System Builder Marathon, Dec. 2009: $1,300 Enthusiast PC

Power And Temperature Benchmarks

It is here that the quad-CrossFire setup pays the price for its unique approach with high-power usage. Compare this to the new Radeon HD 5850s coupled with the efficient Core i5 processor and a much lower power draw. The winner here is obvious.

The temperature benchmark shows us the price we pay for not having room in the budget for an aftermarket CPU cooler. Intel's Core i5 CPUs, like the Core i7 before it, will get as hot as you're willing to push them.

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  • Great build Don! The only thing I'd change is to use the RAM from the $2500 system! It's too bad you didn't have enough money left over to buy a big cooler.
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  • Very smoothe build, pretty limited with the 5850s with the pricing once past that, but this thing handles it well, esp since the cpu was lucky enough to stay fast while undervolted.

    Not all cpus are the same, this one compared to the $2500 build definatly shows it. Takes a bit of luck sometimes or bad luck.
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  • Just a thought, but why not use an I7 920 CPU, with an asrock x58 Extreme motherboard? I see a lot of people bought their I7 920 CPU for 199 dollars and the motherboard costs 170 dollars.
    Pair that up with OCZ 1333 platinum 7-7-7-24 memory, that can easily be overclocked to 1600 7-7-7-24 and you'll have a powerful system with 36 PCI-e lanes and loads of CPU overclocking room thanks to asrock's great motherboard.
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  • Good article, and yes the quadfire setup was sweet back then!! I just have a question/suggestion to make, and if you find worthy of a replay I'd much appreciate it.

    Since you are willing to experiment with different setups, and since we see the problem with the Phenom in the application suite, why not try something more exotic like pairing a nvidia based card with the crossfire cards to act like a PPU / video transcoding accelerator (TMPEng supports CUDA at least to act as a filter). I don't know if this makes sense in a marathon build, but I'd like to see something like this benchmarked.
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  • Those delta T over ambient figures worry me. We don't all live in Fairbanks, AK.
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  • This is an excellent build.
    With an aftermarket cooler this build will be flawless.

    Power Draw,Performance all were nice.

    The case looks nice too.
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  • I'm not especially interested in the gaming results per se, but this build certainly solidifies my choice to go with an Intel processor over AMD based on productivity benchmarks.
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  • Aside from the video cards, this is essentially the same build as the $2,500 build recently posted performance-wise. What is the point?
    -6
  • Good system over all… an extra hard drive for backup is essential and the wiring needs some tiding up.
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  • More specifically, these guys are trying different things each time we do a round of SBMs--sometimes the results are great, and sometimes they're not as good. The point is that we're putting the machines together and reporting on the results so that you can decide if you want to do the same or not. And hopefully, when we come across a result that doesn't look so hot, we'll call out where our mistake was in building the box.

    Just think how boring these would be if every quarter we did a Core i7-920-based machine at $2,500, a Core i5-750 machine at $1,500, and a Phenom II-based box at $700! =)
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  • Thank you for this build. Can't wait for the comparison of all the December builds. My last computer was significantly influenced by a previous enthusiast build, and it has worked well so far.
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  • That looks like a Corshair tx750 to me
    -1
  • I really don;t understand the choice of using 2X 5850 when you could have gotten a 5970 for $20 less. Yea, i know, the day you built it they were not in stock, but the waiting list was down to a week or less a month ago, and they're readily available now... That $20 would have upgraded the CPU to an i7 or the RAM past 4GB.


    Otherwise, great build.
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  • zelanniiI really don;t understand the choice of using 2X 5850 when you could have gotten a 5970 for $20 less. Yea, i know, the day you built it they were not in stock, but the waiting list was down to a week or less a month ago, and they're readily available now... That $20 would have upgraded the CPU to an i7 or the RAM past 4GB. Otherwise, great build.


    Actually availability was still a guess when these were ordered. They were ordered a week before the 5970 launched, and it was guessed that the 5970 wouldn't be available for several weeks after launch based on availability of 5870's.

    What I'd love to see is a comparison of "every possible" 58xx/59xx configuration :)
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  • nice build, but does anybody know why the build got raped on Hawx
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  • A Great big thank you for including mainstream application benchmarks. Much appreciated.
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  • Wow, this thing totally pwned the Sep. AMD build. Power consumption is way less too. Best bang for buck today.

    The only thing I didn't like is the cable management. I'm a cable management freak and to see Tom's just shove the cables in there like that disappoints me.
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  • "we have to wonder what four of the new Radeon HD 5750s could do in quad-CrossFire. And with a price tag as low as $480" -- THe cheapest 5750 on NewEgg is $139 x 4 = $556. You had me all excited too.. bout ready to do a new build, was gonna switch my two 5850's to four 5750's but I'd rather pay the extra $50.
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  • cangeliniMore specifically, these guys are trying different things each time we do a round of SBMs--sometimes the results are great, and sometimes they're not as good. The point is that we're putting the machines together and reporting on the results so that you can decide if you want to do the same or not. And hopefully, when we come across a result that doesn't look so hot, we'll call out where our mistake was in building the box. Just think how boring these would be if every quarter we did a Core i7-920-based machine at $2,500, a Core i5-750 machine at $1,500, and a Phenom II-based box at $700! =)


    ARGGGH!!! Chris! Don't put those thoughts in my head!! :p

    This was cool to see what that Intel CPU could do. I am kinda jealous now...kinda. Of course, I got a PII 550BE to go 3.7GHz@1.375 on air for $99. So, I can't be too sad...except...C3 stepping came out 3 weeks later. lol

    Another great read and something to consider down the line in building my next rig. I actually am seeing value for the buck now in a line of Intel CPUs. I just wish that i7-920 had been $50 cheaper. I might have gone with them.

    Thanks for another good article, guys.
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  • Very impressive I might add. Makes me wish I had kept my i5 and purchased a new MB. Just recently I had an MSI BIG BANG with a i5 750. I tried to run a 4970x2 and a GTX 295 together for some reason both cards, the board and the processor were fried. For the life of me I havent a clue what happened, but it is all good as I have RMA'd all parts but my wall mounted 4870x2. The rest were sold:(
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