System Builder Marathon, Q2 2013: The Articles
Here are links to each of the four 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 Mini-ITX Gaming PC
Day 2: The $1300 Mini-ITX Enthusiast PC
Day 3: The $2500 Mini-Performance PC
Day 4: Performance And Value, Dissected
Day 5: The $400 "True Spirit of Mini-ITX" PC
We've been hammering away at these System Builder Marathon machines for a while now. We have a pretty good idea how most combinations of hardware are going to perform. And now that Intel's Haswell architecture is available, we're pretty confident that the status quo won't be changing in a meaningful way anytime soon.
So, instead of picking another set of arbitrary budget points and piling in the same old tired parts, as you already know, we picked a new theme: mini-ITX-based boxes. Fitting components into a smaller form factor requires components made for the job, and that necessitates a bigger budget. As a result, we upped the price tag for this PC to $1300.
Naturally, performance records aren't going to be broken. Because we're dealing with pricier parts, it's probable that the full-sized machine I built last quarter is going to be faster. But if this quarter's configuration at least proves comparable, while also offering increased portability, I'll be calling my contribution satisfactory.
Now that you know what we're going for, let's have a look at the components I picked for this round.
|$800 Enthusiast System Components|
|Motherboard||MSI Z77IA-E53, LGA 1155, Intel Z77 Express||$150|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-3570K: 3.4 GHz Base Clock Rate, 3.8 GHz Maximum Turbo Boost, 6 MB Shared L3 Cache||$220|
|Heat Sink||Antec Kuhler H2O 620 Liquid Cooling System||$58|
|Memory||G.Skill RipjawsX Series 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1866 Model F3-14900CL8D-8GBXM||$78|
|Graphics||Sparkle GeForce GTX 680 2 GB 256-bit GDDR5||$420|
|System Drive||Adata XPG SX900 ASX900S3-64GM-C 2.5" 64 GB SATA 6Gb/s (SSD)||$80|
|Storage Drive||Western Digital Black WD1002FAEX 1 TB, 7200 RPM, 64 MB Cache, SATA 6Gb/s||$95|
|Optical||Lite-On iHAS124-04: DVD Burner||$18|
|Case||Lian Li PC-Q08B Black Aluminum Mini-ITX Tower Computer Case||$100|
|Power||Corsair CX750M 750 W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Bronze Modular PSU||$95|
| Total Cost||$1314|
When we placed our orders a while back, I was just slightly over budget. Since then, however, a couple of the sales I was counting on expired, and now my list of hardware costs closer to $1350 on Newegg.
- Mini-ITX For The Enthusiast: Smaller Size, Bigger Budget
- CPU, Motherboard, And Cooler
- Video Card, Power Supply, And Case
- Memory, Hard Drives, And Optical Drive
- System Assembly And Overclocking
- Test System And Benchmarks
- Results: Synthetics
- Results: Media Encoding
- Results: Rendering And Productivity
- Results: Adobe Creative Suite
- Results: Compression Tools
- Results: Battlefield 3 And The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- Results: F1 2012 And Far Cry 3
- Power And Temperature
- Smaller System, More Money, And Greater Performance