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System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: $800 Enthusiast PC

Video Card, Power Supply, And Case

Video Card: PowerColor PCS+ AX7870 Myst Edition

Don't let its name fool you; the GPU in this graphics card is actually a cut-down Tahiti (check out Tahiti LE, Tested: PowerColor's HD7870 PCS+ Myst Edition). That's right, the same one used in AMD's Radeon HD 7900-series cards. 

Previously, the Pitcairn-based Radeon HD 7870 with 1,280 shaders and 1,200 MHz memory was this segment's price/performance leader. But this card, with 1,536 shaders and 1,500 MHz memory, beats it.

Read Customer Reviews of PowerColor's PCS+ AX7870 Myst Edition

At $240 on Newegg, and with stock performance closer to the 1,792-shader Radeon HD 7950, this graphics card allows our $800 enthusiast-oriented PC to remain competitive in the high-end gaming arena.

Power Supply: Antec Neo Eco 520C 520 W

Read Customer Reviews of Antec's Neo Eco 520C

Although we've been favoring Corsair's CX600 in our mid-range builds lately, today's budget cut forces us to look elsewhere. Antec's Neo Eco 520C has an excellent reputation for a low-priced power supply, and our decision to use an Intel CPU should help keep consumption down compared to the FX-8350 we used last time. At $55, this is an exceptional component for the money.

Case: Xigmatek Asgard II

Read Customer Reviews of Xigmatek's Asgard II

The case is another component that we saved a few dollars on in order to remain within our $800 budget. Thankfully, the Asgard II is a very spacious, elegant-looking case that we can live with. There's only a single 120 mm rear fan, the PSU is top-mounted, and the drives are aligned front-to-back. However, considering the $34 retail price, we can't really complain.

  • DragonClaw
    The table outlining the components of the build. It should read 800$ and not 1000$, I think?
    Reply
  • abbadon_34
    guessed they reused the previous template, sure it'll be fixed soon and people will wonder what we're talking about
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    Although we're going to miss the snappy boot-up times and almost-instant application launches the solid-state drive enabled, we probably won't be penalized too much in the benchmark results.

    And therein lies the problem with benchmarks.
    An enthusiast PC, without a SSD boot drive?
    Reply
  • manitoublack
    That's a great value PC there. Would be hard pressed to think of a more compelling combination for the money. Well done.

    Reply
  • qTrueno
    The heat sink breaks easily but it is a good cheap solution, as long it doesn't break.
    Reply
  • ipwn3r456
    If this machine were at $1000 budget, might as well add a 128GB SSD, and replace the HD 7870 to a HD 7950.
    Reply
  • butremor
    "Overclocking

    Overclocking the Core i5-3550K is"
    Reply
  • ARICH5
    i think you couldve found a cheaper z77 solution and squieezed in a 64mb cache hdd
    Reply
  • dudewitbow
    ipwn3r456If this machine were at $1000 budget, might as well add a 128GB SSD, and replace the HD 7870 to a HD 7950.

    there would be marginal performance boost from switching from a 7870 LE(nerfed 7950, heck can call it a 7930 and it would be partially correct in a way) to an actual 7950. Though its likely the outcome for the 1k budget coming up next.
    Reply
  • abhijitkalyane
    I really wasn't expecting the AMD chip to be so close to the i5. I'm a bit surprised. The power consumption figures look bad for the FX though.
    Reply