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System Builder Marathon, March 2011: $2000 Performance PC

Two Steps Forward

System Builder Marathon, March 2011: The Articles

Here are links to each of the five articles in this month’s System Builder Marathon (we’ll update them as each story is published). And remember, these systems are all being given away at the end of the marathon.

To enter the giveaway, please fill out this Google form, and be sure to read the complete rules before entering!

Day 1: The $2,000 Performance PC
Day 2: The $1,000 Enthusiast PC
Day 3: The $500 Gaming PC
Day 4: Performance And Value, Dissected
Day 5: Tom's Hand-Picked SuperCombo

Introduction

Few times has Intel’s old “Leap Ahead” slogan been more appropriate than with its Sandy Bridge launch, its new processor offering moderate performance gains simultaneous to huge power reduction. Yet, CPU competitor AMD hasn’t been lying motionless, its old “Leap Beyond” campaign similarly suited to new graphics cards that, thanks to superior multi-GPU scaling, speed past Nvidia’s competing parts while consuming far less power and selling for a far lower price. With all these advancements only a few easy mouse clicks away, all we needed was a real-world complete build to compare today’s advanced parts to the pathetic antiques of last year.

Here’s what our $2000 budget was able to purchase, using Newegg’s prices. 

$2000 Performance PC Component Prices
MotherboardAsus P8P67 WS Revolution: LGA 1155, Intel P67 Express$ 270
ProcessorIntel Core i7-2600K: 3.4 GHz-3.8 GHz, 8 MB Cache$330
MemoryG.Skill F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM: DDR3-1600 C8, 2 x 4 GB (8 GB)$130
Graphics2 x XFX HD-695A-CNFC: Radeon HD 6950 2 GB, CrossFire$600
System Drive2 x A-Data S599 64 GB, SATA 3Gb/s SSD$230
Storage DriveSamsung F3 HD103SJ 1 TB, 7200 RPM HDD$70
OpticalLite-On iHBS212 BD-RE: 12x BD-R, 16x DVD±R, 48x CD-R$110
CaseAntec Three Hundred Illusion$65
PowerSeasonic SS-850HT: 850W, ATX12V v2.31, 80-Plus Silver$130
CPU CoolerScythe Mugen 2 Rev. B (SCMG-2100)$40
Total Cost$1975

Extra value in the power supply and CPU cooler allowed us to go overkill on these items without breaking the bank.

  • wribbs
    Was wondering when the SBM would return. Now if I just had an extra $2K. Now lets see how the lower price models hold up.

    Sure is a good time to be building a new PC.
    Reply
  • duk3
    I'd love to win one of these.
    Especially this one
    Reply
  • dragonsqrrl
    Wow, nice system this time around. Excellent performance and efficiency, although I personally would've chosen a nicer case for a $2000 system. I know you guys have your reasons, and for the purposes of a purely price/performance oriented build it makes sense to skimp on the aesthetic qualities of a case, but for me personally, it's still nice to see a high-end case complement some high-end hardware.
    Reply
  • toxxel
    Nice system for 2k, wondering what the other systems will offer for their respective tier.
    Reply
  • sparky2010
    since the 6990 is out, wouldn't getting that one card be a legitimate choice too? isn't it also at around $600?
    Reply
  • illuminatuz
    oh wow!!! you know what if you can really think you can make a performance pc.. i mean same performance.. but lesser cost..
    i am not saying OC and AMD thing.. same hardware..
    Reply
  • dertechie
    That system looks familiar. Very familiar. Almost. . . have you been spying on me?

    I built a system exactly like that, except with an 2500K, P8P67 Pro, single 6950 2GB, single SSD, DVD rather than BD, H50 and a cheaper PSU. Tears through Metro 2033 maxed at 1920x1200 like butter. When prices on 6950s fall some more I'll add a card and see if they can handle Eyefinity.
    Reply
  • illuminatuz
    and its possible.. just take a nice gtx 560ti rather two amd sli and take 8 gig ram.. since anything above 8 gig will give diminishing returns and 500 gb hdd is more than enough i think.. buy a cheaper case, (punch holes to make it cooler :P) thats it.. same cpu same mobo and everything else same. you can also opt for cheaper 1155 mobo. i think gigabyte's got some.. or asus maybe.. no need for some two pcie and crap.. you can take a higher gpu.. say like gtx 580 or 6990.. well sli will give value if you are going for long term.. and you can install server's power.. they are cheap and of higher quality (thats what i heard from my pc vendor). i think there better be another marathon where there are the best pc at lowest cost.. that would make more sense rather giving budget.. so that people can know what they can make with the money they got.. since not all have exactly 1000$ or 2000$ there are people from other countries as well following www.tomshardware.com so keep up the good work fellas ^_^/~~
    Reply
  • tapher
    Ten-ies!

    Props on the build, dawgs. Daddy likes!

    Breath is bated for the bevy of builds to come!
    Reply
  • andy5174
    Contest is limited to residents of the USA

    not again.....
    Reply