 and it would be partially correct in a way) to an actual 7950. Though its likely the outcome for the 1k budget coming up next.
    2
  • I really wasn't expecting the AMD chip to be so close to the i5. I'm a bit surprised. The power consumption figures look bad for the FX though.
    2
  • I would like to see builds for non-overclocking as well if they are comparing non-overlocked benchmarks. The $800 isn't a good estimate of what you can achieve in a non-overclocked build when you are paying all that extra for unlocked parts. A locked i5, locked mobo, no heat sink, and smaller PSU will scrape enough for a small SSD. This would be a more well-rounded build that a lot of people would choose especially if they are not planning on overclocking.
    -2
  • abhijitkalyaneI really wasn't expecting the AMD chip to be so close to the i5. I'm a bit surprised. The power consumption figures look bad for the FX though.


    That's cuz the 8350 is using a 670 which in GPU heavy titles will boost its numbers higher. Same GPU would show a more different story and the price difference between a 8350 and a i5 3570k is only able to bump a 7870xt to a 7950 at most, not to a 670

    399650 said:
    Quote:
    Although we're going to miss the snappy boot-up times and almost-instant application launches the solid-state drive enabled, we probably won't be penalized too much in the benchmark results.
    And therein lies the problem with benchmarks. An enthusiast PC, without a SSD boot drive?


    For a $800 budget, I would rather get all the real in game performance I can first while and add a ssd later than lose out on fps and get faster load times

    higher fps(stronger cpu, gpu) > faster load times

    770750 said:
    I would like to see builds for non-overclocking as well if they are comparing non-overlocked benchmarks. The $800 isn't a good estimate of what you can achieve in a non-overclocked build when you are paying all that extra for unlocked parts. A locked i5, locked mobo, no heat sink, and smaller PSU will scrape enough for a small SSD. This would be a more well-rounded build that a lot of people would choose especially if they are not planning on overclocking.


    $35 saved from cutting cooler and k is not enough for an SSD
    4
  • abhijitkalyaneI really wasn't expecting the AMD chip to be so close to the i5. I'm a bit surprised. The power consumption figures look bad for the FX though.


    After looking at this it would seem illogical to buy a 8350 over a I5. But yes it does do decent interns of price/performance.
    1
  • StickmansamFor a $800 budget, I would rather get all the real in game performance I can first while and add a ssd later than lose out on fps and get faster load timeshigher fps(stronger cpu, gpu) > faster load times


    This would have been correct for a "$800 Gaming PC" .
    But for a "$800 Enthusiast PC " , a SSD is a must. Even a 64GB, lower end SSD would have been OK.
    -4
  • i am a bit surprised.
    this build looks like a budget-upper-midrange build (if that makes any sense). the mobo... looks weak. the cooler and gfx card looked... cheap. i didn't expect the oc core i5 3570k build to keep up with oc fx8350 build in threaded benches (for $200 less, even). only 7zip seems to take advantage of 8 integer clusters/cores properly and the rest of them don't seem to scale well beyond 4~ cores. i noticed that trend in games but this is the first time i've seen it in non-games softwares. i use handbrake, lame mp3 and archivers (7z, zip/rars), so those benches were very informative for me. thank you.
    when i first started reading, i wanted to see an fx8320, cm hyper 212 evo(or a corsair clc) with a sturdy 970 mobo + radeon 7870xt. as i read on, this current build and its performance started to look more and more interesting.
    -2
  • dudewitbowthere would be marginal performance boost from switching from a 7870 LE(nerfed 7950, heck can call it a 7930 and it would be partially correct in a way) to an actual 7950. Though its likely the outcome for the 1k budget coming up next.



    The difference between the 7870 XT and the 7950 can be huge when overclocking is considered. That lost memory bandwidth is no small matter for Tahiti LE when it runs at around 1.2GHz. I also suspect that the lost compute units from 28 to 24, although not a significant loss, are considerable.


    EDIT:
    http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/5120/powercolor_pcs_radeon_hd_7870_tahiti_le_2gb_myst_video_card_review/index7.html

    Also, not only are the 2560x1600 bencmarks not the only ones showing such a comparison, but also the 1920x1200 and 1680x1050 benchmarks. This is also fairly consistent across most games. Both of these claims are demonstrated to be true by the rest of this article.
    1
  • 595654 said:
    That's cuz the 8350 is using a 670 which in GPU heavy titles will boost its numbers higher. Same GPU would show a more different story and the price difference between a 8350 and a i5 3570k is only able to bump a 7870xt to a 7950 at most, not to a 670 For a $800 budget, I would rather get all the real in game performance I can first while and add a ssd later than lose out on fps and get faster load times higher fps(stronger cpu, gpu) > faster load times $35 saved from cutting cooler and k is not enough for an SSD


    We could easily scrape out enough money from the budget for a decent 60GB/64GB SSD such as Plextor's M5S 64GB without really hurting core performance, at least if we didn't stick to Nweegg (granted Tom's doesn't have much option left in that if they want free systems to hand out). Loading times alone could be worth it.
    -1
  • The i5-3570K's overclock appears to be "4.4 GHz @ +0.085 V" as opposed to showing "4.4GHz @ 1.15 V".
    1
  • de5_Royi didn't expect the oc core i5 3570k build to keep up with oc fx8350 build in threaded benches (for $200 less, even). only 7zip seems to take advantage of 8 integer clusters/cores properly and the rest of them don't seem to scale well beyond 4~ cores. i noticed that trend in games but this is the first time i've seen it in non-games softwares. i use handbrake, lame mp3 and archivers (7z, zip/rars), so those benches were very informative for me. thank you.


    I'm wondering if Blaz's disable-one-core-per-module trick would help Piledriver here, as you'd have a single core with access to 2MB L2 and 2MB L3 without the scheduler needing to worry about the second integer core. As it is, even if the software could make full use of all the CPU cores, they'd likely have a memory contention or bandwidth issue.

    Steamroller will definitely improve matters but AMD will continue to be behind until anybody but the creators of 7Zip thread their software to hell (outside of rendering and productivity apps, of course).
    0
  • These results are pretty eye opening! I already knew it, but dang. As an AMDer, I can't wait for Steamroller (good thing I get to see Haswell first). They need to improve performance, but power consumption as well. No excuse this time around.
    2