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System Builder Marathon Q2 2015: $1600 Mini Performance PC

Comparison Systems

Here’s how the Q2 mini PC compares to its full-ATX sibling and my previous-quarter’s graphics-heavy build. Notice that both the Q2 ATX system and the Q1 SLI machine reached the same GPU overclock, which hardly seems like a coincidence, and that the Q1 is only handicapped by two factors: A 4-core CPU more appropriately picked for gaming, and a higher price that hurts it in the value comparison.

Q2 $1600 Mini Performance PCQ2 $1600 Performance PCQ1 $1750 Performance PC
Processor (Overclock)Intel Core i7-5820K: 3.30 GHz - 3.60 GHz, Six Physical Cores O/C to 4.3GHz, 1.20VIntel Core i7-5820K: 3.30 GHz - 3.60 GHz, Six Physical Cores O/C to 4.0-4.3GHz, 1.22VIntel Core i7-4790K: 4.00 GHz - 4.40 GHz, Four Physical Cores O/C to 4.60-4.80 GHz, +20mV
Graphics (Overclock)PNY GTX 970: <1178 MHz GPU,  GDDR5-7012 O/C to <1378 MHz, GDDR5-7512PNY GTX 970: <1178 MHz GPU,  GDDR5-7012 O/C to <1328 MHz, GDDR5-74122x PNY GTX 970: <1178 MHz GPU,  GDDR5-7012 O/C to <1328 MHz, GDDR5-7312
Memory (Overclock)16GB G.Skill DDR4-2400 CAS 15-15-15-35, O/C to DDR4-2666 CL 15-15-15-35, 1.325V16GB G.Skill DDR4-2666 CAS 15-15-15-35, O/C to DDR4-3200 CL 16-18-18-36, 1.30V16GB G.Skill DDR3-1866 CAS 10-11-10-28, O/C to DDR3-2133 CL 11-12-11-24, 1.60V
Motherboard (Overclock)ASRock X99E-ITX/ac: LGA 2011-v3, Intel X99Stock 100 MHz BCLKMSI X99 SLI Plus: LGA 2011-v3, Intel X99Stock 100 MHz BCLKGigabyte Z97X-Gaming 5: LGA 1150, Intel Z97 ExpressStock 100 MHz BCLK
CaseDIYPC HTPC-Cube-BKZALMAN Z11 NeoCorsair Graphite 230T
CPU CoolerCorsair H60 Closed-LoopCooler Master Hyper 612 Ver.2Corsair H100i Closed-Loop
Hard DriveSamsung 850 Evo 250GB SATA 6Gb/s SSDSamsung 850 Evo 250GB SATA 6Gb/s SSDCrucial MX100 256GB SATA 6Gb/s SSD
PowerRosewill RG630-S12: 630W 80 PLUS BronzeSeaSonic SSR-650RM: 650W, 80 PLUS GoldRosewill CAPSTONE-750: 750W, 80 PLUS Gold
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 8 Pro x64Microsoft Windows 8 Pro x64Microsoft Windows 8 Pro x64
GraphicsNvidia GeForce 352.86Nvidia GeForce 352.86Nvidia GeForce 347.25
ChipsetIntel INF 9.4.2.1019Intel INF 9.4.2.1019Intel INF 9.4.0.1026
  • UltimateDeep
    Baby PC able to out-overclock the Papa PC, gosh, this shouldn't be happening but it did anyway!
    Reply
  • MasterDell
    PSU used is not Haswell Certified.
    Reply
  • eldragon0
    Great write up, but the 5820k has 6 cores ( OC section says four physical cores)
    Reply
  • RazberyBandit
    Tricky tricky tricky tricky!

    Relate to a younger generation? A reader would have to be at least 35-years old (and into Hip-Hop) to have gotten that reference...

    You Be Illin' =)
    Reply
  • Crashman
    16145478 said:
    Tricky tricky tricky tricky!

    Relate to a younger generation? A reader would have to be at least 35-years old (and into Hip-Hop) to have gotten that reference...

    You Be Illin' =)
    I'm just fighting for your right to party. No need to take this on all by yourself, any more.

    Reply
  • CaedenV
    @Razbery and Crashman
    Nice :)
    Reply
  • Aspiring techie
    Sweet. The mini itx form factor doesn't limit performance at this price level. I guess you learn something new every day :)
    Reply
  • daveys93
    "High-resolution performance might have been better still had that machine contained a pair of R9 290X cards rather than a pair of GTX 270s."

    Typo? I think you mean 970s.
    Reply
  • atheus
    Again you sacrifice cooling performance to pick up an optical drive. Are you being paid off by big optic...oil?

    Admit it, you just chose that motherboard because it lets you plug this bad boy in:
    Reply
  • Nythious
    It's about time people start realizing that smaller cases restrict the impact of ambient temperatures because the total air volume is recycled faster than larger cases.
    Reply