System Components List
System Builder Marathon, February 2009: 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).
- Day 1: The $625 Gaming PC
- Day 2: The $1,250 Mid-Range PC
- Day 3: The $5,000 Enthusiast PC
- Day 4: Performance and Value Dissected
Our second-to-the-last System Builder Marathon (SBM) enthusiast PC had the tried-and-true Core 2 Duo E8500 and our last system was equipped with the brand-new Core i7 920, so we have a really good idea of the strengths and weaknesses when comparing these two CPU architectures in similarly-priced systems. The short version of the conclusion is that the inexpensive and highly overclockable Core 2 Duo E8500 is still a great value choice when overclocked, as it leaves a lot of room in the budget for an expensive video card. While the Core i7 920 is the better choice for most CPU-oriented tasks, the relatively expensive processor and X58-based platform doesn't leave a lot of room for a high-end video card.
This month, we explore where the Core 2 Quad fits into the scheme of things. While Core 2 Quad processors can be just as expensive as the Core i7 920, there is an abundance of inexpensive motherboards with which to pair the processor. This leaves a lot of wiggle room for a better graphics card, among other things.
Before we go over the components, please note that, since the SBMs take a few weeks to execute, Nvidia's new GeForce GTX 295 was not yet available for purchase when we ordered the components (Ed.: tomorrow, you'll see that we cheated a little after ordering the parts right before the GTX 295 launched). Swapping out the Radeon HD 4870 X2 for a tasty new GeForce GTX 295 for the same price would have been a no-brainer, but the Radeon HD 4870 X2 will allow us to get a better apples-to-apples comparison with the E8500/4870 X2 system we built in November.
Let's look at the components. First, keep in mind that only a few weeks ago all of these components spec'd out at $1,244, which was close to our $1,250 limit. Today, the components add up to about $100 less, at $1,150. Primarily, we can thank the price drops of the Q9550 ($310 down to $274) and the Sapphire Radeon 4870 X2 ($490 down to $449) for the huge savings. It goes to show you how quickly prices can drop in the computer industry, especially when new products are launched.
|$1,250 Mid-Range System Components|
|CPU||Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550||$274|
|CPU Cooler||Xigmatek HDT-S1283 (& ACK-I7751 Retention Bracket)||$46|
|RAM||G.Skill HK 2 x 2GB||$50|
|Graphics||Sapphire Radeon 4870 X2||$449|
|Hard Drives||Western Digital Caviar Black 640 GB 32 MB cache||$80|
|Network||Integrated Gigabit Networking||0|
|Case||Rosewill Wind Ryder RZLS142A-P YE||$30|
|Optical||Lite-On 20X DVD±R SATA Model iHAS120-04||$22|
|Row 12 - Cell 0||Total Price||$1,154|
Unless you made a Typo on one of those prices, they all add up to the 1154 total. So why are you so under budget?
Can't use a processor that doesn't exist. They weren't on the market when the parts were ordered...what, you thought these articles were produced overnight?
TindytimYou're $96 under budget, but you couldn't splurge on a better case?Unless you made a Typo on one of those prices, they all add up to the 1154 total. So why are you so under budget?
Prices dropped after the parts were ordered: The same thing happens to EVERY builder, the system loses value almost as soon as you can click the "buy" icon.
You mention that in the $625 article, but those were the prices at purchase. Why the inconsistency?
Ask the author of the other article? I only know that the more expensive a part is, the more money you loose when the price drops.
P.S. - you were under budget, why not go w/ the Antec Three Hundred Case - it's 1000% nicer than the Rosewill Piece 'o Junk you picked, and would have cooled your Overclock a lot better IMHO...just a thought - it's a killer case for the money - have you ever used it in a system build?
Suggestion: Why not split these articles up into two forms? Why not submit an "initial/at time of order" article and have that listed first to let people argue, then do all the benchmarking and submit a followup article later, attached to the initial article?
People can still bicker over price range and stuff before the benchmarks even come out, that way you know what/when the article is being based off of.
I know, Im the new guy and Im probably spitting in to the wind here, but...