The Quest For Six-Core Value
System Builder Marathon, September 2010: The Articles
Here are links to each of the four articles in this month’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.
To enter the giveaway, please check out this Google form, and be sure to read the complete rules before entering!
SSD drives and six-core processors are the two most frequently-requested items missing from our typical high-end builds. Up until now, we've made that an intentional decision. This is a competition between builders, after all, and most of our benchmarks gain little from either of these components.
At the same time, we aren’t completely inflexible, and careful deliberation led us to choose the six-core CPU as perhaps the more beneficial (benchmark-wise) of those two technologies. Of course, we're keenly aware of the experiential gains attributed to SSDs as well, and we might have been able to include solid state storage as well with a larger budget. But high prices without corresponding testable improvements would have lead to some loss in our System Builder Marathon Day 4 value comparison.
Another thing missing from our June 2010 $2000 build was a pretty case. The case we picked for today’s build was chosen for its superior ventilation (with little thought for aesthetics), sporting three enormous 180 mm intake fans. A quick look at our configuration reveals why so much ventilation was needed.
|$2000 Performance PC Component Prices|
|Motherboard||MSI NF980-G65, Socket AM3 Chipset: Nvidia nForce 980a SLI||$160|
|Processor||AMD Phenom II X6 1055T 2.8GHz Six Cores, 6 MB L3 Cache, Socket AM3||$200|
|Memory||G.Skill Ripjaws Series F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL 2 x 4 GB (8 GB Total), DDR3-1333 CAS 9-9-9-24||$200|
|Graphics||2 x MSI N480GTX-M2D15-B in SLI 2x 1.5 GB GDDR5-3696 2 x GeForce GTX 480 GPU at 700 MHz||$920|
|Hard Drive||Samsung Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1 TB, 7200 RPM, 32 MB Cache, SATA 3Gb/s||$75|
|Optical||Lite-On DVD±R/W iHAS124-04 24X DVD±R, 8X DVD+RW, 12X DVD-RAM||$19|
|Case||SilverStone Raven RV02-BW||$160|
|Power||Cooler Master Silent Pro RSA00-AMBAJ3-US 1000 W, ATX12V 2.3, EPS12V 2.92, 80 PLUS Bronze||$165|
|CPU Cooler||Scythe Mugen 2 Rev. B (SCMG-2100)||$35|
Packing two GeForce GTX 480 graphics cards into a $2000 build required a few sacrifices, but we hoped that our planned overclock would address many of its inadequacies. The following pages explain how each component was selected, followed by an overview of component installation, overclocking, and evaluation.
Could this monster be the one that usurps our lower-cost value builds during our week-long competition?