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System Builder Marathon: Day 4


The over the past three days, we have built and tested three different system configurations, each at a vastly different price point. Today, we'll be comparing the results of the tests that Shelton Romhanyi ran on these systems.

Tom's System Builder Marathon CPUs: AMD Athlon X2 3800+ AM2, Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 and Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800

We expected that our readers would disagree with us on what the definition of 'mid-range' and 'high-end' might be and many of you sure did. We had quite a bit of discussion ourselves before agreeing on what constituted a low, medium and high-end component. We had to draw a line in the sand somewhere, so let us discuss our criteria a bit.

Low-cost was pretty straightforward; we simply looked for the lowest cost component that fit a minimum acceptable specification. In doing so, we assembled a PC that offers acceptable performance for a minimal price.

The high-end was much more difficult and involved a lot of debate. In the end, we decided to make a dream machine - superfast CPU, SLI, Raid 0, and all the fixings. While this might be out of the reach of even hardcore enthusiasts, it's a good choice for our system-builder efforts because the test results will show us how much mileage a PC buyer gets out of purchasing these top-of-the-line components.

With high-end and low-cost criteria in hand, we decided to make the mid-range system a 'reasonable' PC, one well in the reach of the enthusiast as far as pricing is concerned and offering top-notch performance for the price.