So, Is The Customer Always Right?
Most businesspeople who use the phrase “the customer is always right” are only referring to the way customers have to be treated. Sometimes, customers do buy the wrong parts for the wrong reason. In the case of Newegg's top-rated lists, however, we see example after example of enthusiasts buying hardware that we've recognized as award-winning over the past couple of years. For a site that doesn't hand out many awards, that really means something to us.
Going down the list, picking the first or second items, worked well when we chose our parts for this build. Conflicts really only involved appropriateness rather than compatibility. Because we started with a moderately-high-end processor and motherboard, we chose the second-listed memory, graphics, and SSD to better-suit a build that was turning out to be on the faster side.
Don, on the other hand, started with a graphics card and a purpose (gaming), then worked backwards. He cut costs wherever possible to stay within his budget, and even trimmed a little beyond budgetary mandates, saving $37 over his maximum allotment.
But that particular motherboard really hurt his build in a couple of areas. In fact, he could have purchased the full (non-SE) version of ASRock's P67 Pro3 for a mere $5 more, the better-featured Z68 Pro3 Gen3 for $10 more, or even the top-overclocking Biostar TZ68A+ for a mere $15 over his selected part. Then again, his main goal was to produce a gaming monster, and he definitely didn't know his build would be used as a baseline for comparing today's configuration.
Our target resolution for mid-priced gaming systems is 1920x1080, and the Customer Choice PC leads by a far smaller margin there. Had the $1300 PC employed a slightly better motherboard, it probably could have topped this chart.
But mainstream gaming wasn’t even Don's goal. He was really out for blood at the high end.
As we break into the high-end, Don earns his reward, going so far as to prove the worth of an almost-worthless motherboard, case, and optical drive.
When it comes to graphics, figuring out if the customer is always right depends on how you define the word right. Don's chosen graphics card presents lower average performance, but it dominates at 2560x1600. In this case, you'd have to choose your weapon based on available ammunition.
Personally, I don't think that the Intel board deserves its top billing on Newegg, even if it was a better choice than the ASRock platform Don chose. The fact that I go through more boards than anyone else at Tom's Hardware as our primary motherboard reviewer means that I have a solid grasp on the other options out there, and sometimes a professional review is more helpful in the selection of a winning product.
That one quibble aside, the assortment of Customer Choice components pulled from Newegg's ratings yielded a very solid finished system with none of the compromises that plagued Don's maligned build. Even though we had to pay more for it, in this case, we'd say that in this instance, the customer is mostly right.