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System Builder Marathon, Q4 2013: $1600 Enthusiast PC

Memory, Hard Drives, And Optical Drive

Memory: Patriot Viper 3 DDR3-1866 Memory Kit 8 GB (2 x 4 GB)

Patriot's Viper 3 kit features agressive 9-10-9-27 timings at 1866 MT/s using its XMP memory profile, which is enabled through a simple switch in the Asus board's firmware. It's priced well at the $95 we spent when we placed our order. Although the kit is up about $8, it's still a nice high-performance kit for the money.

Read Customer Reviews of Patriot's Viper 3 8 GB Memory Kit

System Drive: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128 GB SATA 6Gb/s SSD

I went with Samsung's 840 120 GB SSD in my last build. This time, I wanted to see if I could extract any additional performance from our storage benchmark using the company's more potent 840 Pro. To that end, I snagged a 128 GB model, which is currently on sale for $140 on Newegg.

Read Customer Reviews of Samsung's 840 Pro Series 128 GB SSD

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 2 TB 7200 RPM Hard Drive

Modern games take up a significant amount of storage space, so I thought it would be a good idea to double the hard drive capacity of my latest configuration to 2 TB, even though that wouldn't help me in the benchmarks. Seagate's Barracuda goes for $100, and facilitates a lot of forward-looking room to expand.

Read Customer Reviews of Seagate's Barracuda 2 TB Hard Drive

Optical Drive: Lite-on iHAS124-04 DVD Burner

Once again, Lite-on's iHAS124 is the lowest-priced DVD burner I could find. Despite its value orientation, this has also proven to be one of the most reliable choices. I'll gladly save some money by grabbing this OEM model at $17.

Read Customer Reviews of Lite-On's iHAS124-04

  • Crashman
    I just wanted to let you guys know before the $2400 PC pops up, that this renewed focus on gaming is a Don and Paul effort. With $2400 on the line, it's easy to improve the entire machine and try to make a clean sweep of every benchmark :)
  • Onus
    This was a good build, if only for the single data point that was the power usage. At stock, you could get away with a good 650W PSU, but overclocked it's probably not a good idea. There weren't really any surprises anywhere else. The one pic was dark; how was cable management in that case? I used one a while back and reviewed it, and I though that was probably its weakest point.
  • Onus
    If you would like comments and assistance on a personal build, please start your own thread in the New Builds forum. This thread is for discussions about the System Builder Marathon machines. Thanks.
  • Yuka
    I have to say I'm really surprised for the crappy scaling of the GTX770s. Was it a CPU bound issue or maybe a PCIe bottleneck? Driver issue? Profile issue? haha

    I'm really surprised to say the least.

  • blubbey

    Before commenting about benches, read:

    "Keep this parting thought in mind: we're fully aware that the SBM test suite is showing its age, and we have new benchmark results with more modern games. You're going to see this surface in our Day 4 analysis from Thomas."

    Last page, last paragraph.

    Nice build, hilariously good performance in BF3, In the more modern games, will there be any GPU memory bottlenecks with triple monitor setups? We shall see!
  • lp231
    It seems these sbm have no strict budget limit. Every time these sbm articles, the budget gets higher and higher. A $1,000 enthusiast pc would be more of a real world build, since that is the maximum amount, most people spend these days on their new build.
    What will the budget be for next times enthusiast pc?
    Now it is at $1,600. So next time it will be $2,500 cause getting them 2x GTX 880 in sli is consider as a budget enthusiast pc?!
  • Steve Pound
    Who plays Skyrim on PC and not have a membership at Nexus so the most basic improvements can be made? Leading to: why has this site used the game for 2 years and not done that? Maybe FO4 will be more promising.
  • jtenorj
    If go go with an optical drive in this price range, it should be a dvd burner. It's not that much more expensive, media prices are coming down(better cost per GB and speed than dvd in some cases) and lets you play blu tay movies without using bandwitdh to download or stream hd video. My 2 cents.
  • jtenorj
    Edit: I meant blu ray burner. Also, I don't care for that case(personal preference).
  • mjmjpfaff
    It depends on which resolution you look at. I advise you to go back and look at the higher resolutions where the 770's in SLI can actually show a huge difference over one 770. It almost doubles in FPS over last quarter's build if you look at some 5760x1080 res. graphs.