SBM 3: High-End System

System Builder Marathon September: The Articles

Here are links to each each of the five articles in this month's System Builder Marathon (SBM).

Day 1: Low Cost PC compared to last SBM Low Cost PC
Day 2: Mid Cost PC compared to last SBM Mid Cost PC
Day 3: Higher Cost PC compared to last SBM Higher Cost PC
Day 4: All Three September SBM PCs Overclocked
Day 5: Summary - Price- Performance Winner

The Not-So Limitless $4,000 Budget

Picking parts under a price limit of $4,000 should be easy, as one might expect such a system to have the best of everything. But two problems high-budget builders face are that the "best" component for the task often depends on personal preference, and that a $4,000 budget limit really won't get everything you could possibly want.

We certainly got close to the top by picking a few of the highest-rated parts from our previous reviews, and tempering our selection with the idea that some parts simply don't deliver enough performance per dollar to justify the added expense.

Big spenders get the benefits of added features, but any price limit will force a builder to choose between extravagance and performance. Still, our choices remained well under the budget limit, with enough money left over to buy a decent monitor, a bunch of software, or a combination of software and peripherals.

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Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.