System Builder Marathon, May 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).
- Day 1: The $2,500 Performance PC
- Day 2: The $1,300 Enthusiast PC
- Day 3: The $600 Gaming PC
- Day 4: Performance and Value Dissected
The SBM contest is live! Enter to win one of our three systems right here.
Tom’s Hardware looks to your feedback in article planning. One of the most frequent of many System Builder Marathon (SBM) themes you’ve proposed in our comments section is that of the “gaming cube,” and that's why all three of this month's configurations attempt to maximize the performance potential available with portable enclosures.
Forget the term small form-factor cases (SFF) when thinking of Micro-ATX cubes, since “form factors” are dimensional standards that apply to internal components. SFF originated with the two-slot designs of Shuttle barebones PCs, so the insistence of some manufacturers on using the term to describe much larger and completely incompatible Micro-ATX parts only serves to confuse inexperienced builders.
With portability our first priority, we tried to stuff as many high-end parts as our budget would allow into the most portable Micro-ATX case we could find. Here’s what we came up with:
|$2,500 Portable PC Performance Parts Prices|
DFI LANParty Jr X58-T3H6 Micro-ATX
Intel Core i7-920
Mushkin 998679 6.0 GB DDR3-1600
2 x EVGA GeForce GTX 295 in SLI
2 x Western Digital RE3 WD50002ABYS (RAID 0)
LG GGC-H20LK Blu-ray Disk/HD-DVD ROM
Silverstone SG04B-H Micro-ATX Mini-Tower
Corsair CMPSU-1000HX Modular 1,000 W
2 x Scythe S-Flex SFF21F 120 mm, 1,600 RPM, 63.7 CFM at 28.0 dBA
Silverstone RL-FX121 Cross Flow Blower
While we stick to the above price list as our recommended configuration, a serious shortage of GeForce GTX 295 boards forced us to buy the only model in stock at ordering time, resulting in some visually-different but functionally-identical replacement products. We’re fairly certain that the lucky winner of today’s build will be pleased with the overall result.
Ed.: Wait, what was that? The lucky winner? That's right folks. We're going to be giving away this system, plus the two machines to follow tomorrow and the day after. Once the SBM series has run its course this week, look for a contest page to go up on the front page of the site. You'll need to answer one question about each of our configurations and will then be entered into a drawing for one of this month's three SBM builds!
- Hot Tips For A Cool System–Or Vice Versa?
- Case And System Cooling
- Motherboard, Graphics, And Power
- CPU, Memory, And Drives
- Hardware Installation
- BIOS And Overclocking
- Test Settings
- Benchmark Results: Crysis, Far Cry 2
- Benchmark Results: Clear Sky And World In Conflict
- Benchmark Results: A/V Encoding
- Benchmark Results: Productivity
- Benchmark Results: Synthetic
- Power And Heat