What did we learn from this $1,250 Enthusiast build? First of all, the next time we use an E8500 in an overclocking machine, it’s probably worth spending a few extra bucks on liquid cooling. I suspect the E8500 we have could have gone a lot higher. The impressive part is that this was an off-the-shelf NewEgg part, not a cherry-picked review sample from Intel. There is good reason why the Penryn CPUs have such a great overclocking rep.
We also learned that it’s probably worth the money to invest in a powerful graphics card if gaming is part of your master plan. While two Radeon 4830s would have done an admirable job for half the price of the 4870 X2, we think $1,250 is a reasonable amount to spend on a gaming machine, and if you’re going to spend the scratch, the 4870 X2 is a worthwhile component.
Of course, as always, in the days to come we’ll see how the value of the $1,250 system compares to the budget and high-end systems—I suspect the Radeon HD 4870 X2 will give it a powerful edge when it comes to gaming, but we’ll see.
In next month’s marathon, we are considering building an i7 Nehalem-based system in the $1,250 range to compare to this month’s enthusiast system. In order to do so, we’ll probably downgrade the video card to a single-GPU Radeon 4870 card instead of the X2. Feel free to leave a comment below and let us know what you think our next build should be.