Three Different Goals, One Value Conclusion
As I suggested yesterday, when it comes to building performance-oriented PCs, most enthusiasts start seeing some form of diminishing returns after spending between $600 and $800. That’s because less-expensive parts generally offer far less performance, while better-performing parts generally cost far more money.
This quarter, however, Paul took a big risk by pairing an overpriced performance-oriented part (his graphics card) with a platform that wouldn't overclock at all. We understand where he was going there. More important than simply winning our Marathon, he wanted to give gamers a build that'd manage playable 1920x1080 frame rates, even if it meant getting wasted on the productivity apps.
His approach could have lost him the value competition, had Don not tried the same strategy with a more generous budget. In retrospect, we have to wonder how much more value he could have extracted from a slightly more expensive motherboard (with fully-functional memory) in the mid-priced machine.
Meanwhile, my $2600 build creates value from some of its overpriced components by overclocking well. We're left wondering if sacrifices on the flashy cooler, quiet case, and Blu-ray writer could have been parlayed into even better go-fast hardware, which may have overcome the value enabled by Don's machine. Of course, then I'd have to hear it from everyone in the comments section poking fun at cheap-looking components in a high-end build.
Don certainly proved his point when it comes to graphics performance. He used the same card as me to achieve similar performance at 2560x1600. A little luck with GPU overclocking gave him the upper hand, even, bringing his $1300 machine within 2% of my higher-end box.
But few of us could recommend the $1300 system to a friend or family member. Even Don seemed pretty worried about the quality of his finished product. We recommend that anyone considering a revamp of that build at least read a few of our motherboard reviews before making a revision. Consult with our forum members on parts that haven’t been reviewed yet. And consider whether the recently-released (and less expensive) GeForce GTX 680 might yield even better performance for your money.
which is not bad... for Just $650 ...So the first piority for gaming PC is still the Video card!
Great as always. It sad that the Nvidia GTX 680 has yet to be considered due to availability and pricing issues hehehehe.
But coming from a notebook background, I more or less have to start from scratch.
I can use my old mouse, and my TV as a monitor. But on top of the estimated build costs listed, I also need the OS, keyboard, and likely other misc. odds and ends.
$200 ($100 OEM) for Windows 7 is brutal.
I also don't want to waste time on a desktop that only has a GPU advantage over the notebook.
Desktop upgrades over even a mobile i7 is still pricey.
Since I know my 2720QM uses the same die as desktops; it'd be swell if I could just yank it out; plug it in a desktop board and call it a 2600k. In a desktop it wouldn't have to stay in a 45W TDP
But.. *sigh*.. the parts are locked, the sockets don't match; and a real life desktop carbon copy of my notebook is out of my budget atm.
If I could find a way to attach a 7870 to my notebook motherboard, I wouldn't have a problem with the frankenstein-ish creation.
The 6670 just doesn't cut it sometimes
But at least you're fairly nice about it.