System Builder Marathon, Sept. 2010: $2000 Performance PC

Case And Power

Case: SilverStone Raven RV02

The low-cost case selected for our June 2010 $2000 PC received a great deal of criticism leveled mostly at its price, as many readers felt that a more elaborate solution was mandated to showcase the machine’s high-end internal hardware. Selected for its excellent airflow, low noise, and high build quality, we had no problem defending a chassis that exemplified our high-end-value focus.

Yet as nice as that system was, a pair of extra-hot graphics cards and room for a third caused us to look for an even higher level of cooling in this month’s build.

Read Customer Reviews of SilverStone's Raven RV02


Based on the design of its Fortress 2, SilverStone’s Raven RV02 economizes slightly in both scale and materials, using medium-gauge steel rather than aluminum to reach its moderate 19.8” height. It retains the trio of 180 mm intake fans from more-expensive predecessors, while dropping to a value-oriented $160 price.

Anyone who can’t figure out why the intake fans are on the bottom and the slot covers on top need only look at our component installation details, or the previously-mentioned Fortress 2 Review, to figure out the details.

Power: Cooler Master Silent Pro 1000 W

Cooler Master makes a wide range of high-quality and mid-range products in a similarly broad price range, but sometimes the lower-cost parts undermine its reputation amongst the fussiest of enthusiasts. That’s a shame for the company, as extensive research reveals that the Silent Pro M (Modular) RSA00-AMBAJ3-US is a solid part, with good features and efficiency to back up its high amperage capabilities.

Read Customer Reviews of Cooler Master's Silent Pro 1000 W


This 80 PLUS Bronze-certified, semi-modular part comes with an enormous 80 A single 12 V rail design for only $165. Cooler Master adds two vibration-dampening rubber end caps to the modular cables of the unit’s installation kit.

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    Top Comments
  • cangelini
    Folks,
    Please bear in mind that the choices for these System Builder Marathon systems are often the product of reader feedback. We do three or four Intel-based builds in a row and everyone starts asking why we're not giving AMD a chance to shine. This quarter, Thomas wanted to address those comments.
    The next two builds will come over the next two days--that's why we call it a marathon ;)
    Thanks all!
    Chris
    26
  • proofhitter
    Big CPU fail. I love your honesty, good one Tom's! Nice try nevertheless. Keep it up!
    25
  • IzzyCraft
    Love the case choice everything else is pretty much can't really hate it or love it, but i mean you can't really hate any of the parts when they cost that much as they are all good but some just not right for some jobs.
    I do not care for AMD and SLI just because you'll be using an nvidia chipset and my past experiences with them have been poor.
    I also do not care for 6 cores for games although i mostly use my computer for other things which may like those 6 cores, but i don't find too many uses for 2 480's outside of gaming.

    Hopefully the next one will be one i can't help but agree with, A i5-750/760 with 2 460's in sli :D
    22
  • Other Comments
  • IzzyCraft
    Love the case choice everything else is pretty much can't really hate it or love it, but i mean you can't really hate any of the parts when they cost that much as they are all good but some just not right for some jobs.
    I do not care for AMD and SLI just because you'll be using an nvidia chipset and my past experiences with them have been poor.
    I also do not care for 6 cores for games although i mostly use my computer for other things which may like those 6 cores, but i don't find too many uses for 2 480's outside of gaming.

    Hopefully the next one will be one i can't help but agree with, A i5-750/760 with 2 460's in sli :D
    22
  • Tamz_msc
    This month's SBM is forgettable.It confirms that AMD+SLI = BIG fail.
    15
  • Tamz_msc
    A better option( without sacrificing GTX 480 SLI) in my opinion is:
    Core i7 950 (add 100$)
    GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R (add 50$)
    GSkill 6GB RAM(subtract 70$)
    8
  • proofhitter
    Big CPU fail. I love your honesty, good one Tom's! Nice try nevertheless. Keep it up!
    25
  • jrharbort
    The lesson here? AMD hexacores are still the best value on the market, but is still unable to keep up with the i7 in overall performance clock for clock. It's sadly not the best choice in high end systems, but it still wont stop me from recomending it to friends interested in sub-$1000 systems.
    14
  • sassan_88
    I dont like systems Based on AMD's chipset
    -25
  • jj463rd
    With Sandybridge and Bulldozer just right around the corner I don't think that it makes any sense to build right now with current (especially CPU + motherboard)components.
    -13
  • Crashman
    jj463rdWith Sandybridge and Bulldozer just right around the corner I don't think that it makes any sense to build right now with current (especially CPU + motherboard)components.

    Maybe not...this system was built a couple months ago.
    3
  • makwy2
    Love the honesty. I think this is just shows that a MUCH cheaper AMD chip ($700 less) is close but not quite in true competition with the top of the line Intel chip. I'll stick to my AMD chips because I am not made of money.

    Again, I love the honesty and straight talk TH brings with these bi-monthly features that give system builders a real idea about performance and cost-effective parts.
    21
  • aaron92
    I really do value the AMD Hex vs Intel, 6 cores is already cutting edge and 12 threads is going beyond a desktop computer for this year atleast.
    2
  • dirtmountain
    Good article, you never know how some things will work out until you try them. Kudos to Mr. Soderstrom for putting a different build together and not sticking to the same old pattern.
    22
  • rutoojinn
    If you looked at Tom's best CPU for the money every month. The tier list at the end of the articles shows what tier the AMD x6 is at. Basically an i5 750 or 760 cpu is ranked higher than the Phoenom II x6 cpu. They are basically the same price around $200. So around that price range it just depends which brand you would go for. I prefer the i5 and this months set up I appreciate what Tom tried to do.
    9
  • enzo matrix
    sassan_88I dont like systems Based on AMD's chipset

    As opposed to Nvidia's chipset of which many in the past few years are well known for their overheating and failing? I've had an 8200m fail on me completely. My friend had his 6150 in his notebook overheat so badly his battery was at less than max capacity within a year (from heat exposure).
    The only good ones have been the 6100 and the 7xxx series.
    -1
  • Stardude82
    8 GB of RAM is still excessive...
    -4
  • ScoobyJooby-Jew
    well, all the adds i see for the amd six cores read "our six or their four?". I think a 1055 should be tested against a Hyperthreaded quad, and a non hyperthreaded quad. that would be an interesting test
    2
  • Christopher1
    What is with the AMD chip in this machine? I would have thought that a CoreI7 chip would have been a better choice!
    -9
  • Judguh
    Stardude828 GB of RAM is still excessive...

    I would actually like to see a small article on RAM usage on a PC during various uses and scenarios and to show where more RAM or faster RAM would be more beneficial.
    15
  • Randomacts
    They are only showing the $2000 computer? What about the $500 and $1000 one?
    -14
  • mosu
    Just plain stupid choice of components, don't blame AMD.Why didn't you choose single Radeon 5970 and 1090T,even with 8 gigs of RAM.
    -11
  • cangelini
    Folks,
    Please bear in mind that the choices for these System Builder Marathon systems are often the product of reader feedback. We do three or four Intel-based builds in a row and everyone starts asking why we're not giving AMD a chance to shine. This quarter, Thomas wanted to address those comments.
    The next two builds will come over the next two days--that's why we call it a marathon ;)
    Thanks all!
    Chris
    26