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System Builder Marathon, Sept. 2011: $1000 Enthusiast PC

CPU, Motherboard, And Cooler

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K

There’s still no viable alternative to the Core i5-2500K in our thousand-dollar enthusiast build. This is a CPU that holds onto the best price, performance, and overclocking values we've seen, and it's almost a year old already!

With four execution cores running at 3.3 GHz and spinning up to 3.7 GHz with a single core active in Turbo Boost mode, plus 6 MB of L3 cache, this efficient 32 nm chip has no equal in the $200 price range. If you’d like to learn more check out our Core i5-2500K launch coverage.

Read Customer Reviews of Intel's Core i5-2500K

Motherboard: EVGA P67 Micro SLI

While MSI showed us a good time with its P67A-G43 in last quarter's SBM for a low $130 price tag, we wanted to mix things up a bit this month. So, we're going with EVGA’s P67 Micro SLI.

We don’t really need the extra space inside the chassis. But when we started filling in our shopping list, this Micro ATX model was one of the most affordable options with two x8 PCIe slots. At today's price of $150 it has more competition. But it will be interesting to see how the board fares, regardless.

Read Customer Reviews of EVGA's P67 Micro SLI

CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper TX3

We’re trying to make space in our budget for the SSD drive, so we need an inexpensive, yet high-performance CPU cooler. At $19.80, we've seen Cooler Master’s Hyper TX3 do a decent job for us in the past, and we’re employing it in our current build.

Read Customer Reviews of Cooler Master's Hyper TX3

  • aznshinobi
    Mobo is overpriced, and so is ram. The cost of the 460's you could equally get 2x6870s. PSU kinda sucks, for $1000 you can at least save else where (IE RAM+MB) and still get the Antec HCG750, while also getting 2x6870. Just personal opinion.
    Reply
  • scubba85
    Why would you go with the 750gb WD, when the samsung spinpoint f3 1tb is the same price?
    Reply
  • Zero_
    Why all the overpriced components? This is bad...

    Off the top of my head,

    1. There are a number of decent Z68 motherboards for around $130.
    2. Hyper 212+ costs $30
    3. A Corsair 2x4GB 1600MHz CL9 kit costs $50
    4. There are plenty of good 1TB drives for $55
    5. Antec Earthwatts 650W costs around $60

    And don't give me any crap about price increases over the past month. All of these have remained the same for the past 2 months.
    Reply
  • Kridian
    Where exactly on this site do they announce the winners of these contests?
    Reply
  • slicedtoad
    I'd prefer either a larger ssd or none, 30GB would be annoying.
    At the $1000 mark i'd opt for 8GB of ram, no ssd and a better hdd. And not a microATX.

    Also why isn't micro stuttering mentioned? If i remember correctly, these cards have issues with it.

    Guess that was mostly negative stuff, i liked reading it anyway though, keep em coming.
    Reply
  • decembermouse
    I like this system a lot better than yesterday's. A more balanced build. Kudos! It's always interesting to see similar setups and how they compare, for instance in this case the 6850s versus the 460s. Glad you are switching it up. I'd say you were right on the CPU front to stick with the 2500K. Nice work overclocking those GTX 460s and the CPU. And I'd say this is an appropriate chose of computer case for this kind of setup. I had my reservations about using Antec's cheapest "gaming" enclosure for the $2000 build, but this is spot on.

    Nice PSU as well. I do wonder though why you didn't go with the CX600V2, as it's 80+ Certified and sells for the same price as the CX600 (actually, a $10 MIR right now so $59.99).

    Also, and this isn't a critique but purely personal preference, I would probably forego the SSD for myself and stick with a cheap HDD like a WD Green. Loading times aren't that important to me; I'm willing to wait a few more seconds if it means I can put the $ I saved towards a better mobo, HSF, or better non-reference GPU cards. Call me crazy but I'm willing to wait a bit longer, as well as not having to worry about my OS drive wearing out, in order to get very slightly better performance/temps. I realize that drive performance is an important metric for most people though so I'm glad you are incorporating that into these modern builds. Can't wait to see the $500 one :)
    Reply
  • iam2thecrowe
    interestingly still going for dual mid-range cards despite the whole microstuttering article you guys wrote up recommending against dual mid range cards. Better motherboard than the high end build, at least its not Gigabyte. A 30GB SSD is completely pointless, i was unaware they even made them that small. But i suppose its something different to you usual, there are so many possibilities with a mid range build. Will be more interesting to see what you can fit into the lower end build.
    Reply
  • _Pez_
    I wouldn't had chosen a pair of gtx 460 because those are not quite power efficient as pair of gtx 560 non TI would be, I would had picked up to two HDD over a SSD. Overall I like this dynamic "System Builder Marathon" that uses TH, It helps you to take better decisions.
    Reply
  • spookie
    I would get a different: motherboard (not a mAtx), hdd (samsung spinpoint 1tb), case (I don't like the look of this case) and maby a different cooler (212+)
    other than that, its a realy nice build
    Reply
  • _Pez_
    _Pez_I wouldn't had chosen a pair of gtx 460 because those are not quite power efficient as pair of gtx 560 non TI would be, I would had picked up to two HDD over a SSD. Overall I like this dynamic "System Builder Marathon" that uses TH, It helps you to take better decisions.I want to delete this comment, I made some mistakes with grammar. If I had chosen, I wouldn't have gotten a pair of ... so embarrassing..
    Reply