Skip to main content

System Builder Marathon Q4 2014: Mainstream Enthusiast PC

CPU, Motherboard And Cooler

CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K

The Devil's Canyon-based Core i5-4690K replaced the Core i5-4670K as the top-of-the-line multiplier-unlocked Core i5. It's not a colossal upgrade compared to its predecessor, offering a mere 100 MHz clock rate jump and better thermal interface material under the heat spreader.

We've had good luck overclocking it in our last system builder marathon, though, and with near-identical $240 pricing there's not any reason to choose the 4670K anymore.

Read Customer Reviews of Intel's Core i5-4690K

Most of the Core i5-4670K's we've tested top out in the 4.3 GHz range, but in our last build we were able to get the Core i5-4690K up to a stable 4.6 GHz overclock.  Hopefully we'll be able to meet that clock rate this time around, too.

Motherboard: ASUS Z87-A

Read Customer Reviews of ASUS Z87-A

To be honest, our first budget-frinely choice for this build was Biostar's Hi-Fi Z87-X, but it was out of stock at the last minute. This forced us to quickly switch to another option, and the cheapest we could find at the was Asus' Z87-A, a board with a decent reputation that is on sale for $105 at the time of writing.

CPU Cooler: ID Cooling SE-213

Read Customer Reviews of ID Cooling's SE-213

With the goal of saving money, we looked for a budget CPU cooler with decent potential. ID Cooling's SE-213 has three heatpipes and comes with a 120mm cooling fan, so we thought this would be a good opportunity to give this product a chance. It will be an uphill battle for this low-cost part to go head-to-head with Noctua's NH-D14 monster from our last build, but keep in mind that it was a much more expensive option.

  • envy14tpe
    You got the wrong GPU listed in the build. It is a 970 not 770. I'm referring to the Q4 build parts list. It should be the Zotac 970 4GB.

    Other than that. Build looks decent.

    : Thanks for the heads up, fixed! :)
    Reply
  • rush21hit
    It's just perfect for 1k budget build. If I have such budget, I would gone to different casing though. Did you know Lian Li had just released their new casing that look sick awesome? They make it wall mountable too. I would go with that.
    Reply
  • rayden54
    Does anyone ever recommend a Zotac GPU?
    Reply
  • SessouXFX
    It's rare for reviewers to recommend a Zotac, At least from what I've seen, it's because just as things start to look good, Zotac make some questionable decisions with their cards. otherwise, they're quite affordable and are usually better than reference.
    Reply
  • BoredSysAdmin
    "In this last system builder marathon of 2015"
    Did I just lost a whole year?

    Derp, fixed! :P
    Reply
  • VaporX
    Okay so I looked over this build and honestly I was a bit disappointed because for the price you could have done better. Going to Newegg I got the following.

    i5 4690K with Gigabyte Z97MX Gaming, same ID cooler listed above, 8 Gig Crucial (1660) RAM, 240 Gig Crucial MX100, Thermaltake Core V21 Case, Thermaltake Smart 550 watt PSU, Sapphire Tri-X 290 and Windows 8.1 all for $1056.

    So I lost the optical drive, no real lose there, some HD space (learn not to hoard) gained better onbaord sound, a large GPU performance bump and the speed advanateg of a pure SSD set.

    IMO a much nicer gamer rig.
    Reply
  • envy14tpe
    14906749 said:
    Okay so I looked over this build and honestly I was a bit disappointed because for the price you could have done better. Going to Newegg I got the following.

    i5 4690K with Gigabyte Z97MX Gaming, same ID cooler listed above, 8 Gig Crucial (1660) RAM, 240 Gig Crucial MX100, Thermaltake Core V21 Case, Thermaltake Smart 550 watt PSU, Sapphire Tri-X 290 and Windows 8.1 all for $1056.

    So I lost the optical drive, no real lose there, some HD space (learn not to hoard) gained better onbaord sound, a large GPU performance bump and the speed advanateg of a pure SSD set.

    IMO a much nicer gamer rig.

    They built this probably 3 weeks ago...so prices change.
    Reply
  • Scorpionking20
    I got 2 of those exact gpus...sent them back due to hardware crashes and coil whine. Replaced them with 2 evga 970's and I couldn't be happier. Never again Zotac!
    Reply
  • Onus
    I think the build is good. I'm going to guess that the budget cooler isn't going to support a high overclock, but that wouldn't matter to me, since I don't use +voltage to OC.
    I'm not going to quibble over the choice of Zotac. I've read mixed reviews of them. It isn't an obvious choice to me like MSI or Gigabyte, but it isn't one to avoid either like Diamond.
    I'm disappointed that the OC numbers weren't included; maybe this build could have been presented "out of sequence" after troubleshooting?
    I'd love to win this one; it is very much like something I'd build.
    Reply
  • the1kingbob
    ID Cooling SE-213 Has three heat pipes, not four
    Reply