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Here are links to each of the five 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, including the Bonus Customer Choice PC, which we picked out using the highest-rated components in Newegg's feedback system.
To enter the giveaway, please fill out this SurveyGizmo form, and be sure to read the complete rules before entering!
Tom’s Hardware editors often look to you guys, our audience, for suggestions. We've even been known to poll you for your own suggestions when it comes to picking System Builder Marathon parts. And then we receive comments out of the blue that also strike us as genius. One such note that received particular editorial attention came from reader Bill Martens:
"…(Tom’s) should build a system just based on “customer rankings” and compare it to the other systems you are building. By choosing only the top-rated component in each sub-area from Newegg, I was able to assemble a very high-performing $1000 rig…”
Now, that sounds like a plan! Even though we get our fair share of complaints about components that we know darn well are good pieces of hardware, in general, the audience consensus is usually right on the money.
Of course, this concept requires a few concessions. For instance, if the best-rated motherboard is a Socket AM3+ platform and the most popular processor comes from Intel, well, that's a problem. So, we end up choosing either the first or second item from each of Newegg’s “Best Rating” menus, based on its compatibility with other parts in the system.
We determined that the number-two rated graphics card, EVGA’s GeForce GTX 560 Ti, was a great match for the top-rated Core i5-2500K CPU and DZ68BC motherboard. The top-rated graphics option was a GeForce GTX 550, and we know well enough to go heavier on graphics performance for such a capable processor.
|Newegg Customer Choice $1600 PC Components|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-2500K: 3.3GHz-3.7GHz, 6 MB Cache||$220|
|Graphics||2 x EVGA 01G-P3-1561-AR: GTX 560 Ti 1 GB, SLI||$460|
|Motherboard||Intel DZ68BC: LGA 1155, Intel Z68 Express||$200|
|Memory||G.Skill F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL: DDR3-1600 C9, 4 GB x 2 (8 GB)||$47|
|System Drive||Crucial m4 CT128M4SSD2: 128 GB, SATA 6Gb/s SSD||$165|
|Storage Drive||Seagate Barracuda ST500DM005: 0.5 TB, 7200 RPM HDD||$85|
|Optical||Asus DRW-24B1ST: 24x DVD±R, 48x CD-R||$20|
|Case||Antec Nine Hundred||$100|
|Power||Corsair CMPSU-750HX: 750 W, ATX/EPS12V Semi-Modular, 80 PLUS Silver||$150|
|CPU Cooler||Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1||$30|
| Total Cost||$1477|
Crucial’s number 2 rated 128 GB M4 SSD was also chosen over its top rated 64 GB model, since the larger capacity more closely matches the market level of this build’s CPU, Graphics and Motherboard. G.Skills 4 GB kit also topped the list, but the next-best-rating brought us similar modules in the mid-market-preferred 8 GB capacity. And all of these #1’s and #2’s are a perfect match for Newegg’s customer-choice Corsair CMPSU-750HX and Hyper 212 Plus cooler.
With all this money spent on customer-favorite parts, we caught a little performance hunger and decided to double up on graphics cards. The power supply supported it, and 30% of our comparative performance score comes from games.