System Builder Marathon, December 2010: 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). And remember, these systems are all being given away at the end of the marathon.
To enter the giveaway, please check out this Google form, and be sure to read the complete rules before entering!
Editor's Note: The purpose of the System Builder Marathon is extracting maximum value from enthusiast components at a variety of price points. We come together at the end of the series to see whose build exemplified our goal.
This time around, like last time, Newegg gave us an opportunity to pick the parts we as editors wanted to see--after the fact. Our follow-up build adds a *lot* of value to the first $2000 build, and we're much happier recommending the components in this story.
As before, we've worked with Newegg to make this entire configuration available as a combo build--at a discount to Tom's Hardware readers. The parts we ordered added up to $1920. The prices later dropped to $1865. Using Newegg's Combo link, the same setup is selling for $1752. That's pretty impressive for a setup we already thought was a solid value close to $2000!
This is the second System Builder Marathon where we’ve had a chance to address the shortcomings of a previous build, and the second time we’ve chosen to focus on the $2000 PC for those improvements. After all, we were incredibly impressed with the performance profile of the original, yet still saw some incredible opportunities for betterment.
Minor misgivings over things like the price of the case aside (it was a very nice case), the real issue was that we tried to get more value for our dollar by purchasing highly-overclockable D9KPT-based memory in a budget kit, only to find that the manufacturer had changed suppliers.
This time, we’d start with memory of guaranteed quality. But the increased price for memory would force us to scale back our case budget. We’d also ditch the overkill cooling fan for something that didn’t require management software to retain OSHA-compliant noise levels, and address the improvements AMD recently made to the enthusiast graphics market with a product released after our original system had been ordered.
|$2000 Performance PC Components|
|Alternative $2000 PC||Original $2000 PC|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte X58A-UD3R: LGA 1366, Intel X58 Express, ICH10R|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-950: 3.06 GHz, Quad-Core, Eight-threads|
DDR3-1600 CAS 7, 6 GB
DDR3-1333 CAS 9, 6 GB
|Graphics||2 x Gigabyte GV-R687D5-1GD-B|
1 GB Radeon HD 6870
|2 x EVGA 012-P3-1470-AR|
1.28 GB GeForce GTX 470
|System Drive||2 x A-Data S599 64 GB: SATA 3Gb/s MLC SSD|
|Storage Drive||Samsung F3 HD103SJ: 1 TB, 7200 RPM HDD|
|Optical||Lite-On iHBS212 BD-RE:|
12x BD-R, 2x BD-RE, 16x DVD±R
|Lite-On iHBS112 BD-RE:|
12x BD-R, 2x BD-RE, 16x DVD±R
|Case||Corsair Graphite Series 600T||SilverStone Fortress FT02B|
850 W, 80 PLUS Silver
850 W, Modular, 80 PLUS Silver
|Heat Sink||Prolimatech Megahalems Rev.B|
|CPU Fan||Cooler Master R4-BMBS-20PK-R0 2000 RPM, 120 mm||Delta AFC1212D-PWM 3400 RPM, 120 mm|
Can this build provide better performance, lower cost, and more efficiency than the original? Let’s have a closer look.
- The Perfect PC?
- Graphics And Memory
- Case And Power
- Motherboard, CPU, And CPU Cooler
- System, Storage, And Optical Drives
- Hardware Installation
- Test Settings
- Benchmark Results: 3DMark And PCMark
- Benchmark Results: SiSoftware Sandra
- Benchmark Results: Crysis
- Benchmark Results: F1 2010
- Benchmark Results: Just Cause 2
- Benchmark Results: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of Pripyat
- Benchmark Results: Audio And Video Encoding
- Benchmark Results: Productivity
- Power, Heat, And Efficiency
- Value Conclusion