Cheap and Easy
With so many of today’s high-value parts being directly derived from high-priced siblings, finding great components within our $1,000 budget was easier than ever before. Today’s component list even gives us some hope of taking a run for the performance level of the upper-mainstream system we tested yesterday, at least when we finally get to tomorrow’s overclocking competition. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at that component list.
|CPU||Intel Core 2 Duo E7200||130|
|CPU Cooler||Cooler Master HyperTX 2||26|
|Motherboard||MSI P7N SLI Platinum||150|
|RAM||Crucial Ballistix 2x 1GB PC2-6400 Kit||55|
|Graphics||2x Gigabyte 8800 GT GV-NX88T512HPV1 (SLI)||376|
|Hard Drive||Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 500GB ST3500630AS||80|
|Sound||Onboard 8-Channel HD Audio Codec||00|
|Case||Cooler Master Centurion 590 RC-590-KKN1-GP||70|
|Power||Silverstone ST400 400W||47|
|DVD-RW||Sony NEC Optiarc 7170 Serial ATA||25|
|Auxiliary Fan||2x OKGEAR D12SL-12 (120mm/1350RPM)||9|
If you’re not as impressed as us about these component prices, consider the fact that these are the up-front costs. Buyers of the same configuration can expect around $100 to come back to them in the form of rebates, which we’ll define later.
Just to put an emphasis on how radically improved the current $1000 system market is compared to the one we built just three months ago, here’s what similar dollars could buy back in March.
|CPU||AMD Quad Core Phenom 9500||200|
|CPU Cooler||Cooler master HyperTX 2||26|
|RAM||Wintec Ampo DDR2 PC2-6400 - 2 GB||39|
|Graphics||HIS Radeon 3870 ICEQ Turbo||180|
|Hard Drive||Western Digital Caviar 500 GB||80|
|Sound||Integrated high Definition Audio||0|
|DVD-RW||Sony Optiarc DVD-RW||25|
The current price listed above represents a savings of nearly $200 from when we built the system in March, but even after the savings we expect the performance levels to be incomparable in many regards. Today’s real questions then regard the level of improvement for our current $1000 build, and what its weaknesses are compared to the earlier quad-core effort.