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

Memory And Storage

Memory: Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 998768

At this point, we're getting very close to our budget limit, and a quick check of Crucial’s highly-overclockable value kit shows that these modules have lost much of their pricing edge. Of course, those modules came down in price after we placed our order. On the other hand, Mushkin’s competing parts were on sale.

Read Customer Reviews of Mushkin's Enhanced Silverline 998768 Kit

Rated at the same DDR3-1333 data rate and 9-9-9-24 timings as Crucial’s formerly value-leading parts, Mushkin’s Silverline 998768 kit was 20% cheaper than Crucial’s cheap stuff at the time of our purchase. That savings was needed to keep our system within budget, and Mushkin even enhances the look of its modules with black-on-chrome heat spreaders. We can only hope for similar overclocking capability!

Hard Drive: Samsung F3 1TB HD103SJ

It’s fortunate for us that one of the fastest high-capacity desktop drives on the market is also cheap enough to fit within what’s left of our budget. Samsung’s F3 1TB offers 30 times the capacity that we might have otherwise been “able to afford” in an SSD.

Read Customer Reviews of Samsung's F3 HD103SJ 1 TB

Of course, load times are slower for a mechanical drive, but an SSD at this price wouldn’t have even been large enough to hold our test software.

A combination of relatively good transfer rates and large 32 MB cache assures that only our synthetic benchmarks will be handicapped by this older storage technology, and synthetics don’t count towards the performance profile in our value analysis.

Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124

Every so often something slips past us, and we forgot to add the optical drive to today’s build. Fortunately, we’d already ordered and received Lite-On’s iHAS124 for one of our other systems and found it sitting on the shelf.

Read Customer Reviews of Lite-On's iHAS124

This is the same drive we used in our original $2000 build, and thus we’ll make the same comment concerning its selection: although it's a remarkably fast and inexpensive model, we would have probably chosen the similar iHAS224 for its added LightScribe support if given another opportunity to change the list.

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