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System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: $1,000 Performance PC

Case, Power, And CPU Cooling

Cases that include power supplies are my first choice when building on a budget. For instance, Antec's NSK 4480B comes with the company's high-efficiency EarthWatts 380, giving us a solid PSU and a 0.8 mm-thick steel chassis for only $100. But I wasn’t confident that a 380 W power supply would be enough in thise situation.

Case: Rosewill Redbone U3

Slightly thinner (and consequently more prone to flex) than Antec’s solution, Rosewill’s Redbone U3 saves us a bit of cash that we plan to spend on a beefier power supply. And, unlike competitively-priced solutions, the U3’s front-panel USB 3.0 connectors give me the I/O I've been requiring from all case review submissions lately.

Read Customer Reviews of Rosewill's Redbone U3

With three included fans, the Redbone U3 also offers potential cooling advantages over its competition. That makes us feel a little better, particularly in light of the CPU and GPU cooling limitations we're facing at the $1,000 price point (remember, I'm used to competing with two grand, at least).

Power Supply: Antec Neo Eco 520C 520 W

An 85% efficiency rating qualifies Antec’s Neo Eco for an 80 PLUS Bronze certification, though the company doesn’t apply the Bronze award to this part. It still gives us the added wattage we need to satisfy our maximum theoretical load requirements.

Read Customer Reviews of Antec's Neo Eco 520C

According to 80 PLUS, it takes around 630 W of draw from the wall to generate this unit's 520 W output rating, due to energy lost as heat during conversion. That’s really important to remember, since input power is also used in our efficiency calculations.

CPU Cooling: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus

Read Customer Reviews of Cooler Master's Hyper 212 Plus

Cooler Master’s familiar Hyper 212 Plus doesn't necessarily qualify as a high-end performer, but instead provides adequate cooling performance at a great price. Its capabilities make it a great match to a moderately-efficient CPU like the Ivy Bridge-based Core i5 in today’s build.

  • samuelohagan
    Isn't this basically the same thing as the $800 pc but with an ssd?
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    The only thing i could have tried to change in this build was to get a 64GB SSD , get a 500GB HDD , and if i have any money left, try to get a HD7950.
    Otherwise, not much wriggle room here. Nice build!
    Reply
  • Chairman Ray
    I'm not sure if having an SSD without an HDD is an attractive option for most people. 240GB goes by pretty fast.
    Reply
  • samuelohagan
    I think they should have compared the benchmarks with Q4 $1000 pc.
    Reply
  • lightofhonor
    It actually plays Skyrim WORSE than the $800 build...
    Reply
  • dscudella
    It's the same PC as the $800 build except they just swapped out the HDD for an SSD. Dissappointing.
    Reply
  • where do you order your PC parts?
    Reply
  • Crashman
    mayankleoboy1The only thing i could have tried to change in this build was to get a 64GB SSD , get a 500GB HDD , and if i have any money left, try to get a HD7950.Otherwise, not much wriggle room here. Nice build!No point, We Like Our Games To Load Fast!!!Chairman RayI'm not sure if having an SSD without an HDD is an attractive option for most people. 240GB goes by pretty fast.Programs can eat most of a 240GB drive up. In fact, I just shrunk a copy of the test suite, with OS and games, to 132 GB.

    Using the drive performance measurement to reflect program load times means loading all the programs on the SSD. And that explains why SSD capacity wasn't sacrificed to make more room in the budget for an HDD.
    lightofhonorIt actually plays Skyrim WORSE than the $800 build...Nobody knows why, but the $800 PC did use a newer GPU driver.dscudellaIt's the same PC as the $800 build except they just swapped out the HDD for an SSD. Dissappointing.So it's going to lose the Day 4 Value Roundup, right?
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    dscudellaIt's the same PC as the $800 build except they just swapped out the HDD for an SSD. Dissappointing.
    Looking from another perspective, these two builds, with two different builders, with $200 difference, just show(again) how much better price/performance wise are Intel CPU's and AMD GPU's.
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    CrashmanNo point, We Like Our Games To Load Fast!!!
    I see your point, but I'd rather see slower game loads and better FPS , than faster game loads and lower FPS. And, the OS is accelerated in both cases anyway.
    Reply