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System Builder Marathon Q3 2014: Mainstream Enthusiast PC

CPU, Motherboard And Cooler

CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K

The new Devil's Canyon-based Core i5-4690K essentially replaces the Core i5-4670K that we selected for the mid-range enthusiast build in our last SBM machine. To be honest, the -4690K isn't a colossal upgrade compared to its predecessor, offering a mere 100 MHz clock rate jump and better thermal interface material under the heat spreader.

Then again, when you're after a peak overclock, every little bit counts. Hopefully, Intel's enhancements allow the -4690K to differentiate itself from the first-generation Haswell-based quad-core processor it displaces. We paid $240 for that chip last quarter, and the same amount this time around.

Read Customer Reviews of Intel's Core i5-4690K

In most of our testing, we've seen the Core i5-4670K top out in the 4.3 GHz range after small voltage increases and multiplier adjustments. I'm willing to get a little more involved than that to push the Core i5-4690K further.

Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer

Read Customer Reviews of ASRock's Fatl1ty Z97 Killer

With a significant share of the budget dedicated to the CPU cooler and RAM, I also needed a motherboard that'd help complement my overclocking effort. ASRock's Fatal1ty Z97 Killer might be just what I need.

CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14

Read Customer Reviews of Noctua's NH-D14

Noctua has an excellent reputation as a manufacturer of premium CPU coolers, and its NH-D14 exemplifies why. Sporting two 120 mm fans and capable of rivaling many closed-loop liquid cooling systems, this is a popular choice for fans of big air.

Of course, the $79 price tag is somewhat daunting, and my pictures do not fully convey the heat sink's immense bulk. But then again, nobody said optimizing performance was cheap or easy.

  • gamebrigada
    Not sure why you would go with AsRock... I've seen so many failed motherboards from them after a few months of use... Friend of mine is on his 4th swap from them, and is beyond tired of swapping with them, the current one at least has issues that he can work around... with a usb to ethernet adapter....
    Reply
  • mlga91
    Personally, i'd get a cheaper case and put a 970 on there, looks for the cost of performance doesn't seems too wise for me.
    Reply
  • DynamoNED
    14242198 said:
    Personally, i'd get a cheaper case and put a 970 on there, looks for the cost of performance doesn't seems too wise for me.

    While I'd agree on the cheaper case, the 970 wasn't an option since they hadn't been released when they were buying parts for this quarter's SBM.

    From Page 3 of the article: "The GeForce GTX 970 launched last week wasn't available (or even public information) back when we ordered the pieces for this build. So, I needed something cheaper than the Radeon R9 290 that wouldn't sacrifice gaming performance. Under $300, the best option was Nvidia's GeForce GTX 770."

    Obviously, today the 970 would be a much better choice, but that option didn't exist when this build was purchased.
    Reply
  • realibrad
    @ mlga91

    Good job. There is always that guy who does not read the article when it explains why the brand new card was not used, because it was not an option at the time of the review.

    So congrats on being that guy this time. It only took 3 posts to get there.
    Reply
  • de5_Roy
    an ssd and a cm haf case in this build. that should prevent the rages, gasps and disapproving gazes from the last quarter. ;) really though, a o.c. oriented pc should have parts built for speed and this pc has them.

    on the last page:
    When price vs. performance is compared, the new build doesn't look as attractive as the Q3 enthusiast system.
    may be you meant the Q2 enthusiast system. imo, yea, the q3 build doesn't seem as attractive as the q2 one. i think that one could add the ssd from this build and still be the better pc.

    i wonder if you guys would build an fx8350/8320 pc as an alternative build at this price range for the ongoing overclocking theme.
    Reply
  • Onus
    The PSU received a Golden Award at HardwareSecrets, and it did mostly well on other sites as well, although at least three noted the presence of Samxon capacitors. They don't appear to be "GF" series though, which supposedly are the really bad ones.
    I'd like to know more about the thickness / flexibility of the ASRock mobo. Otherwise, I don't think I have any niggles over performance-related parts.
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    14242123 said:
    Not sure why you would go with AsRock... I've seen so many failed motherboards from them after a few months of use... Friend of mine is on his 4th swap from them, and is beyond tired of swapping with them, the current one at least has issues that he can work around... with a usb to ethernet adapter....

    I've never had any problems with Asrock and I'm on my second Asrock board.
    Reply
  • Onus
    Although some of them are thin and uncomfortably flexible, I've also not had any ASRock mobos die on me, except one likely killed by heat. I have read mixed comments on them, although most reviews tend to be positive.
    Reply
  • Formata
    Yes!!! The hacksaw came out on the RAM! Now your building old skool!
    Reply
  • CaptainTom
    770 stand up to a 290?! You can overclock all you want buddy.
    Reply