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System Builder Marathon: $1,250 Mid-Range PC

Power Supply, Optical Drive, And Video Card

Power Supply: Corsair 650TX

Corsair's 650TX has shown us that it's more than capable of handling a robust system with a Radeon HD 4870 X2 in previous SBMs at a reasonable price.

Read Customer Reviews of Corsair's 650TX Power Supply

In addition, the 650 TX is an efficient PSU, sporting the 80 PLUS certification.Without any particularly compelling alternatives at this price, we will stick with this tried-and-true option.

Optical Drive : LITE-ON 20X DVD±R SATA Model iHAS120-04

Read Customer Reviews of Lite-On's iHAS120-04

Now slightly cheaper at $22, Lite-On’s iHAS120-04 drive has the ability to write DVD+/-R(W), DVD-RAM, and Double Layer discs, which is a great option for a single-drive choice.

Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 X2

Read Customer Reviews of Sapphire's Radeon HD 4870 X2

Just to make things crystal clear, we're going to repeat ourselves and mention that the GeForce GTX 295 wasn't yet available to order when we put this SBM machine together. That card would obviously be our choice if we were to spec out a $1,250 machine today.

Having said that, the Radeon HD 4870 X2 is no slouch and its prices have dropped notably compared to the GTX 295. Sapphire's Radeon HD 4870 X2 is $450 right now, and at the time of writing, Newegg was offering a $30 mail-in rebate. This makes the price of the 4870 X2 at least $50 cheaper than the GTX 295 ($80 cheaper with a rebate), and at that price, it still offers good performance per dollar.

As an unintentional bonus, the 4870 X2 makes it easier to compare our current Q9550 system to the previous E8500 system, which also had a Radeon HD 4870 X2.

  • johnyeah
    I just checked, I was wondering if the HD 4850 x2 (2x1gb) was a better choice at only $240? That would cut the cost by an additional.
    Reply
  • xx12amanxx
    Phenom 2 940 is 40$ dollars cheaper overclock's to 3.7-3.9 on air runs cooler and performs the same. Not sure why you went with an equal performing lower overclocking higher power using and almost 40$ more expensive cpu.
    Reply
  • Tindytim
    You're $96 under budget, but you couldn't splurge on a better case?

    Unless you made a Typo on one of those prices, they all add up to the 1154 total. So why are you so under budget?
    Reply
  • Crashman
    xx12amanxxPhenom 2 940 is 40$ dollars cheaper overclock's to 3.7-3.9 on air runs cooler and performs the same. Not sure why you went with an equal performing lower overclocking higher power using and almost 40$ more expensive cpu.
    Can't use a processor that doesn't exist. They weren't on the market when the parts were ordered...what, you thought these articles were produced overnight?

    TindytimYou're $96 under budget, but you couldn't splurge on a better case?Unless you made a Typo on one of those prices, they all add up to the 1154 total. So why are you so under budget?
    Prices dropped after the parts were ordered: The same thing happens to EVERY builder, the system loses value almost as soon as you can click the "buy" icon.
    Reply
  • Tindytim
    CrashmanPrices dropped after the parts were ordered: The same thing happens to EVERY builder, the system loses value almost as soon as you can click the "buy" icon.Wait, wait, wait.

    You mention that in the $625 article, but those were the prices at purchase. Why the inconsistency?
    Reply
  • Crashman
    TindytimWait, wait, wait.You mention that in the $625 article, but those were the prices at purchase. Why the inconsistency?
    Ask the author of the other article? I only know that the more expensive a part is, the more money you loose when the price drops.
    Reply
  • maxwellsmart_80
    *SIGH* Yet ANOHTER "Intel System Build Marathon" machine...just kidding - I understand what you are saying about the Phenom II 940 not being available at the time of component purchase - It would be nice to see some AMD in next months articles though!

    P.S. - you were under budget, why not go w/ the Antec Three Hundred Case - it's 1000% nicer than the Rosewill Piece 'o Junk you picked, and would have cooled your Overclock a lot better IMHO...just a thought - it's a killer case for the money - have you ever used it in a system build?
    Reply
  • yellowfever
    This is my first time commenting on any article at Tom's after reading everyday for 6+ years, but seeing the UD3LR motherboard pick instead of the equally priced UD3R ($2 more after rebate) or UD3P($12 more after rebate) is ridiculous for a computer hardware website. Both boards would let you do 24/7 clocks of 4+ at decent voltages on air for an E0 stepping Q9550. Gigabyte isn't going to iron out bios wrinkles on their cheapest UD3, don't forget even the UD3R was easilly beaten in stability against the UD3P until two to three months ago when better bioses started popping up. Maybe it's late, but some strange hardware gets picked on this site to save $12.
    Reply
  • SlyNine
    I would have thought your OC would have been more limited by the 4pin CPU Power on the motherboard
    Reply
  • _horse
    Im diggin' the build here, regardless of newer hardware being available later, and prices dropping after purchase.

    Suggestion: Why not split these articles up into two forms? Why not submit an "initial/at time of order" article and have that listed first to let people argue, then do all the benchmarking and submit a followup article later, attached to the initial article?

    People can still bicker over price range and stuff before the benchmarks even come out, that way you know what/when the article is being based off of.

    I know, Im the new guy and Im probably spitting in to the wind here, but...

    :)

    -Horse
    Reply