System Builder Marathon, December 2010: $2000 PC

Luxurious Performance?

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!

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


Wouldn’t it be great if someone could invent a sports car that combined all the luxury of a Bentley with all the performance of a Bugatti? And wouldn’t it be great if that sports car was priced only as high as a fully-loaded Buick? This combination of performance, luxury, and price actually is possible, but only in the world of PCs.

This month’s $2000 build packs a full range of killer performance components (even a pair of top-end SSD drives), without sacrificing luxury features. SilverStone’s gorgeous unibody case promises to improve cooling and reduce noise at the same time, while a Blu-ray burner adds compatibility with the latest optical media. Could this be our most perfect build yet?

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$2000 Performance PC Component Prices
MotherboardGigabyte X58A-UD3R LGA-1366 Intel X58 Express, ICH10R$210
ProcessorIntel Core i7-950 3.06 GHz Quad-Core$295
MemoryMushkin 998586 6 GB, DDR3-1333 Triple-Channel Kit$80
Graphics2 x EVGA 012-P3-1470-AR, 1.25 GB GeForce GTX 470$520
System Drive2 x A-Data S599 64 GB, SATA 3Gb/s SSD$220
Storage DriveSamsung F3 HD103SJ 1 TB, 7200 RPM HDD$70
OpticalLite-On iHBS112 Blu-ray Drive: 12x BD-R, 16x DVD±R$120
CaseSilverStone Fortress FT02B$250
PowerSilverStone ST85F-P 850 W Modular$150
Heat SinkProlimatech Megahalems Rev.B$62
CPU FanDelta AFC1212D-PWM 3400 RPM, 120 mm$23
Row 11 - Cell 0 Total Cost$2,000

Someone probably noticed by now that we did not pick the fastest parts of each type. But overclocking just might be the secret to getting all that luxury performance into a mid-budget build. All that’s left for us to do is build it, tune it up, and test it!

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • amk09
    The link to enter the giveaway doesn't work!

    I would love to be first to enter :)
  • micr0be
    i think im gona get a revo 2 drive ssd to upgrade my current build.... all thanks to santa !!
  • Tamz_msc
    Its good to know that choosing the wrong memory can affect performance in such a way.
  • fstrthnu
    I'm pretty surprised we didn't see Geforce GTX 570s in this build, I guess they got released too late to make it here.
  • fstrthnu
    >> First time in recent memory
    "Cough Cough" Lame Pun
  • jerreece
    Wow that Mushkin memory really jacked up this benchmark.
  • kkiddu
    Most perfect build ever ? Just read the configs yet, and I think that's a possibility.

    Now don't skin me if the config proves to be a flop in the coming pages. Just read the first page and couldn't resist a comment.
  • hemburger
    Why not replace the two ssd's with a single intel 120gb... same price and now on 35nm
  • kkiddu
    I think this one can be trimmed to a very good $1500 build as well. Change the CPU to i5 760, remove one of the cards, one of the SSDs, and you'll need lower capacity PSU for that, let's slash $30-$50 there, you get a very good PC for $1500.
  • kkiddu
    And oh, cheapen the case as well. There's no free lunch. You gotta sacrifice some silence to gains some frame rates.