4 Machines, 2 Builders, 1 Winner
After temporarily losing Paul to his day job, we found a few ways to keep the challenge level up and the competition interesting. Each of the remaining two builders would be forced to try outperforming the other across a brutal set of benchmarks, and then they’d try to repeat the process in a mini-ITX chassis.
Caught off-guard by the difficulty of building an overclocked performance machine, Julio found himself a little overwhelmed when tasked with gaming hardware and overclocking techniques, pushing his tuning efforts way past the deadline and into the publishing week before finally giving in on a few details just to stay in-play. But given his IT professional background, I think we can forgive him this once.
The biggest split isn’t in size, but in function. My own performance PCs follow a similar path to the homework machines I built during my college days. Now useful for running my engineering programs and games on the same set of monitors at home.
That's why I retained the same order throughout the article. This chart format works best with 5 or fewer configurations, 6 was a stretch and 8 is too much for some readers. We'll most likely go back to fewer configurations next time.
I'm not sure these systems show anything new or unexpected, although there may still be people who don't realize just how effective mini-ITX can be. The silicon lottery played its part, and thermal problems raised their ugly head as well.
Not to defend "we've always done it this way," for its own sake, but I'm sure I'm not the only one a little exasperated by some of Julio's choices and methods. With few exceptions, I could see why any of the three previous builders did certain things (Don's cheap case selection(s) being one of those exceptions), but I hardly know where to begin with Julio. It's not even that he's blatantly "wrong" about things, but his builds felt awkward; maybe like music where A=432Hz is notably different from music where A is tuned to 440Hz.
Of these builds, I prefer the mITX boxes. My own games and single monitor need nothing more than a GTX970, so that makes Thomas' little box the one I'd prefer to win.
I kind of agree, but that's because mini-itx cases are kinda weird as the are likely one of two extremes. They're either short and long, like the coolermaster elite 1## / haf stacker series, or tall and "fat" like the rosewill neutron. (HTPC cases are a different class)
I never got a chance to hear the gaming machines running.