What’s Your Idea Of Value?
System Builder Marathon, February 2009: 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).
- Day 1: The $625 Gaming PC
- Day 2: The $1,250 Mid-Range PC
- Day 3: The $5,000 Enthusiast PC
- Day 4: Performance and Value Dissected
The best performance per dollar is usually found in low-cost components that are, unfortunately, often too weak to perform high-end tasks. That is to say, if the most-expensive system has the minimum required performance, the others, even if vastly cheaper but only slightly slower, fail. We certainly didn’t see many failures in our $625 or $1,250 builds, but is the $5,000 system ever really needed? That’s something each buyer must decide based on his or her personal expectations.
The $625 system certainly looks cheap and the $5,000 system certainly looks pricey, but appearances can’t begin to distinguish the vast differences of internal components. Our $1,250 system, for example, looks cheap because our builder picked the best-ventilated low-cost case in an effort to allocate a greater portion of his budget to advanced internal parts.
|System Builder Marathon Components|
|Component||$625 PC||$1,250 PC||$5,000 PC|
|CPU||Intel Pentium E5200||Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550||Intel Core i7 Extreme 965|
|CPU Cooler||Xigmatek HDT-S963||Xigmatek HDT-S1283 ACK-I7751 Retention Bracket||Cooler Master Aquagate Max Swiftech MCR320-QP Radiator 3x Scythe S-FLEX SFF21F Fan Swiftech Apogee GTZ W/B|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3L||Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3LR||Asus Rampage II Extreme|
|RAM||G.Skill F2-6400CL4D-4GBHK 4 GB||G.Skill F2-6400CL4D-4GBHK 4 GB||Mushkin 998679 DDR3-1600 6.0 GB|
|Graphics||Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 512 MB||Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 X2||2x MSI GeForce GTX 295|
|System Hard Drives||Samsung HD501LJ 500 GB||WD Caviar Black 640 GB||2x Intel X25-M 80GB SATA SSD SYBA Mobile Rack for 2.5" SATA|
|Added Storage||Row 7 - Cell 1||Row 7 - Cell 2||Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5 TB|
|Sound||Integrated HD Audio||Integrated HD Audio||Asus SupremeFX X-Fi|
|Networking||Integrated Gigabit Networking||Integrated Gigabit Networking||Integrated Gigabit Networking|
|Chassis||Rosewill R222-P-BK||Rosewill RZLS142A-P YE||Cooler Master Cosmos-S RC-1100|
|Power||PC Power&Cooling PPC-S500||Corsair TX650W||Cooler Master RS-850-EMBA|
|Optical||Lite-On 20X DVD±R iHAS120-04||Lite-On 20X DVD±R iHAS120-04||LG Blu-ray Burner GGW-H20LK|
Because today’s article is a value comparison, we’ll carefully consider the successes and failings of each model before comparing performance per dollar.
The reason behind people posting request to see an AMD m/c is tat we cant buy all the components that are coming in the market and then sticking to the better ones...for which the THG come into play...they have the resources and manpower to do this and give the general public the pros and cons of the h/w out there...thus helping us...