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System Builder Marathon Q4 2014: Mainstream Enthusiast PC

Graphics Card, Power Supply And Case

Graphics Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 970

Now that the GeForce GTX 970 is on the market, it's an obvious choice for a midrange cost-effective build. We expect it to trump our previous system's GeForce GTX 770 by a significant margin when it comes to game performance, at the same time lowering power consumption, too.

With 1076/1216 MHz nominal/boost core clocks, Zotac's model is only slightly increased over the reference 1050/1178 MHz specification. But the way we see it, that just leaves us with more room to improve when it comes to overclocking.

Read Customer Reviews of Zotac's GeForce GTX 970

It's surprising to see this card in person as it's a lot smaller than you'd expect from hardware capable of this level of performance. At $330, there's little doubt that this GeForce will impress us considering the amount of investment required.

Power Supply: EVGA 500B

Read Customer Reviews of EVGA's 500B

One of the other advantages of the GeForce GTX 970 is it's low power usage. This gives us the opportunity to save a few more dollars on the power supply front, with a 500 Watt model instead of our usual 650 Watt choice. EVGA's 500B has a good reputation, and for $35 it is very easy on our wallet.

Case: DIYPC Adventurer 9601R

Read Customer Reviews of DIYPC's Adventurer 9601R

It's no secret that I like to try a variety of different case options, and DIYPC's Adventurer struck my eye as a low-cost enclosure with a lot to offer for the buck. With five 120mm fans included in the price and an attractive design, we hope it's as functional as it appears to be for the $80 discounted sticker.

  • 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