Page 1:Au Contraire: More CPU, Less GPU
Page 2:CPU, CPU Cooler, And Memory
Page 3:Motherboard, Graphics, And Power
Page 4:SSD, Hard Drive, And Optical Drive
Page 5:Case And Case Cooling
Page 6:Hardware Installation
Page 7:Overclocking A Truly Overclockable Platform
Page 8:Test Settings And Benchmarks
Page 9:Benchmark Results: 3DMark And PCMark
Page 10:Benchmark Results: SiSoftware Sandra
Page 11:Benchmark Results: Battlefield 3 And DiRT 3
Page 12:Benchmark Results: Skyrim And StarCraft II
Page 13:Benchmark Results: Audio And Video Encoding
Page 14:Benchmark Results: Productivity
Page 15:Power, Heat, And Efficiency
Page 16:Does The CPU Gamble Pay Off?
SSD, Hard Drive, And Optical Drive
System Drive: Mushkin Chronos Deluxe MKNSSDCR240GB-DX
Drive guru Andrew Ku tells us that the 240 GB Chronos Deluxe is the best value in storage performance. Rather than argue, this builder took that recommendation as a great reason to step up to a higher capacity point than the previous build's 128 GB m4.
A SandForce SF-2281 controller helps push this drive superb sequential read and write rates over 500 MB/s over its SATA 6Gb/s interface. Of course, that’s just a theoretical maximum.
Mass Storage: Seagate Barracuda Green ST1500DL003
Now that the price of high-capacity drives is tumbling back towards what we were used to last year, we were able to get a 1.5 TB unit for only $100. We weren't able to secure that amount of storage space from a high-performance model, though.
Instead we ordered Seagate’s low-energy, 5900 RPM green drive. This is the repository we’d use to store photos, movies, and other things that don’t get moved much. Lower noise should accompany the slower spindle speed and stepped-back power consumption. All of that is fine; performance isn’t a big priority for the type of files we want to store here, and we already have that 240 GB SSD to help hold speed-sensitive apps.
Optical Storage: Pioneer BDR-206DBKS
We’ve seen so many bare drives come with a software bundle that we were a little surprised when our previous build's BD-RE really came with nothing other than hardware. Not willing to take that chance again, we ordered a white-box drive that we knew would include software used to access the media a Blu-ray-capable product supports.
We didn’t buy the drive primarily for playing movies, but we’d be disappointed if we couldn’t. Pioneer’s BDR-206DBKS gives us 12x BD-R, 2x BD-RE, and 16x DVD-R writes, plus CyberLink’s Media Suite 8, for under $100.
Our goal was to get the best range of optical media support, and with 50 GB dual-layer discs selling for as little as $10 each, this drive could become the perfect place to dump backups.
- Au Contraire: More CPU, Less GPU
- CPU, CPU Cooler, And Memory
- Motherboard, Graphics, And Power
- SSD, Hard Drive, And Optical Drive
- Case And Case Cooling
- Hardware Installation
- Overclocking A Truly Overclockable Platform
- Test Settings And Benchmarks
- Benchmark Results: 3DMark And PCMark
- Benchmark Results: SiSoftware Sandra
- Benchmark Results: Battlefield 3 And DiRT 3
- Benchmark Results: Skyrim And StarCraft II
- Benchmark Results: Audio And Video Encoding
- Benchmark Results: Productivity
- Power, Heat, And Efficiency
- Does The CPU Gamble Pay Off?