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System Builder Marathon, June 2011: $1000 Enthusiast PC

Video Cards, Power Supply, And Case

Video Cards: 2 x Gigabyte Radeon HD 6850 1 GB in CrossFire

While we’re extremely happy with the performance we squeezed out of our unlocked Radeon HD 6950 the last time around, we’re curious to see how a pair of Radeon HD 6850s in CrossFire compares today.

The Radeon HD 6850 is already fully-enabled; it doesn't have any unused on-die resources that can be unlocked using a firmware update. Fortunately, performance in CrossFire mode is potent.

The only variable holding this duo back is 1 GB of GDDR5 per card. The Radeon HD 6950 in our last SBM had twice as much on-board memory with which to work. And as we've seen from benchmarks past, that'll affect high-resolution gaming alacrity, especially with anti-aliasing enabled.

Read Customer Reviews of Gigabyte's GV-R685OC-1GD

We chose two Gigabyte GV-R685OC-1GD cards due to their low price and powerful dual-fan aftermarket Windforce cooler. At $340 for the pair, they’re about $65 more than a single Radeon HD 6950 2 GB.

Power Supply: Corsair CMPSU-650TX

Read Customer Reviews of Corsair's CMPSU-650TX

With a 52 amp 12 V rail and an excellent reputation, the Corsair 650TX continues to dominate the sub-$100 power supply market. At $89, we simply can’t find a significantly better option to choose.

PC Case: Xclio Nighthawk

Read Customer Reviews of Xclio's Nighthawk

As usual, we're trying out a new case in this quarter's System Builder Marathon. This time around we've chosen Xclio's Nighthawk.

The low $55 sticker price includes three 120 mm fans, an LED control panel, and cooler control, all in a simple, elegant design configured to allow exhaust to exit the case from the top, just like other, more expensive models.

  • seller417
    650W is enough power for this rig?
    Reply
  • kelby0320
    Radeon HD 9950 I want one
    Reply
  • whysobluepandabear
    What? 6850 x 2 = $340? Um, I could get TWO 6870's for $350~ EASY. Sure, they have mail in rebates, but who cares.


    Two 6870's would stomp the 6850's, and you would literally spend the same, if not a measly $10 more.
    Reply
  • quixilver1
    Why change the cooler from the $200 pc. It is only $5 more and still within the budget.
    Reply
  • whysobluepandabear
    seller417650W is enough power for this rig?Well, looking into my tarot cards and crystal ball, I see It peaks at 400W at full load. So yeah, I think 650W may be a bit of an overkill.
    Reply
  • quixilver1
    quixilver1Why change the cooler from the $200 pc. It is only $5 more and still within the budget.Should read $2000 pc.
    Reply
  • Tamz_msc
    Overall, its a good build.
    Reply
  • iam2thecrowe
    whysobluepandabearWell, looking into my tarot cards and crystal ball, I see It peaks at 400W at full load. So yeah, I think 650W may be a bit of an overkill.Why would it be overkill? Its the kind of headroom you should have so your not straining the psu. Sure you could get away with less, but for a few dollars more than a 500w unit you can get a 650w. Its perfectly balanced and leaves room for upgrade. Its good to see what 2 6850's can do but i think if I were building this PC i would chose a faster single card and upgrade to dual cards later.
    Reply
  • akorzan
    seller417650W is enough power for this rig?Yes. There is a misconception that rigs need over-sized power supplies. I have a Core i7 875k and a Radeon HD5850 running on a 400 Watt power-supply. Is it pushing it? Yes, if I clock it to 4.2 GHz and run Furmark and Prime95 none stop...
    No if I run Furmark and Prime95 at 3.33 GHz, and definitely no for any realistic workloads.
    Why did I get a 400 watt power-supply? Because it is darn silent and was recommended on Silent PC Review for "budget" power-supplies. (Bare in mind that "normal" are gold SeaSonics)
    Reply
  • whysobluepandabear
    iam2thecroweWhy would it be overkill? Its the kind of headroom you should have so your not straining the psu. Sure you could get away with less, but for a few dollars more than a 500w unit you can get a 650w. Its perfectly balanced and leaves room for upgrade. Its good to see what 2 6850's can do but i think if I were building this PC i would chose a faster single card and upgrade to dual cards later.
    Because he was asking if 650W was enough, when all he had to do was look at the chart and clearly see the 399W max system (CPU+GPU) load.


    So essentially, for that system, the 650W is more than enough, and ...effectively an "Overkill".
    Reply