System Builder Marathon, Q2 2013: $1300 Enthusiast PC

Results: Media Encoding

Most of our audio and video encoding benchmarks are dominated by processor performance, though we're seeing a gradual shift toward GPU-accelerated applications, too. At least for the time being, though, the first two benchmarks we're running (iTunes and LAME) are measures of single-threaded processor performance, while the latter two (HandBrake and TotalCode Studio) exploit as many x86 cores as we throw at them.

Because last and this quarter's PCs both employ the same processor and overclock similarly, the benchmark data we generate is naturally almost the same, too.

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  • Madn3ss795
    I'm against using Corsair CX PSU in a mid-end build. You also admitted that 750w is overkill. 90$ can get you a SeaSonic M12II 620 Bronze with much better components.

    Additionally, Samsung 840 120gb only costs 20$ more than the Adata XPG SX900 64.
    10
  • tomate2
    its nice to see Toms trying something new like a mini itx build on the system builder marathon
    10
  • Other Comments
  • Madn3ss795
    I'm against using Corsair CX PSU in a mid-end build. You also admitted that 750w is overkill. 90$ can get you a SeaSonic M12II 620 Bronze with much better components.

    Additionally, Samsung 840 120gb only costs 20$ more than the Adata XPG SX900 64.
    10
  • itzsnypah
    Anymore these days all SBM gives me is a good laugh. Maybe it's because I've gone more elitist as my component knowledge increases or mabye that SBM builders don't have free reign on what brands they can buy.

    Did you know that a 250gb Samsung 840 has been holding at ~$180 for months and that a 750w PSU in a mITX system makes you look unintelligent? Or that 2133 ram costs the same as 1866?

    I think it's time you guys start building machines you would actually own and not ones that tops the charts but are horridly flawed.
    1
  • tomate2
    its nice to see Toms trying something new like a mini itx build on the system builder marathon
    10
  • Someone Somewhere
    So, ways I think this is dumb:
    • DDR3-1866. Save $20 and get -1600.
    • WD Black as a storage drive. I'd consider it overpriced as a boot drive. Save $35.
    • Geven the 770 and 680 are basically the same card (in fact the 770 may be slightly better), save $30 and get the 770.
    • More than $1 per GB on an SSD. For $10 more you can get a 120GB 840.
    • 750W PSU. You're trolling me. That could run two of them.


    And yeah, title on page 3 refers to a non-existent Sapphire 680.
    -6
  • vmem
    Awesome idea picking the mini ITX theme btw, we're long overdue for one :)

    just a thought, while we're on themes, maybe a pure number cruncher/work-horse for the next SBM? could be fun for the "all work and no play" folks out there :P
    3
  • agnickolov
    Personally I'd save money on the HDD with a cheaper 1TB for $60 and use the money for a larger 128GB SSD. Considering you can get one for as low as $90-$100, that would even balance the budget...
    1
  • cangelini
    Anonymous said:
    So, ways I think this is dumb:
    * DDR3-1866. Save $20 and get -1600.
    * WD Black as a storage drive. I'd consider it overpriced as a boot drive. Save $35.
    * Geven the 770 and 680 are basically the same card (in fact the 770 may be slightly better), save $30 and get the 770.
    * More than $1 per GB on an SSD. For $10 more you can get a 120GB 840.
    * 750W PSU. You're trolling me. That could run two of them.

    And yeah, title on page 3 refers to a non-existent Sapphire 680.


    GTX 770 wasn't an option when Don placed his order--says so right on the same page three where you found the Sapphire typo ;-)

    Don will have to defend his other component choices (against you guys *and* Paul/Thomas).
    3
  • agnickolov
    A question on the Visual Studio benchmark - is it run from the SSD for this build? That would explain the significant performance delta at stock clocks...
    0
  • CaptainTom
    This build is a total joke. So much could be done better. A 680 really? That card has been a joke since the 670 and 7970 GHz, but now the 770 has made it completely irrelevant...
    0
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    Did you know that a 250gb Samsung 840 has been holding at ~$180 for months and that a 750w PSU in a mITX system makes you look unintelligent? Or that 2133 ram costs the same as 1866?
    Did you know that the $180 SSD would have blown his system even farther out of budget, that readers have spoken out against both DDR3-1866 AND DDR3-2133 as unimportant to real-world performance, or that power supply size is dictated by components and not case size? What were you saying about intelligence?
    Anonymous said:
    This build is a total joke. So much could be done better. A 680 really? That card has been a joke since the 670 and 7970 GHz, but now the 770 has made it completely irrelevant...
    While I probably would have gone with a 7970 or 670 to save money, the 680 isn't really that bad by comparison. And the 770? I'm surprised you didn't read any of the previous comments. These systems were ordered in April. As an experienced commenter you knew these articles take weeks to prepare, but you opened up about parts that weren't available weeks ago anyway? For shame Captain, I expected so much more from you...

    To the both of you: I'm a little rough on Don for not pushing his RAM even though it doesn't make much performance difference, but only because he's a competitor. And his power supply might be over-rated, but he's probably just trying to dodge the complaints of other readers who demand excessive capacity. All in all he's only wasted what, 10% of his budget? I'm sure most of you would find some other way to waste 10% of your budgets.

    BTW, if you hate his power supply for being ridiculously over-capacity and somewhat middle-quality, you're going to have a love/hate relationship with mine :)
    1
  • slomo4sho
    The extra $500 doesn't provide much performance boost. Not sure if the 62.5% price premium justifies the modest performance increases and the small form factor.


    Anonymous said:
    or that power supply size is dictated by components and not case size? What were you saying about intelligence?


    I am sure this is what he was implying...



    The PSU from the $650 build was more than enough for this build as well. The hardware choices made in this build are rather poor and wasteful.
    1
  • virtualban
    Why is this 1300 machine matched against last quarter's 800? If I recall correctly, last quarter had also a 1000$ machine.
    Yes you would not have comparisons for your 2600$ beast. Last quarter's 1000$ machine could be a comparison token to the 1300 and 2600.
    0
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:

    I am sure this is what he was implying...



    The PSU from the $650 build was more than enough for this build as well. The hardware choices made in this build are rather poor and wasteful.
    But that has nothing to do with the motherboard form factor. The guy specifically said that high capacity power is idiotic for ITX, and I pointed out that ITX has no bearing on the selection. The intelligent builder picks his capacity based on the parts he's powering.

    Don's over-capacious choice would have been similar over-capacious in a full-sized build, if he'd used the same CPU, GPU, DRAM and drives.
    -1
  • Someone Somewhere
    It could be said though that an ATX build has the option for a second GPU, which would make the 750W a reasonable choice. In ITX, that option is completely removed.

    Still way overkill though.
    4
  • ojas
    Interesting, if i had to do a mini-ITX build, i'd probably build something similar...probably use a different PSU, SSD and HDD (RAM too, maybe), but otherwise it's a fairly balanced build, i think.

    I would have probably given up overclocking and gone with a lower wattage CPU...i was sort of expecting someone to do that.

    That brings me to a suggestion, could next quarter's SBM have "low power" as a theme? Like, lowest power, temps and noise, but highest performance. Maybe restrict that to mATX or mini-ITX as well.

    Or have an SBM that tries to beat console performance for a similar price (this could be Q4 2013 or Q1 2014). Thomas would have to match them in power, noise and thermals while posting 60 fps at 1080p maxed out, Paul and Don could battle at $400 and $500 respectively.
    3
  • nvidiamd
    Intel Core i5-3570K = 220$
    GIGABYTE GA-Z77N-WIFI = 120$
    CORSAIR Hydro Series H60 = 66$
    G.SKILL Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) ddr 1600 = 68$
    MSI Gaming N770 TF 2GD5/OC GeForce GTX 770 = 400$
    Intel 335 Series Jay Crest SSDSC2CT180A4K5 2.5" 180GB SATA = 175$
    Western Digital WD Blue WD10EZEX 1TB 7200 RPM = 70$
    ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS = 19$
    BitFenix Prodigy Red = 80$
    SILVERSTONE ST60F-P 600W = 85$

    total = 1303$
    0
  • de5_Roy
    Anonymous said:
    Intel Core i5-3570K = 220$
    GIGABYTE GA-Z77N-WIFI = 120$
    CORSAIR Hydro Series H60 = 66$
    G.SKILL Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) ddr 1600 = 68$
    MSI Gaming N770 TF 2GD5/OC GeForce GTX 770 = 400$
    Intel 335 Series Jay Crest SSDSC2CT180A4K5 2.5" 180GB SATA = 175$
    Western Digital WD Blue WD10EZEX 1TB 7200 RPM = 70$
    ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS = 19$
    BitFenix Prodigy Red = 80$
    SILVERSTONE ST60F-P 600W = 85$

    total = 1303$

    shoulda added the cost of the time machine needed to deliver the gtx770 back in april. ;) the extra cost easily goes over the $1300 limit.

    an evga gtx 670 on the other hand....

    edit:
    imo, it goes for all the people using current prices and parts. please calculate the cost of a time travelling device into the final tally. :ange: shipping should be a nightmare...
    2
  • aebome
    What with the component choices? First, a 64GB SSD when one double that capacity is only $20 more? Here's your $20: Drop the ridiculous 750W PSU and get a Seasonic G Series 550W GOLD power supply for $80 and get a well reviewed 1600 ram kit, like a Mushkin Blackline or similar for $65. That's $28 dollars that will buy a good 120/128 GB SSD. That's not even counting the extra spent on a WD Black drive for use as storage drive (um why?). Case choice is subjective, but that interior is cramped, even for Mini-ITX, why not use a Bitfenix prodigy, with a superior layout for less money?

    I'm in the market for a micro atx or mini-itx build, and while I love this SBM format, the choices here are just poor. I think one of the non-builder writers needs to start reducing scores for bad choices, or something to clean up these builds.
    1
  • Chris Kemper
    On the whole, I really like this build. For myself, I would like to see a few differences (thanks to the pour of the hourglass)

    I would like to see the impact of a upper end 7 series card (if appropriately priced) in a month or so along with 3D gaming reviews (thanks Helix)

    Just a thought here:
    1 – 240/256 GB SSD mounted to the Floor (Remove 64 GB ) [-$80 + $185]
    2 – Remove the Drive Cage (and the 1 TB Mech HD) [-$100]
    3 – Place the radiator and fan blowing out on the front of the case
    4 – Remove the external top fan
    5 – Still within cost ($ 14 over original budget) [-$80 + $185] + [-$100] = $5 higher, or $19 over budget

    I believe the 240 GB drive is enough for OS and games (Windows 7, Office, Bloat takes 45 GB; Skyrim takes 6 GB, Bioshock takes 20 GB; that leaves 145 GB for storage and more games assuming one leaves 10% of the HD free). Also, music streaming services/unRaid/Amazon Cloud sync/etc, has for me at least, rendered local storage of most media on my gaming rig a negative.

    In addition to removing the cosmetic blemish, the case would have less air restriction with the drive cage yanked, no?

    1 complication – a 120 to 140mm fan adapter ($7 more) will be needed up front. Alternatively one could spend $20 more for a Corsair H90 which uses 140mm

    This puts us at $49 over budget (if going with the Corsair). That can be pulled back down by going with DDR3-1600 (-$20) and a 770 (-$30).

    Again, you have my thanks. Cheers!
    0
  • Onus
    Anonymous said:
    ...
    That brings me to a suggestion, could next quarter's SBM have "low power" as a theme? Like, lowest power, temps and noise, but highest performance. Maybe restrict that to mATX or mini-ITX as well.

    Or have an SBM that tries to beat console performance for a similar price (this could be Q4 2013 or Q1 2014). Thomas would have to match them in power, noise and thermals while posting 60 fps at 1080p maxed out, Paul and Don could battle at $400 and $500 respectively.

    I like both of these ideas. I think the competition that surrounds the SBM cycles may preclude it though. Fix that by switching to a points system, especially for games. Under 30FPS=0 points, 30-60 on a sliding scale, 60-120 on another [diminished] sliding scale (only because some people have 3D monitors), and 120+FPS gets the same score, i.e. 150FPS scores no higher than 120FPS.
    Anonymous said:
    I Win:
    .
    .
    .
    Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card ($389.99 @ NCIX US)
    Notes:
    .
    .
    .
    -HD7970 - Cheaper, more OC headroom, better performance than the GTX 680, higher power consumption
    .
    .
    .

    You lose. That's one of the few video cards that may be too big for this case. Worse, it does not exhaust its heat, and that is a HUGE problem in this case.
    Anonymous said:
    On the whole, I really like this build...
    .
    .
    .
    1 – 240/256 GB SSD mounted to the Floor (Remove 64 GB ) [-$80 + $185]
    2 – Remove the Drive Cage (and the 1 TB Mech HD) [-$100]
    3 – Place the radiator and fan blowing out on the front of the case
    4 – Remove the external top fan
    .
    .
    .

    The SSD in this case mounts under the optical drive. There is not another mount point for one. There wouldn't be room on the floor because of the video card. If you meant under the mobo, I don't believe there is quite enough room, not without hitting the cooler mounts.
    The front fan is fitted into a bracket. I'm not sure how readily you could put the radiator there, but I'm not optimistic.
    I agree that the external fan destroys the elegance of this case. More in another post...
    0