Upping Our Game With A GeForce GTX 970
System Builder Marathon, Q4 2014: The Articles
Here are links to each of the four articles in this quarter’s System Builder Marathon (we’ll update them as each story is published). And remember, these systems are all being given away at the end of the marathon.
To enter the giveaway, please fill out this SurveyGizmo form, and be sure to read the complete rules before entering!
In this last system builder marathon of 2014, we went back to the basics. For the mid-range enthusiast-class PC, that means lowering the price and increasing game performance.
My previous entry in the series was comprised of Intel's excellent Core i5-4690K paired with a GeForce GTX 770. Despite my efforts, I still went slightly over my budget of $950 for performance parts (minus the case, optical drive, and operating system).
With dropping prices and the introduction of the GeForce GTX 970, though, we should be able to deliver a significant game performance increase while lowering the damage to our wallet by a few dollars. We did run into a snag, though: after ordering the Biostar Hi-Fi Z87-X motherboard for $80, it went out of stock. Our budget was bumped up $25 with a last-minute switch to Asus' Z87-A.
|Enthusiast System Components|
|Motherboard||ASUS Z87-A, LGA 1150, Intel Z87 Express||$105|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-4690K: 3.5 GHz Base Clock Rate, 3.9 GHz Maximum Turbo Boost, 6 MB Shared L3 Cache||$240|
|Heat Sink||ID COOLING SE-213||$22|
|Memory||8 GB G.Skill Ripjaws X (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-213,F3-17000CL9D-8GBXM||$80|
|Graphics||Zotac GeForce GTX 970 4 GB||$330|
|Storage Drive||Western Digital Blue WD10EZEX 1 TB||$53|
|Boot Disk||Kingston V300 120 GB SSD||$60|
|Power||EVGA 500B 80 PLUS Bronze PSU||$35|
|Price of Performance Hardware||$925|
|Case||DIYPC Adventurer 9601R Computer Case||$80|
|Optical||Asus DRW-24F1ST OEM DVD Burner||$20|
|OS||Microsoft Windows 8.1 64-bit, OEM||$100|
|Price As Tested||$1125|
That unfortunate change means that we only undercut the previous build by $75 instead of $100 of performance parts. The good news is that the GeForce GTX 970 should give us significantly better game performance, regardless. We also saved a few dollars with Kingston's V300 120GB SSD boot drive at $60, and ID-Cooling's SE-213 CPU cooler at $22. Now let's look at the components in detail.