System Builder Marathon, Q2 2014: A Balanced High-End Build

Power Supply, Case, And SSD

PSU: Rosewill HIVE-750

I don’t often get time to read reviews elsewhere. But the moderators of Tom's Hardware's community do a great job of staying up to date. How else would I have learned that Newegg’s house brand, Rosewill, is a distributor of high-end Sirtec-made 750 W power supplies?

Read Customer Reviews of Rosewill Hive-750 PSU

This might not be one of the most talked-about PSUs out there, but anything close to the top is tempting when you're on a constrained budget. And that’s what this 80 PLUS Bronze-rated model is supposed to be, saving us $50 compared to the 80 PLUS Gold-rated unit we used last time.

Case: Cooler Master Storm Scout 2 Advanced

Cooler Master’s Storm Scout 2 Advanced received an honorable mention in our 11-way shoot-out as a top gaming case, coming up shy of the competition because it didn't have the eight expansion cut-outs needed for high-end graphics in a motherboard's bottom PCIe slot. Also, it wasn't selling at the lowest price given its performance level.

Read Customer Reviews of Cooler Master's Storm Scout 2 Advanced Case

The bottom PCIe slot of Asus' Z97-A isn't ideal for high-end graphics cards, so that didn't turn me off of Cooler Master's Storm Scout 2 Advanced. I instead noticed that the case was slightly less expensive than the winner of my round-up. Also, I remembered this enclosure being fairly sturdy. And I considered the practicality of a top-mounted carrying handle.

SSD: Samsung 840 EVO 250 GB

Samsung’s EVO drives earned our value award a year ago, and the 250 GB model continues to pop up in our Best SSDs For The Money column. Who am I to argue?

Read Customer Reviews of Samsung's 840 EVO 250 GB SSD

Besides being fast and cheap, the 250 GB 840 EVO is also the perfect capacity SSD for our test suite, which includes tens of gigabytes of work files and several large game installations.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • mrmike_49
    Only 8GB RAM for a high end PC? Just plain too much money spent on graphics card. Also, too much money spent on "yuppie" power supply/case
  • wabba
    kidding me, hdd and windows 8, pls, read up on hardware toms hardware.....and software.
  • de5_Roy
    thermaltake nic L32 doesn't seem well suited for the cpu for stock operations. at stock settings, the cpu's load temp is 57c over ambient according to the temp. chart. the q1 $1600 pc has a hyper 212 evo and it ran the stock i7 4770k under 40c over ambient. from the looks, the tt nic cooler seemed a better performer than the hyper 212 evo.
    was multicore enhancement enabled for both the q1 $1600(asrock z87 pro3) and this quarter's high end pc(asus z97-a)? did it affect the heat output? asus keeps m.c.e. enabled by default. i can't see any other factors atm.

    all 3 builds look very well-performing this quarter. looking forward to the perf-value analysis.
  • Taintedskittles
    Reading the reviews on newegg about that PowerColor 290x you chose was hilarious. So whoever win's this thing can look forward to many many rma's in the future. Apparently its plagued with artifacts, bad fans, bios issues, & performance degradation. I would have chosen another brand at the very least.
  • pauldh
    To be fair though, look at the dates of those negative Newegg reviews. All but one of the complaints appeared after this system was ordered mid-May. Prior available feedback WAS almost all positive. And a manufacturer rep jumped in to resolve that one.
  • Crashman
    13586826 said:
    Only 8GB RAM for a high end PC? Just plain too much money spent on graphics card. Also, too much money spent on "yuppie" power supply/case
    A yuppie power supply...OK...

    13587011 said:
    kidding me, hdd and windows 8, pls, read up on hardware toms hardware.....and software.
    The last time I checked the "Samsung 840 EVO MZ-7TE250BW" wasn't an HDD, and nobody wanted us to run OS/2 on a modern gaming system. Please read the charts, wabba

  • crisan_tiberiu
    Make this "competition" global please... :( You have "Tom's Hardware" in every major region in the world... :) Also FedEx and DHL ships everywehere in the world :) make all readers happy :) Our traffic is good for your site, but we never get something special :((
  • rush21hit
    If I had a specs like this, I don't want it to be encased. I'd stick it to my wall even if it means I had to figure out how to do it.
  • SessouXFX
    If aesthetics doesn't play a role, this is a pretty damn good build...
  • Realist9
    I think the author hit his mark for the intent of the build/article based on the budget limit and provides a good starting point for us. However, if I was actually building and buying for myself, I would make some changes to add headroom and compatibility.

    I would go with 16 GB of memory for $85 more, since that’s only $85/$1600=5% more cost. I’d also go ahead and get the Asus 780 for $520. (Side note: I disagree that most would go AMD in a 780 vs 290x, but I know better than to open that can of worms). SLI was mentioned but not used, and I also would not get SLI unless I KNEW it worked with the game I was most interested in. The posts on various forums about SLI causing problems in most games, along with SLI “issues” dating back to 3dFX Voodoo2 cards, keeps me away from SLI.

    I also would stay away from “generally stable, but usually not stable in the games I want to play most” (not quoting the author here) overclocking of the system/video card. It’s nice to see it in the charts, but I read about way too many problems in games caused by overclocking for me to rely on it to get my ‘value’.

    Lastly, I think the pendulum has swung too far towards “value” for the high end build. I suggest tweaking that a little for future high end builds (eg..780Ti, 16 GB memory, 500GB SSD, but continue to stay away from $1000 CPU, $1200 SLI, etc).