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System Builder Marathon, Q3 2013: $1300 Enthusiast PC

System Builder Marathon, Q3 2013: $1300 Enthusiast PC
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System Builder Marathon, Q3 2013: The Articles

Here are links to each of the five articles in this quarter’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 fill out this SurveyGizmo form, and be sure to read the complete rules before entering!

Day 1: The $650 Gaming PC
Day 2: The $1300 Enthusiast PC
Day 3: The $2550 Performance PC
Day 4: Performance And Value, Dissected
Day 5: The $350 Bonus Entry-Level PC

Introduction

Last quarter I was given $1300 to build my mid-range enthusiast-oriented system, but I also had to create a capable configuration in a mini-ITX form factor. Since smaller components tend to be more expensive than their standard-sized counterparts, our dollars didn't go as far as they could have. This time around, we're expecting more in an ATX mid-tower chassis.

You're also going to see us go with a larger and more expensive 120 GB SSD, though there's still a conventional disk drive in there for user data. We think the investment is a good one; 128 GB is about right for your operating system and applications, even if it isn't going to score me any bonus points when Thomas tallies up performance at the end of our series.

In the three months since our previous System Builder Marathon, Intel introduced its Haswell architecture, while Nvidia added a number of GeForce GTX 700-series graphics cards. So, the previous build's Core i5-3570K and GeForce GTX 680 are going up against the new Core i5-4670K and GeForce GTX 770 today. In fact, here's the complete list of components you'll find in the third quarter's $1300 enthusiast-oriented machine:

$1300 Enthusiast System Components
MotherboardGigabyte Z87X-OC, LGA 1150, Intel Z87 Express
$200
ProcessorIntel Core i5-4670K: 3.4 GHz Base Clock Rate, 3.8 GHz Maximum Turbo Boost, 6 MB Shared L3 Cache
$240
Heat Sink
Corsair H50 Liquid Cooling System
$55
MemoryCorsair Vengeance 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1866 Model CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9R$70
GraphicsGigabyte GeForce GTX 770 2 GB 256-bit GDDR5
$400
System Drive
Samsung 840 MZ-7TD120BW 2.5" 120 GB SATA 6Gb/s (SSD)
$100
Storage Drive
WD Blue WD10EZEX 1 TB, 7200 RPM, 64 MB Cache, SATA 6Gb/s
$70
OpticalSamsung SH-224DB/RSBS DVD Burner
$22
CaseAntec GX 700 ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
$55
PowerCorsair 650TX 650 W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Bronze Modular PSU
$90
 Total Cost
$1302

Good news! This capable collection of components lands very close to the $1300 I was allotted (I'll toss in the extra $2 if I really need to). And prices haven't changed all that much since we placed our order for these parts a month ago.

Display 61 Comments.
  • 5 Hide
    rolli59 , September 23, 2013 9:49 PM
    Keep them coming.
  • 3 Hide
    chaospower , September 23, 2013 10:04 PM
    I think this just shows that you don't really need more than a GTX 760 if you play on the most popular resolution of 1080p. Look how small the benefits of an Haswell are, compared to the 650$ build (HALF THE PRICE!) in games that mainly rely on GPU power.
    Overclocking haswell is a waste of money considering the amount of money you need to invest in a good MB and a good cooling, only to reach a rather tame 4.3ghz OC...
    Just buy the cheapest I5 you can buy and pair it with a GTX 760, if you play on 1080p, I doubt you'll be disappointed.
  • 5 Hide
    DelightfulDucklings , September 23, 2013 10:12 PM
    The more I look at these the sadder I am about the overpriced parts I have to pay for in New Zealand :(  Nevertheless, another good article, keep it up
  • 6 Hide
    silverblue , September 23, 2013 11:30 PM
    "64 GB of cache"

    I'd have that hard drive for $70 if it was true. :p 
  • -1 Hide
    bemused_fred , September 24, 2013 1:23 AM
    Quote:
    "64 GB of cache"

    I'd have that hard drive for $70 if it was true. :p 


    I thought it was only....32 on the blue models. :p 
  • 1 Hide
    cmartin011 , September 24, 2013 1:40 AM
    Can't wait to see a new amd gpu in these builds got me all giddy inside!
  • 7 Hide
    Larry Bob , September 24, 2013 3:27 AM
    This is a complete waste of money. You spend way more on the 4670K than you would on a 3570K, and a really expensive motherboard, then you pair it with a crappy CLC where even a 212 Evo or Respire T40 would do better. You then WAY overpay on the graphics card when a 7970 offers exactly the same performance (according to Tom's research) for $60+ less.
  • -7 Hide
    persuse , September 24, 2013 3:27 AM
    the vengence ram Worst chip in all the model and brands !
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820313399
    Team Vulcan 8GB (2 x 4GB)DDR3 2400 best P/p memory with same price better choice.
    and corsair H50 not is better whan aircooler.
    the Phanteks PH-TC12DX or V6GT with same price range the beat performance.

    for ssd i,m recomend Kingston HyperX 3K 120G with same price and beter speed.
  • 8 Hide
    Novuake , September 24, 2013 5:04 AM
    Good choice in PSU. Odd choice in motherboard. Does not provide THAT much for 200$.
    But most importantly, HORRIBLE choice in cooling. But ok...
  • -5 Hide
    MANOFKRYPTONAK , September 24, 2013 5:52 AM
    This is old tech... We nee some new stuff! Can't wait to see amds new cards, and nvidias response. Also Intel supposedly has an eight core haswell-e coming:) 
  • 1 Hide
    ojas , September 24, 2013 6:10 AM
    Dudes. Whatever happened to BestConfigs?
  • 0 Hide
    BulkZerker , September 24, 2013 6:25 AM
    Oh look! Its the same system as last quarter :p 
  • 3 Hide
    slomo4sho , September 24, 2013 6:37 AM
    It would have been a much better use of funds to buy a cheaper motherboard and use the funds towards a better cooler...
  • -1 Hide
    drul , September 24, 2013 6:48 AM
    Would love to see what a XEON 1230 V2 (or even V3) with a sli of GTX760 (saved money on cheaper motherboard and cooling system should allow it) would do in your test
  • -4 Hide
    Amdlova , September 24, 2013 6:57 AM
    lol mine 3470 its running at 107mhz fsb and i get 4.2ghz two cores 4.0ghz 4 cores and i pay for this chip 170us 120us mobo.... this Enthusiast PC is only about spend money! harder!
  • 1 Hide
    cknobman , September 24, 2013 6:58 AM
    No way I would have chosen a 770 over a 7970GE that could be had for $30+ less.
  • -2 Hide
    cknobman , September 24, 2013 7:06 AM
    I consider this build a wash compared to last quarters and think your skewed gaming value chart is very misleading. You chose a resolution no one plays at because it just so happens to hide this build memory bandwidth issues and makes it look better than it really is at more common playable resolutions.

    Not a terrible build, but no better. Should have saved some cash by skipping haswell for the cpu and getting a 7970ge for the gfx card.
  • 2 Hide
    TeraMedia , September 24, 2013 7:20 AM
    The superiority of this build over the last one is more deeply marred by the cheap memory than the author admits, once that memory is OCed. Given the supposed IPC arch improvements of Haswell and the higher clock of the 770, this system should be consistently faster.. but it's not. F1, Adobe, synthetics... all testing areas exhibited at least some cases in which last Q's specialized ITX build was faster while using older products and less power. To me, that paints this Q's generalized ATX build in a bad light. It's not that it wasn't good; it's that it wasn't as much better as it should have been.
  • -1 Hide
    JamesSneed , September 24, 2013 7:27 AM
    Im assuming TH had various spare parts from vendors and decided wth lets toss um into the system builder. Seems like a rather random choice of parts to pair together. I cant help but think if you downgraded the motherboard and used a cheaper CPU cooler you could have went SLI with two gtx 760's for only $100 more than the gtx 770 they chose. They certainly had enough power supply to do it as most systems with 2x gtx 760's are only pulling 450 watts at load.
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