Page 1:Making Tough Choices In Volatile Markets
Page 2:Graphics, Memory, And CPU
Page 3:Motherboard, CPU Cooling And Case
Page 4:Power Supply, SSD, Hard Drive, And Optical Drive
Page 5:Radiator Installation
Page 6:Finishing The Build
Page 7:Overclocking Through Firmware
Page 8:Final Touches
Page 9:Benchmarking Configurations
Page 10:Results: 3DMark And PCMark
Page 11:Results: SiSoftware Sandra
Page 12:Results: Battlefield 3 And Far Cry 3
Page 13:Results: F1 2012 And Skyrim
Page 14:Results: Audio And Video Encoding
Page 15:Results: Adobe Creative Suite
Page 16:Results: Productivity
Page 17:Results: File Compression
Page 18:Power, Heat, And Efficiency
Page 19:Value Conclusion
Power Supply, SSD, Hard Drive, And Optical Drive
Power Supply: Seasonic M12II SS-850AM
By now, my reduced budget is starting to feel a little constrictive. But power is one place where I cannot cut corners. I estimated that I’d need at least 800 watts, and the unit I chose to reach that level in September is now too expensive. Thankfully, Seasonic was ready to take care of my needs.
Semi-modular and manufactured by one of the industry’s most-reputable firms, the only feature Seasonic’s value-priced M12II-850AM forces me to give up is a small amount of efficiency. Coming in just shy of the Gold certification with an 84.52% full-load efficiency rating, that’s not much of a sacrifice.
SSD: SanDisk Ultra Plus SDSSDHP-256G-G25
Still shaving nickels to collect scrap metal, I turned to our Best SSDs For The Money column. First recognized for its performance and value in SanDisk Ultra Plus SSD Reviewed At 64, 128, And 256 GB, this drive remains atop our list of 256 GB models.
Hard Drive: Western Digital Green WD20EZRX
A 200-300 GB SSD fills up quickly with programs and games, and most users still need additional space for all their movies, pictures, work files, and documents. September’s build had 3 TB of extra storage, but budget restrictions scaled this build back to 2 TB.
Apart from compatibility issues with a few older systems and some shipping damage complaints, Western Digital's 2 TB Green drive looks fairly good from Newegg's user reviews. It's not a top performer, but does serve up plenty of capacity quietly, and features 64 MB of cache to help it along.
Optical Drive: Pioneer BDR-208DBK
Short on cash but still full of dreams, I looked to previous System Builder Marathon stories to find a cheap, full-featured Blu-ray burner for redundant storage and media playback. The trick was to find an OEM drive with the software suite typically lacking from OEM packages.
Unfortunately, I lost the bet on this one. Unlike its BDR-206DBK, Pioneer's BDR-208DBK really doesn’t include software. It’s still a good drive though, and I really couldn’t afford to pay any more than its low $60 price.
- Making Tough Choices In Volatile Markets
- Graphics, Memory, And CPU
- Motherboard, CPU Cooling And Case
- Power Supply, SSD, Hard Drive, And Optical Drive
- Radiator Installation
- Finishing The Build
- Overclocking Through Firmware
- Final Touches
- Benchmarking Configurations
- Results: 3DMark And PCMark
- Results: SiSoftware Sandra
- Results: Battlefield 3 And Far Cry 3
- Results: F1 2012 And Skyrim
- Results: Audio And Video Encoding
- Results: Adobe Creative Suite
- Results: Productivity
- Results: File Compression
- Power, Heat, And Efficiency
- Value Conclusion