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System Builder Marathon Q3 2014: High-End Performance PC

Power Supply And Storage

PSU: EVGA SuperNova 750 B2

I’m always looking for a good price on a high-quality power supply, and this time I found a deal on EVGA’s 750W SuperNova with an 80 PLUS Bronze rating.

Read Customer Reviews of EVGA's SuperNova 750 B2

For a mere $90, this SuperNova offers 67 A on the +12 V rail in a semi-modular design, where only the mandatory cables are soldered-on. It boasts up to 85% efficiency and a five-year warranty, too. Based on its connector package, the power supply also supports a second Radeon R9 290X graphics card, just in case our winner wants to upgrade.

SSD: Plextor M6S PX-256M6S

Working for a hardware site has some advantages when it comes time to shop. In this case, I was able to get an early look at our best SSD prices for September back in August. That data points to current pricing and the performance from our April review as reasons to purchase the 256 GB M6S.

Read Customer Reviews of Plextor's M6S PX-256M6S

Currently available for only $135, our storage editor though it was a good value even back at its earlier $170 price. “The M6S provides plenty of pep thanks to Marvell's 9188 controller. Even though the processor is limited to just four channels, it keeps pace with Plextor's well-regarded M5 Pro.”

Hard Drive: Western Digital Blue WD10EZEX

We don’t need more than the 256 GB of capacity to run the tests in our benchmark suite, yet the winner of today’s system will probably want a place to store photos and media. Western Digital’s 1 TB Blue drive provides that capacity without busting my budget.

Read Customer Reviews of WD's Blue WD10EZEX

The WD10EZEX has a 7200 RPM spindle to improve response time and a SATA 6Gb/s interface for speedy accesses to 64 MB of cache. But really, I only bought this disk to store information that doesn't need to live on the precious solid-state storage.

Optical Drive: LG GH24NSB0

Many readers claim that they no longer want or need an optical drive, but our operating system shipped to us on optical media. Besides, I'm willing to bet that you have something precious stashed away on a DVD or CD that you’d like to read someday.

Read Customer Reviews of LG's GH24NSB0

The GH24NSB0 also burns DVD media at 24x, just in case you have a few blank discs laying around. Plus, it's great for loading an unrecognized GbE controller driver...since you can't exactly download that until the network connection is up and running. Better still, it's 10% cheaper than the Lite-On drive I used last time.

  • Onus
    Alternate builds, regardless of other merits, which do not conform to SBM rules (e.g. parts from sources other than Newegg) will be deleted as off-topic to the SBM discussion.
    Reply
  • SuckRaven
    I love the SBM articles that Tom's publishes, and read them regularly. However with respect to the self-limiting / self imposed (or perhaps not self) budget constraints, I feel that often the various builds end up feeling somewhat dated. I understand this is a result of the criteria that are set, and well explained, but I also think Tom's should do a somewhat more price-no-object oriented build as well. Of course, I am aware of the difficulties here. But a build with current motherboards with X99 chipsets, the newest Haswell-E processors, the latest in NVIDIA / AMD multi-GPUs, DDR4 RAM, the fastest/most durable SSDs, and liquid and air cooling might be of interest to a lot of readers as well (including myself). Efficiency and performance value/dollar aside, I would love to see a machine like this go head to head with the current high-end build, just for the sake of curiosity, if not necessarily practicality.
    Reply
  • Onus
    I thoroughly enjoyed the writeup of this PC. I've often found selections in the high-priced build way more than I need myself, but this is the first time I can recall not also thinking "what a waste" about one part or another. This one was good.
    Reply
  • mavikt
    I won't get excited for a new build until both CPU and GPU have gotten their die shrink.
    These quarterly builds usually only show miniscule improvements unless something disruptive happens to the market like a tick or tock. These articles could as well be bi-annual. Good though that the price point that you're at shifts from time to time.
    Reply
  • bmyton
    4790k -> 4690k = -$100
    290x -> SLI 770 = +$100
    Same budget, theoretically a 10-15% performance boost, and new topic of discussion as part of the article.

    These SBM builds have taken very few risks in the last few quarters...
    Reply
  • ShermOR
    GTX 980 $560 = + $30 = $1665
    Reply
  • Crashman
    14249729 said:
    4790k -> 4690k = -$100
    290x -> SLI 770 = +$100
    Same budget, theoretically a 10-15% performance boost, and new topic of discussion as part of the article.

    These SBM builds have taken very few risks in the last few quarters...
    I was actually thinking of using two of the cards Don used in his build, before I found out that Don had one. That would only be +$20 without downgrading the CPU.

    Reply
  • Mac266
    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant
    CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($239.99 @ Newegg)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($34.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z97 EXTREME4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($143.79 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Team Vulcan 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($76.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Crucial MX100 256GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($115.98 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.99 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 780 3GB DirectCU II Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($329.99 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 780 3GB DirectCU II Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($329.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Corsair Professional 850W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($129.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $1461.70
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when availableGenerated by PCPartPicker 2014-09-25 18:14 EDT-0400
    What about this? Might be cheating, given the price drops from the GTX 900 series release. Also add $10 from a promo on the PSU.
    Reply
  • DynamoNED
    This is one of my favorite High-End Builds in recent memory, because it is very balanced, without some of the excesses from previous builds. It's very nearly what I would build myself on that budget. Bravo, Thomas!
    Reply
  • 10tacle
    This is like the third SBM article I've seen that just missed the latest GPU release, and hence, it wasn't included. Surely it was known the GTX 980 release was around the corner when this build was thought up. Is there a reason why these SMBs can't be held off if it is known a new GPU series is coming out (and will actually be available in stock) within a matter of a couple of weeks or even a month?

    With that said, I do find these SBM articles most interesting of all.
    Reply