Price Drops = More Graphics?
System Builder Marathon, March 2011: The Articles
Here are links to each of the five 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 fill out this Google form, and be sure to read the complete rules before entering!
Day 1: The $2,000 Performance PC
Day 2: The $1,000 Enthusiast PC
Day 3: The $500 Gaming PC
Day 4: Performance And Value, Dissected
Day 5: Tom's Hand-Picked SuperCombo
So satisfied were we in our initial System Builder Marathon machines that it was difficult to find a “replacement” for this month’s hand-picked build. Yet careful consideration for Intel’s P67 re-launch and AMD’s Radeon HD 6970 price drop forced us to consider alternatives anyway. The Radeon HD 6970 offers both higher clock speeds and a greater number of shaders for improved game performance compared to the original $2000 build’s Radeon HD 6950s, and best value pricing came from MSI.
Yet, even at the reduced price, the graphics upgrade would still force us to economize on some other part of the PC. We still liked the rest of our original build too much to sacrifice any of it, so motherboard manufacturers made the decision for us. MSI’s P67A-GD65 (B3) was the only CrossFire-capable LGA 1155 motherboard at Newegg by the second week of this month, and this part would save us $90 compared to the NF200-equipped model it replaced.
Graphics lane width would drop from x16 to x8 mode for each of our cards, but that couldn’t hurt much could it? The rest of our machine appeared the same, after all.
|$2000 PC Components|
|Row 0 - Cell 0||"Hand Picked" Build||Original $2000 PC|
|Motherboard||MSI P67A-GD65 (B3): LGA 1155, Intel P67 Express||Asus P8P67 WS Revolution: LGA 1155, Intel P67 Express|
|Graphics||2 x MSI R6970-2PM2D2GD5: Radeon HD 6970 2 GB, CrossFire||2 x XFX HD-695A-CNFC: Radeon HD 6950 2 GB, CrossFire|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-2600K: 3.4 GHz-3.8 GHz, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache|
|Memory||G.Skill F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM: DDR3-1600 C8, 4 GB x 2 (8 GB)|
|System Drive||2 x A-Data S599 64 GB, SATA 3Gb/s SSD|
|Storage Drive||Samsung F3 HD103SJ 1 TB, 7200 RPM HDD|
|Optical||Lite-On iHBS212 BD-RE: 12x BD-R, 24x DVD±R, 48x CD-R|
|Case||Antec Three Hundred Illusion|
|Power||Seasonic SS-850HT: 850 W, ATX12V v2.31, 80 PLUS Silver|
|Heat Sink||Scythe Mugen 2 Rev. B (SCMG-2100)|
|Row 11 - Cell 0||$1,959||$1,975|
Now when you win the second PC, there will be no need for sadness: You can upgrade it with the motherboard from the first!
This is why the SBM is the best thing going. A few other sites do similar articles, but Tom's is far and away the champion. Another well respected site doesn't even build the systems, but Tom's builds three (or four!) and gives 'em away like sweet delicious candy. Every build has its's own quirks, issues, and performance wins (losses too) that can't always be understood until the gear arrives and goes together. If system building was entirely predictable, no one would build their own. It's just more fun this way.
Anyway, i never understood why intel went with just 16 lanes on SB yet all the mobo makers market their ultra high end cross fire boards. :pt1cable:
Thing I'm wondering is, if intel switched to 24 lanes, could the graphics cards work at 12x each for 2 way, and 8x for 3 way? i know a full 32 lanes is unlikely, that's why I'm asking.