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System Builder Marathon: TH's $2000 Hand-Picked Build

Power And Efficiency

The $1000 PC in our most recent System Builder Marathon was a true miser by performance system standards, while the overclocked $2000 system was a hog. The alternative $2000 configuration had more overall performance, but will it also consume even more power than the pig it tries to replace?

We know that a pair of GeForce GTX 480 graphics cards will always pull more power than a pair of GeForce GTX 460s, so the only way to get a clue about CPU power differences is to look at both idle and full load power. Doing so gives us the impression that the Core i7-970 is about as power-hungry as the Phenom II X6 1055T at stock settings.

Yet, the AMD system required far more voltage to reach the same 4.0 GHz clock, so its overclocked configuration gets one mark against it. Score a second demerit for excessive power consumption in our former $2000 builds’s graphics cards.

A 78% performance gain against the baseline system puts the new build in a far better light than the one it replaces.

It’s nice to see the new $2000 PC in the same efficiency class as the $1000 build, even if it never quite matches it.

Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • Randomacts
    Yay more giveaways!
    Reply
  • tacoslave
    should have just gone with a i7 920 and stuck a 5970 which would have been cheaper
    Reply
  • duk3
    I agree, however, this SBM was about 6-core performance.
    With an i7-930, a better heatsink, 2 470s and maybe an extra fan or 2 for the case is in reach.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    duk3I agree, however, this SBM was about 6-core performance.With an i7-930, a better heatsink, 2 470s and maybe an extra fan or 2 for the case is in reach.yes, the i7-930 and a couple 470's would be normal in the SBM $2000 PC.
    Reply
  • cojj
    how do I enter for the giveaway?
    Reply
  • Crashman
    cojjhow do I enter for the giveaway?Click the link in the announcement?
    Reply
  • IzzyCraft
    I guess these were more performance driven choices. I still will miss the case, i'd gladly trade a 920/930 for the SilverStone Raven
    Reply
  • Crashman
    IzzyCraftI guess these were more performance driven choices. I still will miss the case, i'd gladly trade a 920/930 for the SilverStone RavenQuality-wise, the Three Hundred is probably the best case you can get for under $80, but there should have been one more fan in the system given the internally-vented graphics cards the system ended up with. On the other hand, a lot of builders would be more than happy to "settle for" 4GHz at 1.30V, and the CPU will certainly live longer at the lower voltage.
    Reply
  • brisingamen
    i prefer the six core gtx 480 sli rig.
    Reply
  • pinkfloydminnesota
    A 970 and a drop to 460s? Are you kidding me? How much is newegg dropping in ad revenue for you to help them dump this overpriced stock?
    Reply