Skip to main content

System Builder Marathon, August 2012: $2000 Performance PC

Case And Drives

Case: NZXT Phantom 410

So far, we've only chosen parts that were previously issued recommendations by our editors, including an award-winning CPU and motherboard. So, why would we stop there? Quality and cooling helped the NZXT Phantom 410 top our picks of $80 to $120 gaming cases.

Read Customer Reviews of NZXT's Phantom 410 (opens in new tab)

We already knew we liked the Phantom 410, so there was really no reason to spend more on a pricier enclosure. Besides, our budget wouldn't have allowed for it anyway.

System Drive: Mushkin Enhanced Chronos Deluxe 240 GB

Read Customer Reviews of Mushkin's Chronos Deluxe 240 GB (opens in new tab)

Top performance and a low price have kept Mushkin's Chronos Deluxe 240 GB on top of our value charts almost since it was introduced. The 240 GB capacity point is large enough for most of us to install all of our programs on fast NAND, leaving big movie files, audio libraries, and image galleries on magnetic media.

Storage Drive: Western Digital AV Green Power 2 TB

We could have spent hours looking for the best mix of capacity and performance for our storage drive, but why bother? We're already looking at a packed budget, and the 240 GB SSD we're using assuages our most pressing worries about space and speed. The point of this add-on is to get as much capacity for bulk storage at as low of a price as possible.

Read Customer Reviews of Western Digital's AV Green Power 2 TB (opens in new tab)

What we really like to see from our mechanical disks is low noise, a cheap price, and longevity. Western Digital’s WD20EURS promises those things with a 5400 RPM spindle and three-year warranty.

Optical Drive: Asus BW-12B1ST

Although many folks think of Blu-ray as nothing more than a high-definition video medium, we know that the format is far more flexible. That doesn't mean we don't value the technology's prevalence for delivering high-def video content, though. The last Blu-ray drive we picked didn't come with any software, and we wanted to fix that this time around.

Read Customer Reviews of Asus' BW-12B1ST (opens in new tab)

BD-R writes as fast as 12x and DVD-R writes of 16x are par for the course from $90 drives, but software is not. Asus provides the least-expensive package we could find, and we take comfort in the knowledge that the company's reputation for quality includes its optical drive products.

Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • Darkerson
    Interesting setup. I would have favored a way beefier single GPU or a nice dual GPU setup, but I mainly only game, and dont do a lot of encoding or whatnot.
  • The contest opens on August 20, 2012 9:00 PM PDT and closes on September 3, 2012 9:00 PM PDT.
    So... i notice now that it opens at August 20, not August 19 when the $500 SBM appeared. I submitted my entry at August 19 10:30 PM. So that means that i haven't entered into the sweepstakes, or did i? I am confused, cause only one entry can be accepted.
  • Nice quality build! Enough said!
  • trumpeter1994
    That has got to be one of the luckiest GTX 670s I've ever seen.
  • sarinaide
    Gigabyte G1 Assassin Z77
    120GB SSD
    500GB HDD
    2xGTX 670
    2x4GB DDR3 1866

    And still probably cheaper with obviously better performance.
  • Crashman
    sarinaidei5-3570k/i7-3770kGigabyte G1 Assassin Z77120GB SSD500GB HDD2xGTX 6702x4GB DDR3 1866And still probably cheaper with obviously better performance.Probably not, unless you're only testing games. But we should probably test that anyway. Does anyone else want to see it?
  • zander1983
    Ditch the BR Writer, get a BR combo drive and save yourself $60
  • Crashman
    zander1983Ditch the BR Writer, get a BR combo drive and save yourself $60Sorry, I don't see any combo drives for $30 so the savings would be much less than $60. Plus, you'd lose BD-RE backup capability, which can be handy.
  • sarinaide
    CrashmanProbably not, unless you're only testing games. But we should probably test that anyway. Does anyone else want to see it?
    It would be very interesting, the IvyBridge chips in productivity numbers hold quite well with the SB-E chips that is the only area which should be a contest.
  • crisan_tiberiu
    16GB ram pointless imo. 2 TB 5400rpm hdd? ...i rather get a 1 TB 7200 rpm hdd. i7 3970k ... i rather get the i7 3770k. From theese i would squeeze in a gtx 680.