System Builder Marathon, December 2009: 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!
Constant advancements in technology mean that, at least every few months, we can say “it has never been a better time to build a PC,” and really mean it. Yet, the popular catch phrase means a little more today. That’s because we haven’t seen a graphics release as stunning as ATI’s Radeon HD 5800-series in a very long time. For gamers, this really is a phenomenal time to build a PC.
Past System Builder Marathons (SBMs) have reviewed awesome technologies such as 3-way SLI, CrossFireX, and Core i7 in systems costing up to $4,500, but because of ATI’s advancement, today’s $2,500 build likely overpowers them all. What’s true in game performance applies to average performance, simply because the expected improvements to our gaming suite are so large. Yet this big improvement comes at such a price that we were forced to select some components that definitely do not fall under the high-end category.
|$2,500 Performance PC Component Prices|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte P55-UD4P LGA 1156|
Chipset: Intel P55 Express
|Processor||Intel Core i7-860 2.80 GHz|
4 Cores, 8.0MB L3 Cache
|Memory||2 x Crucial 4.0GB DDR3-1333 Dual Channel Kit|
4 x 2.0GB (8.0GB Total), CAS 9-9-9-28
|Graphics||2 x Diamond HD 5870 (CrossFireX)|
1.0GB GDDR5-4800 Per Card
Radeon HD 5870 GPU at 850 MHz
|Hard Drives||2 x WD Caviar Black WD2001FASS (RAID 1)|
2.0TB, 7,200 RPM, 64MB Cache SATA 3.0 Gb/s
|Optical||LG WH08LS20 BD-RE|
8x BD-R, 2x BD-RE, 16x DVD±R
|Case||Lian-Li LanCool PC-K7B||$90|
|Power||Corsair CMPSU-850HX Modular 850W|
ATX12V 2.2, EPS12V 2.91, 80 PLUS Gold
|CPU Cooler||Xigmatek HDT-S1284EE Cooler Plus|
Crossbow ACK-I5363 Bracket Kit
|Total Current Cost||$2,585|
Regular readers can point to the loss of liquid cooling and SSD drives as huge steps backwards compared to our most recent $2,500 build, although the above list doesn’t represent the actual price paid. Increases in memory, graphics, and optical drive prices have pushed the build cost upward by $88 compared to the day when we ordered our parts. On a more positive note, the $10 discount reduction for our case was replaced by a $20 discount on our power supply.
Rather than get sidetracked by recent price shifts, let’s take a look at the machine that our $2,497 purchase produced.
- Our Most Powerful Build Yet?
- Graphics And Power
- Motherboard, CPU, And RAM
- CPU Cooling And Case
- Hardware Installation
- Test Settings
- Benchmark Results: Crysis And Fallout 3
- Benchmark Results: Far Cry 2 And H.A.W.X.
- Benchmark Results: World In Conflict
- Benchmark Results: Audio And Video Encoding
- Benchmark Results: Productivity
- Benchmark Results: Synthetics
- Power, Heat, And Efficiency