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System Builder Marathon, June 2012: $1000 Enthusiast PC

System Builder Marathon, June 2012: $1000 Enthusiast PC
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System Builder Marathon, June 2012: 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 $2000 Performance PC
Day 2: The $1000 Enthusiast PC
Day 3: The $500 Gaming PC
Day 4: Performance And Value, Dissected

Introduction

Although we have a proclivity for Intel's Core i5-2500K in our mid-range System Builder Marathon build, we gave the Core i5-2400 a shot last quarter and put the extra room in our budget to use on an AMD Radeon HD 7970. Unfortunately, our top-rated motherboard had some issues, and our dual-channel memory kit would only run in single-channel mode.

We got a new motherboard into the machine before shipping it off to our lucky contest winner, but we didn't have enough time to run it through our complete benchmark suite first. As a result, we're revisiting the Core i5-2400/Radeon HD 7970 combo this quarter in order to see if the fully-functional configuration offers anything over the problematic arrangement it replaces.

Additionally, we decided to drop out budget this time around, so the mainstream enthusiast PC's limit is down from $1250 to $1000, leaving you that $250 difference for a display or peripherals.

With Nvidia's GeForce GTX 680 perpetually out of stock and the GeForce GTX 670 not yet available when our parts order went in, we thought this would be a good opportunity to gauge how much performance would be compromised if we stripped the SSD, aftermarket cooler, and some memory in an effort to get very powerful hardware into our new budget ceiling.

$1250 Enthusiast System Components
MotherboardGigabyte GA-P67X-UD3-B3
LGA 1155, Intel P67 Express PCH
$120
ProcessorIntel Core i5-2400
3.1 GHz (3.4 GHz Max Turbo Boost), Quad-Core, 6 MB Shared L3 Cache
$190
MemoryAMD Performance Edition 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) DDR3-1600
Dual-Channel Desktop Memory Kit
$34
GraphicsSapphire Radeon HD 7970 OC
  3 GB GDDR5
$480
Hard DriveSeagate Barracuda 750 GB
750 GB, 7200 RPM, 32 MB Cache, SATA 3Gb/s
$80
OpticalLG GH22NS90B 22x OEM
DVD Burner
$18
CaseLogisys Optimus II
$42
PowerCorsair CX600 V2 600 W
ATX12V, EPS12V, 80 PLUS-Certified
$70
 Total Cost$1034


When we placed our order, prices on all of these components landed us right at $1006. But they've gone up a bit since then ($7 on the case, $1 on the DVD burner, and $20 on the graphics card), landing us at $1034. Overall, we still think this one's still pretty close to an attractive price point.

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Top Comments
  • 25 Hide
    ddan49 , June 6, 2012 4:26 AM
    I personally think they went a little TOO overboard on the GPU. Sure, it'll tear through games... but at 4GB of RAM, a non-overclockable i5 CPU, and a P67 motherboard... well... meh...
  • 23 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , June 6, 2012 4:48 AM
    not criticizing, but this build looks like a half-hearted attempt.
    Basically the whole article tests the improvements of a single channel over a dual channel RAM.
  • 16 Hide
    koshadows , June 6, 2012 5:27 AM
    I'm not quite sure how I should respond to both of the system builders comment section from this week. Gtx 670 wasn't available, we know. Stop beating this dead horse. Its just like last quarter's waterfall of "why no 680????"

    As of right now at the time of this post, the sapphire 7970 o/c on newegg is at $480. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102982 So i can only assume whatever price hike has been dealt with?

    Good job on making a computer perform about the same for $250 less! I'm sure if I was to build a computer right now this would give quite a bit of breathing room. Not everyone has quarter of a grand to throw around.

    Downside is it does feel like you guys ran outta ideas on new combinations. I think I'd be kind of interested in either a SLI config 560 ti or 7850s. But the 7850 would've pushed it past budget I think. I'd still vote on the SSD though!
Other Comments
  • 25 Hide
    ddan49 , June 6, 2012 4:26 AM
    I personally think they went a little TOO overboard on the GPU. Sure, it'll tear through games... but at 4GB of RAM, a non-overclockable i5 CPU, and a P67 motherboard... well... meh...
  • -2 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , June 6, 2012 4:47 AM
    i'd put an SSD in any system i build. Its so much better than a HDD.

  • 23 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , June 6, 2012 4:48 AM
    not criticizing, but this build looks like a half-hearted attempt.
    Basically the whole article tests the improvements of a single channel over a dual channel RAM.
  • 7 Hide
    mousseng , June 6, 2012 4:53 AM
    I realize the SBM is sponsored by Newegg, so that means they're only able to get what they can from Newegg?

    Because if not, I would posit that the i5-2380p is a better CPU choice than the i5-2400:
    1) You've not got a huge need for the IGP, what with the 7970 (I could see it could still have use, but I don't think it would be that helpful)
    2) From what I've read on Newegg's page for the 2380p (which they no longer sell), the 2380p is a great overclocker (up to 4.5Ghz according to one reviewer)
    3) It costs the same as the 2400, with the same stock clocks

    Apart from that, I think it's a pretty solid build. A little too much corner-cutting compared to what I would've chosen, but I'd probably put together something rather standard and boring.
  • -4 Hide
    ojas , June 6, 2012 4:54 AM
    Why not use the HAF 912? Wouldn't have had a problem with the 7970.
  • 16 Hide
    koshadows , June 6, 2012 5:27 AM
    I'm not quite sure how I should respond to both of the system builders comment section from this week. Gtx 670 wasn't available, we know. Stop beating this dead horse. Its just like last quarter's waterfall of "why no 680????"

    As of right now at the time of this post, the sapphire 7970 o/c on newegg is at $480. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102982 So i can only assume whatever price hike has been dealt with?

    Good job on making a computer perform about the same for $250 less! I'm sure if I was to build a computer right now this would give quite a bit of breathing room. Not everyone has quarter of a grand to throw around.

    Downside is it does feel like you guys ran outta ideas on new combinations. I think I'd be kind of interested in either a SLI config 560 ti or 7850s. But the 7850 would've pushed it past budget I think. I'd still vote on the SSD though!
  • 1 Hide
    benikens , June 6, 2012 5:48 AM
    Not sure if mentioned, But personally I would've gone with a newer chipset mobo even if your using a sandy-bridge cpu, if you compare features what you get with a h77 motherboard for like $80 is very compelling, intergrated USB 3.0 means you get this at much cheaper prices then before. And you don't need an overclocking chipset if your not buying a k processor. That and even on a board with 16x4x Pcie layout, 4x PCIe 3.0 = 8xPCIe 2.0 which means you can go for lower end mobo and still have viable SLI/Crossfire options (if you use a Ivy-bridge CPU).

    I get that this was an attempt to recover from last quarters ram debacle, but essentially you chose an overpriced GPU, and overpriced and outdated motherboard and a last-gen CPU? It's just not a balanced build, far to much budget wasted on that GPU and I don't know anyone these days spending a thousand bucks and not picking up an SSD, agility 3 60gb drive's are perfect for entry level boot drive and you can find the thing for around ~$70 which could've easily been saved by a more appropriate choice of parts.
  • 6 Hide
    bardacuda , June 6, 2012 6:03 AM
    AAHAHAHAHA!! That picture of the 7970 all tweaked and jammed into the case is just too funny! :D  Quite the slant on the cooler!
  • -1 Hide
    amuffin , June 6, 2012 7:12 AM
    This system is not balanced.
    The point of a GOOD pc, is to have total system balance. Balance, as in the cpu,gpu, etc. are all in the same performance range. In this case, it really isn't balanced.
  • 1 Hide
    cobra5000 , June 6, 2012 7:14 AM
    ddan49May want to put "do" in there, instead

    Are you really that stupid?
  • 2 Hide
    Darkerson , June 6, 2012 7:16 AM
    Could have been worse, I suppose.
  • -2 Hide
    strandiam , June 6, 2012 7:28 AM
    amuffinThis system is not balanced.The point of a GOOD pc, is to have total system balance. Balance, as in the cpu,gpu, etc. are all in the same performance range. In this case, it really isn't balanced.


    Yeah. This looks like a PC built by someone who only wants maximum fps in Battlefield 3 and wasn't concerned about anything else. It will do but I would change pretty much every part if it were my real money.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , June 6, 2012 8:33 AM
    4GB of RAM? You can have +4GB for +$20.

    i5 2400? You can have the 2500K for +$20.

    AMD 7970? Well whoever wins this thing will certainly be lucky, but it is half the cost. This card could have been reduced to one that is lower-end, distributing the cost to the aforementioned RAM and CPU, with a better case and a modular power supply from SeaSonic (there is one which can power this machine for about $60 currently).

    I agree with those who think this combination was simply whipped together. A 7870 can max out a $250 monitor, for example. Why do you need such a high-end card for this?
  • 0 Hide
    xtreme5 , June 6, 2012 8:49 AM
    not bad!
  • 2 Hide
    sirencall , June 6, 2012 9:24 AM
    I got a z68 gigabyte board from newegg for about 90 bucks, with the ssd slot thingy (I know, I forgot the name of the port) I would think that would have been a better pick since it is better for overclocking....also cheaper so you could have gotten a 2500K, like I did lol. My whole build costed me about 450 plus and I have 8 gigs of ram @1866. If I went with cheaper case you probably could have still squeezed in that 7970 comfortably.
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