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System Builder Marathon: Performance & Value

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).

Introduction

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
CPUIntel Pentium E5200Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550Intel Core i7 Extreme 965
CPU CoolerXigmatek HDT-S963Xigmatek HDT-S1283 ACK-I7751 Retention BracketCooler Master Aquagate Max Swiftech MCR320-QP Radiator 3x Scythe S-FLEX SFF21F Fan Swiftech Apogee GTZ W/B
MotherboardGigabyte GA-EP45-DS3LGigabyte GA-EP45-UD3LRAsus Rampage II Extreme
RAMG.Skill F2-6400CL4D-4GBHK 4 GBG.Skill F2-6400CL4D-4GBHK 4 GBMushkin 998679 DDR3-1600 6.0 GB
GraphicsSapphire Radeon HD 4870 512 MBSapphire Radeon HD 4870 X22x MSI GeForce GTX 295
System Hard DrivesSamsung HD501LJ 500 GBWD Caviar Black 640 GB2x Intel X25-M 80GB SATA SSD SYBA Mobile Rack for 2.5" SATA
Added StorageSeagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5 TB
SoundIntegrated HD AudioIntegrated HD AudioAsus SupremeFX X-Fi
NetworkingIntegrated Gigabit NetworkingIntegrated Gigabit NetworkingIntegrated Gigabit Networking
ChassisRosewill R222-P-BKRosewill RZLS142A-P YECooler Master Cosmos-S RC-1100
PowerPC Power&Cooling PPC-S500Corsair TX650WCooler Master RS-850-EMBA
OpticalLite-On 20X DVD±R iHAS120-04Lite-On 20X DVD±R iHAS120-04LG Blu-ray Burner GGW-H20LK
Total Price$624$1,154$4,563

Because today’s article is a value comparison, we’ll carefully consider the successes and failings of each model before comparing performance per dollar.

  • timelist
    Next time when you do this, can you please do a 1250 AMD pc? and see how it compares and all that good stuff?
    Reply
  • gkay09
    Well can u please do a comparision of various builds considering its alternatives both from the Green and the Blue company ...so that we can guess at what price point, which will be better....that will be more informative...
    Reply
  • katmai
    i would really be interested to see amd into this also, because so far it has been all intel, but as far as i know the phenom II's are not quite bad, in fact i noticed lots of praises for their performance, so a 1250 $ AMD pc , and compare it to the 1250 intel would be awesome.
    Reply
  • sleepychink125
    they should just do whatever gives the best performance/price... people only care about how far their money will get them, not this AMD fanboy crap. If TH feels that a AMD chip will get them farther than an intel chip of the same price, then they should by all means go for it... if not, please stop complaining.
    Reply
  • sleepychink125
    btw, its not just these 2 above comments that bug me...its people like them spamming the boards EVERY SINGLE MONTH about AMD builds.
    Reply
  • gkay09
    sleepychink125btw, its not just these 2 above comments that bug me...its people like them spamming the boards EVERY SINGLE MONTH about AMD builds.Well tats such a dumb way of saying give me anything but don bother me wit many optons :P ...but people would really like to know more abt comparision rather than just sticking wit the options posted here...
    Reply
  • gkay09
    sleepychink125they should just do whatever gives the best performance/price... people only care about how far their money will get them, not this AMD fanboy crap. If TH feels that a AMD chip will get them farther than an intel chip of the same price, then they should by all means go for it... if not, please stop complaining.Well how would they knw if the options chose by them are the best unless they compare it wit the other options available...rather than jus posting the components they chose...mayb a more explained reason in comparision rather than jus a single component review would be gud...
    Reply
  • sleepychink125
    im sorry if i offended u... i just wanted to see some constructive conversation that i can learn from or join in, not just amd guys complaining.
    Reply
  • gkay09
    sleepychink125im sorry if i offended u... i just wanted to see some constructive conversation that i can learn from or join in, not just amd guys complaining.Lolz its nt jus that we are amd guys(I use a Core2 :P) Its jus that we want to see more competition come into play rather than jus stick to the Blue company...Its jus tat we want this competition to be alive so we gt better components...
    Reply
  • gkay09
    The Green company has come a far way...(from the Phenom I failure that is) there are many CPUs like the 7750, the new Phenoms, which can provide some competition (mayb nt beat the other)...

    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...
    Reply