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System Builder Marathon Q2 2015: $1600 Gaming PC

Synthetics

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For starters, the overclocked numbers generated in 3DMark show the machine did fairly well out the gate, especially if you notice the graphics score. Compared to Thomas’ other machines, Big Build couldn’t catch up to Q1 2015’s dual GeForce GTX 970-based rig, but then again, two GM104 GPUs might have something to do with that. On the other hand, Q4 2014’s $1600 Performance PC was as close as I could get to an even comparison. Putting both $1600 rigs up against each other, Big Build may have scored lower, but I was about to squeeze out a better score spread between the baseline and overclock configurations.

The Sandra results show what happens when you compromise and go with Core i5 when the other kids go i7. Still, I’m really proud of the smaller gap in Big Build’s scores.

  • pasow
    your listing for the GTX 980 in the article links to the motherboard.
    Reply
  • Math Geek
    i like that the builds finally contain both ssd and hdd as well as some alternative cooling solutions this time around. nice to see that there are other options for cooling besides the normal suggestions that still do a nice job. that case also seemed like a decent choice though for the money, i'm sure there are better ones you could have gotten.

    now cue the corsair psu haters in 3....2.....

    edit: i see a lot of different ideas of what "could" have been done with the money, but honestly we all know what these suggested parts can do already. using non-traditional parts in the build gives up numbers on some pieces we may not have tried out before. the numbers may not be overly positive but i learn something from them either way. so maybe take this as a lesson on "what not to do" and move on if you're so inclined. always nice to see stats on machines built with "other" parts at least for the learning opportunity :)
    Reply
  • balister
    Is there a typo with the price on the gtx 980 or did you pay more for it when you got the components? I'm showing that the price of the system (minus Windows and not counting in shipping) of ~$1295 (a little over $200 shy of the $1600 mark).
    Reply
  • SylentVyper
    There is a LOT of waste in this build. You can get the same build, with all the same specs, while paying $300 less.

    You can get RAM for almost half that price, a good SSD for about half that price, and an SLI-capable motherboard for half that price.
    Reply
  • AdviserKulikov
    According to tom's own benchmarks, RAM doesn't have a significant impact on performance in gaming, any reason why the gaming PC is featuring memory overcosted by about $50-$60?
    Reply
  • Jeffs0418
    There are some major typos and incorrect links here. Somehow I doubt the GTX980 price of $169.99...
    If it is I want one!
    Reply
  • 10tacle
    Wow they were only getting to 4.2GHz at 1.24v and hitting 89C+ on three of the four cores. That is not good. Not sure if it's a bad chip, but even that mid-range cooler should do way better than that. For comparison with my 4690K on a Noctua NH-D14, in the summer I scale back my overclock and run at 4.3GHz at 1.12v and hit mid-50C even with a 78F indoor A/C setting.
    Reply
  • Andrewst1021
    A lot of waste, 8 gb of ram and a cheaper case would of put you just shy of the gtx 980ti price range.
    Reply
  • WHComp
    You can get an Intel Xeon E3-1231v3 for $7 more on newegg: http://goo.gl/qlzkrA

    I am not a gamer but I do build a lot of CAD workstations at work. I do not see why the xeon is not a massive improvement over the i5. It is missing the integrated graphics, but that should not matter for gamers same as it works for my CAD workstations.

    I have wondered about this for a long time, someone please explain.
    Reply
  • Aspiring techie
    Was it possible to mount a case fan on the other side of the Zalman cooler, or did I miss something? If it was, then you could have gotten the temps down by a few degrees in a push-pull configuration.
    Reply