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Memory, Hard Drives, And Optical Storage

System Builder Marathon, Q1 2014: Our New Enthusiast PC
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Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP DDR3-1866 Memory Kit 8 GB (2 x 4 GB)

This dual-channel kit boasts an XMP memory profile with 9-10-9-27 timings at 1866 MT/s, while sipping power at a mere 1.5 V. Selling for $103 on Newegg at the time of writing, it's priced as expected for high-performance memory in this RAM-hungry market.

Read Customer Reviews of Corsair's Vengeance LP 8 GB Memory Kit


System Drive: Samsung 840 EVO 120 GB SATA 6Gb/s SSD

Currently selling for $90, Samsung's 840 EVO 120 GB SSD offers respectable value for a system drive. Our own Christopher Ryan is particularly smitten with this repository, praising its performance and value-added features that keep data safe, despite triple-level-cell flash memory. 

Read Customer Reviews of Samsung's 840 EVO 128 GB SSD


Hard Drive: Western Digital Black 500 GB

When it comes to choosing the right hard drive given limited funds, you need to balance capacity and performance. This quarter, I chose to favor speed.

Assuming 500 GB is enough storage space for music, movies, and pictures, $71 gets you Western Digital's high-performance Black with an impressive five-year warranty. Of course, if you need to house terabytes of data, you'll want a larger drive. That might necessitate stepping back to a slower-spinning disk instead.


Read Customer Reviews of Western Digital's Black 500 GB Hard Drive


Optical Drive: LG Black OEM Blu-ray Burner

A standard DVD burner sells for around $20. But if you fancy using your PC as a media center, a Blu-ray writer gives you a little more flexibility. LG's WH14NS40 is going for $54 on Newegg after a temporary promotion, and I consider that to be a reasonable expense, given the options it opens up to enthusiasts.

Read Customer Reviews of LG's WH14NS40 Blu-ray Burner

Display all 43 comments.
  • 2 Hide
    envy14tpe , March 25, 2014 1:11 AM
    Why a Galaxy GPU considering the company pulled out of US market? btw, nice work on the build.
  • 7 Hide
    bemused_fred , March 25, 2014 1:45 AM
    I wish more builds would account for the cost of the OS. It can be a significant expense, especially when you're working with builds of $600 or less.
  • 5 Hide
    Drejeck , March 25, 2014 2:39 AM
    770 sli also nets better performance when gaming on 120/144hz monitors
  • 1 Hide
    Dark Oopa , March 25, 2014 3:25 AM
    wow, I didn't think there would be such a little difference in gaming.In fact, the difference is so small that with all the inherent problems of the SLI, the new rig is always the better choice.
  • 2 Hide
    redgarl , March 25, 2014 4:30 AM
    Multi-gpu problems are always overly exagerated. I am using multi-gpu platforms for almost 5 years and the gain in fps over the UNOTICEABLE and overly exagerated stutering sweep away any disavantages.Folks, don't lure yourself, higher resolution demand multi-gpus. Single card is fine for anything around 1080p, more or less, but at 4K or 3 1080p monitors... your system is going to choke even with a 780 ti.
  • 1 Hide
    npyrhone , March 25, 2014 5:03 AM
    Having 1600x900 resolution in the gaming charts serves only one purpose: to create the impression that there is not really a difference between the two builds, while in reality the later one is obviously inferior to the previous one.
  • 8 Hide
    vertexx , March 25, 2014 5:05 AM
    It's a shame to completely remove the non-core components from the competition, but I understand why it's done here. A couple of ideas to throw out there:

    (1) You could include temperatures and acoustics performance in the overall assessment, given I think that is a big part of the case buying decision, and
    (2) A way to factor in the intangibles (i.e. blu ray vs dvd, choice of SSD/HDD, etc), you could include a separate vote between this quarter's and last quarter's to see what the readers would choose for the best build given all the performance factors, aesthetics, and other components that do not contribute directly to performance. The reader's vote of this quarter vs. last quarter and/or an overall value winner for this quarter could be included in the final write-up.

    I would also 2nd the vote for starting 4K testing. And also, why not 1440p? It seems those two resolutions are more relevant now in 2014 at the level of this competition than 1600x900 and 4800x900 resolutions.
  • 0 Hide
    DarkSable , March 25, 2014 5:09 AM
    I'm sorry, Tom's, but...You really need to stop misinforming the general public who comes here for your articles and doesn't read the forums in depth.You go with an i7 for the "performance benefits," which are nonexistent for gaming... except that this rig is aimed at gaming. I would have much, much rather seen an i5, with a note explaining that an i7 is a good upgrade if you're doing these sorts of things, but isn't helpful if you're building a gaming computer.There are wayyyy too many new builders out there who think that the i7 is better than the i5 and who are just wasting their money, and you aren't helping them or correcting that misinformation - rather, you're just reinforcing it further.
  • 2 Hide
    nekromobo , March 25, 2014 5:11 AM
    I would really like to see mATX and mini-itx versions of this article, pretty please :) 
  • 4 Hide
    vertexx , March 25, 2014 5:12 AM
    Quote:
    I'm sorry, Tom's, but...You really need to stop misinforming the general public who comes here for your articles and doesn't read the forums in depth.You go with an i7 for the "performance benefits," which are nonexistent for gaming... except that this rig is aimed at gaming. I would have much, much rather seen an i5, with a note explaining that an i7 is a good upgrade if you're doing these sorts of things, but isn't helpful if you're building a gaming computer.There are wayyyy too many new builders out there who think that the i7 is better than the i5 and who are just wasting their money, and you aren't helping them or correcting that misinformation - rather, you're just reinforcing it further.

    Hmm.... What percentage of the performance measures in this article are for gaming?
  • 1 Hide
    cypeq , March 25, 2014 5:15 AM
    Fresh and new but feels like a deja-vu
  • 0 Hide
    npyrhone , March 25, 2014 5:15 AM
    "such a little difference in gaming"... You call 20fps in an fps game little? Thats like almost 30% in far cry.
  • 0 Hide
    Sparky4688 , March 25, 2014 5:21 AM
    How loud is it at idle? At max stress? Normal operaton?
  • 8 Hide
    cheesyboy , March 25, 2014 5:45 AM
    Could we have one of these where you compare 3 or 4 different machines at a fixed budget of, say, $1,000 (or maybe up to $1,250) with a variety of CPUs.

    I'm thinking a selection of CPUs as a fixed starting point, and GPU decisions based on remaining budget. Maybe an i7, i5, FX-8, and an APU.

    Would be really interesting to see the performance differences across workloads by allocating budget between CPU and other components.
  • -3 Hide
    quilciri , March 25, 2014 5:54 AM
    I would prefer using a 3570k, hybrid drive and ddr-1600 (and maybe dropping the case to somewhere around a rosewill challenger) to fit 2x780's in the build instead. Other than that, looks tasty!
  • 3 Hide
    clide005 , March 25, 2014 6:04 AM
    I kind of feel like only focusing on the price comparison vs performance of the core performance parts is a little like cheating. I feel like we're getting away from what is awesome about these quarterly builds, and that is we're showing regular folks that you don't have to have giant budget to build a good pc. And I think switching the rules around so you can build it better without making adjustments to fit your budget is getting away from the point. Thats just me though for others it may not make any difference. I do like that you separated the costs though in your price breakdown.
  • 0 Hide
    keyrock , March 25, 2014 6:28 AM
    This is about the price range I'm anticipating I will have to spend when I build an all new rig later this year, but that won't be for at least 4 or 5 months. By then the Haswell refresh will almost definitely be out, and we may have a clearer picture of Broadwell. I'm still confused about when Broadwell is actually happening. Even if Broadwell launches this year, I have to think that it will only be the low power variants, because why launch a new desktop chip so soon after Haswell refresh? Anyway, back on track, this build is a fairly good comparison to what I plan to build when that time comes, substituting in Haswell refresh (please let them be soldered on) and potentially a Maxwell card for the 780Ti depending on how that all shakes out. I definitely want to go with one beefier GPU rather than 2 lesser GPUs for future proofing purposes. One 780Ti (or equivalent) should have me covered for pretty much anything at 1440p, but come a year or two down the line, if the Witcher 3s of the world are not letting me max out with that card at 1440p, I can always slap another 780Ti in there and then I should be good to go to tackle absolutely any game at 1440p for years to come.
  • 2 Hide
    vertexx , March 25, 2014 7:34 AM
    Quote:
    I would really like to see mATX and mini-itx versions of this article, pretty please :) 

    Already done for ITX. See here:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/build-your-own-haswell-overclocking,3608.html

    I'd second the uATX. In fact, I'd really like to see Crash attempt a uATX dual-gpu setup.
  • 1 Hide
    cleeve , March 25, 2014 7:35 AM
    Quote:
    Why a Galaxy GPU considering the company pulled out of US market? btw, nice work on the build.


    Frankly, it was the cheapest available card when the systems were ordered.

  • 2 Hide
    cleeve , March 25, 2014 7:38 AM
    Quote:
    Having 1600x900 resolution in the gaming charts serves only one purpose: to create the impression that there is not really a difference between the two builds, while in reality the later one is obviously inferior to the previous one.


    Nope.

    The purpose is to have a resolution that the low-budget PC can operate at for the comparison article at the end of the week. :) 
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