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System Builder Marathon Bonus: Newegg Customer Choice PC

The Ultimate Honor: A Top Reader Ranking

System Builder Marathon, March 2012: The Articles

Here are links to each of the five articles in this quarter’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, including the Bonus Customer Choice PC, which we picked out using the highest-rated components in Newegg's feedback system.

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

Day 1: The $650 Gaming PC
Day 2: The $1250 Enthusiast PC
Day 3: The $2600 Performance PC
Day 4: Performance And Value, Dissected
Day 5: Bonus Newegg Customer Choice PC

Introduction

Tom’s Hardware editors often look to you guys, our audience, for suggestions. We've even been known to poll you for your own suggestions when it comes to picking System Builder Marathon parts. And then we receive comments out of the blue that also strike us as genius. One such note that received particular editorial attention came from reader Bill Martens:

"…(Tom’s) should build a system just based on “customer rankings” and compare it to the other systems you are building. By choosing only the top-rated component in each sub-area from Newegg, I was able to assemble a very high-performing $1000 rig…”

Now, that sounds like a plan! Even though we get our fair share of complaints about components that we know darn well are good pieces of hardware, in general, the audience consensus is usually right on the money.

Of course, this concept requires a few concessions. For instance, if the best-rated motherboard is a Socket AM3+ platform and the most popular processor comes from Intel, well, that's a problem. So, we end up choosing either the first or second item from each of Newegg’s “Best Rating” menus, based on its compatibility with other parts in the system.

We determined that the number-two rated graphics card, EVGA’s GeForce GTX 560 Ti, was a great match for the top-rated Core i5-2500K CPU and DZ68BC motherboard. The top-rated graphics option was a GeForce GTX 550, and we know well enough to go heavier on graphics performance for such a capable processor.

Newegg Customer Choice $1600 PC Components
ProcessorIntel Core i5-2500K: 3.3GHz-3.7GHz, 6 MB Cache$220
Graphics2 x EVGA 01G-P3-1561-AR: GTX 560 Ti 1 GB, SLI$460
MotherboardIntel DZ68BC: LGA 1155, Intel Z68 Express$200
MemoryG.Skill F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL: DDR3-1600 C9, 4 GB x 2 (8 GB)$47
System DriveCrucial m4 CT128M4SSD2: 128 GB, SATA 6Gb/s SSD$165
Storage DriveSeagate Barracuda ST500DM005: 0.5 TB, 7200 RPM HDD$85
OpticalAsus DRW-24B1ST: 24x DVD±R, 48x CD-R$20
CaseAntec Nine Hundred$100
PowerCorsair CMPSU-750HX: 750 W, ATX/EPS12V Semi-Modular, 80 PLUS Silver$150
CPU CoolerCooler Master Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1$30
Total Cost$1477

Crucial’s number 2 rated 128 GB M4 SSD was also chosen over its top rated 64 GB model, since the larger capacity more closely matches the market level of this build’s CPU, Graphics and Motherboard. G.Skills 4 GB kit also topped the list, but the next-best-rating brought us similar modules in the mid-market-preferred 8 GB capacity. And all of these #1’s and #2’s are a perfect match for Newegg’s customer-choice Corsair CMPSU-750HX and Hyper 212 Plus cooler.

With all this money spent on customer-favorite parts, we caught a little performance hunger and decided to double up on graphics cards. The power supply supported it, and 30% of our comparative performance score comes from games.

  • mikenygmail
    Nice, but would have been better with 2 x 6970 2 GB or 2 x 6950 2 GB unlocked to 6970.
    Reply
  • Pezcore27
    Is it sad I liked this build the best out of them all?
    Reply
  • a4mula
    Interesting, still not surprising given recent results in group dynamic studies. Groups will often make better choices than individuals, that's not to say a group can replace or perform on par with an expert individual, just better than the average.
    Reply
  • aznshinobi
    Just saying, Asrock Extreme3 Gen3 Z68 would save some and not bad rated. Could go for something like the OCZ ZT 750w which also is solidly rated, both saving money and offering similar if not better performance. For the GPUs, probably would've been better just to go with 2x7850 just to see how it does after all I haven't seen a whole bunch of those benchmarks.

    Understood that this is best on best rated components, just saying it would've been nice to see the ones I mentioned for a value build.
    Reply
  • mikenygmailNice, but would have been better with 2 x 6970 2 GB or 2 x 6950 2 GB unlocked to 6970.
    Yeah that was what I was thinking, if you have a 2560x1600 monitor then the 2 6950s wont see that performance hit at that res like the 560ti's do. And would outperform the 7970 as a result while still costing enough less to move up to that 2500k.

    When I can drop $1300 for a Dell U3011 or HP ZR30w I doubt I would be pairing it with a $1300 PC, so I wonder if its even necessary for a mid range build as how often are you really going to find that pairing. Though hopefully soon Apple is going to push the LCD makers kicking and screaming into the 4k and 8k display era!


    Reply
  • hmp_goose
    Wow: And here I was thinkin' "maybe the SBM should work like the monthly Best X articals, where it's not anchored to a price point".

    Drunk Min's t'ink alac, and all that.
    Reply
  • ammaross
    "...with none of the compromises that plagued Don't maligned build"

    Last page. Should be "Don's" but "Don't" works good enough :P

    Definitely would have loved to see a pair of 2GB cards duke it out though. The base system called for it (nearly). Take the price from the hide of the mobo.
    Reply
  • Darkerson
    Not a bad system at all. Im just waiting for people to start whining about 680s like in the other builds.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    mikenygmailNice, but would have been better with 2 x 6970 2 GB or 2 x 6950 2 GB unlocked to 6970.Better choices outside of "consumer choice" are irrelevant to a "consumer choice" selection.a4mulaInteresting, still not surprising given recent results in group dynamic studies. Groups will often make better choices than individuals, that's not to say a group can replace or perform on par with an expert individual, just better than the average.Yes, the motherboard could have been better AND cheaper if not for the fact that it was picked by the group rather than an expert individual, but the complete unit was still acceptable.aznshinobiJust saying, Asrock Extreme3 Gen3 Z68 would save some and not bad rated. Could go for something like the OCZ ZT 750w which also is solidly rated, both saving money and offering similar if not better performance. For the GPUs, probably would've been better just to go with 2x7850 just to see how it does after all I haven't seen a whole bunch of those benchmarks.Understood that this is best on best rated components, just saying it would've been nice to see the ones I mentioned for a value build.Right, part choices were limited to the top two rated parts, based on which of the top two customer rated parts most closely matched the rest of the system.DarkersonNot a bad system at all. Im just waiting for people to start whining about 680s like in the other builds.LOL, I'm waiting for a stream of "Why didn't YOU pick THIS" when Newegg Customers were the pickers and the "THIS" they're screaming about doesn't even have a customer rating :)
    Reply
  • Darkerson
    Im sure it will be inevitable. ;)


    Stupid TomsHardware, Y U NO PICK MY PARTS! :P

    Edit: Obvious sarcasm is obvious. Ah well, Ill take this as all the non article reading 680 noobs being offended. I dont care.
    Reply