Overclocking Marathon Day 2 - A Home Brew

Editor's Note: Yesterday we overclocked Dell's factory-overclocked XPS H2C. As we expected and as Dell predicted, gains were minimal, but we had to try. Compare Prices on Dell XPS Notebooks Today we overclock the high-end model from our May System Builder Marathon. Tomorrow we tackle a cheapie PC, with lots of overclocking potential and on Friday we wrap up everything, comparing the performance of all three PCs.

Tom's Hardware's recent System Builder Marathon produced one very strong system that was begging to be overclocked into the ultimate dual-core performance machine. We chose dual core for its greater performance-per-price compared to quad cores, at least in the balance of games and applications. Here's the run-down of components and costs at the time of our build.

System Builder Marathon High-End PC Component Cost
CPU Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 $975
CPU Cooler Ultra ChillTec $130
Motherboard Asus Striker Extreme $320
RAM Crucial Ballistix DDR2 1000 PC2-8000 - 2 GB $220
Graphics 2x XFX GeForce 8800GTX PN: PVT80FSHF9 $1090
Hard Drive 2x Western Digital Caviar RE2 WD5000YS $320
Sound Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS $170
Power PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Quad $200
DVD-RW Sony NEC Optiarc 7170 SATA $35
Total Price $3,590

Even if we were to adjust for recent price drops on a few of the components, we'd still be left with a system that cost over $3,500. The major difference over the past two months has not been pricing, but instead Crucial's memory specification change from PC2-8000 to PC2-8500 for what are likely the same Ballistix modules. Buyers who'd like to build a similar system will be pleased to note that the better-rated RAM is also a little less expensive than the part it replaces.

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