SBM 1: Low Cost 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


In our previous system builder marathon, we built a budget PC for about $500. It performed really well compared to higher-end systems when we factored in the amount of money invested, but unfortunately, our $500 low-cost system didn't have a lot of overclocking potential to go up against the big boys.

In our overclocker marathon, we configured a new budget PC with an overclockable e4300 CPU and Geforce 8800 GTX video card. The final price was under $1,200, but it had what it takes to overclock and perform in the same league as PCs twice its price.

This time, our low-end machine will have a price cap of $1,000 and our medium grade system will be capped around $1,500, so we can really see what that extra $500 can get you. These higher price points will also make our systems better suited to go head-to-head in an overclocking marathon at a later date.

Now that we've doubled our budget from our original $500, what hardware will our $1,000 buy us? Let's look at the components we chose and discuss our rationale for selecting them.

CPU: Retail Intel Core 2 E6750

At just over $200, the new E6750 is an extremely easy choice for a low-cost system.

It seems it was only a few months ago that the E6700 was one of the most powerful CPUs available - and that's because it was. The E6750 offers a much lower price, coupled with a higher front side bus speed than its older sibling. The only bad thing you could say about the E6750 is that it's still a dual core part at a time when quad cores are becoming more popular. As far as it impacts the user experience, though, dual core still has a long life of usefulness ahead of it.

Thomas Soderstrom has chosen the new quad core Q6600 for the midrange system that Shelton Romhanyi will be building and testing. Watching what happens when the E6750 goes toe to toe with the Q6600 later in the marathon, should make for a very interesting read.

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