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System Builder Marathon, Sept. 2010: $2000 Performance PC

Component Installation

Interchangeable screw-on brackets allow Scythe’s Mugen 2 Revision B to fit multiple socket types. We left the protective plastic on the cooler below so that readers would see the warning “Peel off before installation,” guidance we followed immediately after taking the photo.

Rather than use the motherboard’s factory-supplied brackets, Scythe’s installation kit mounts through its holes. Our installation began by removing the original bracket.

We then dropped the Phenom II X6 1055T CPU into the Socket AM3 interface, as shown in our "How to Build a PC" story.

After applying thermal paste to the CPU, we flipped the NF980-GD65 motherboard to swap in the replacement support plate. This rather tedious process requires builders to hold the CPU cooler in place atop the CPU with one hand, align it’s the motherboard to its mounting holes with a second hand, insert screws through the support plate and motherboard with a third hand, and drive the screws into the CPU cooler with a fourth hand (Ed.: It's a good thing you're a mutant!)

An extraordinary amount of dexterity is required from builders with fewer than four hands, though using a desk or workbench to hold the cooler is a good start. Alternatively, this might be a good time to have a friend handy.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • IzzyCraft
    Love the case choice everything else is pretty much can't really hate it or love it, but i mean you can't really hate any of the parts when they cost that much as they are all good but some just not right for some jobs.
    I do not care for AMD and SLI just because you'll be using an nvidia chipset and my past experiences with them have been poor.
    I also do not care for 6 cores for games although i mostly use my computer for other things which may like those 6 cores, but i don't find too many uses for 2 480's outside of gaming.

    Hopefully the next one will be one i can't help but agree with, A i5-750/760 with 2 460's in sli :D
  • Tamz_msc
    This month's SBM is forgettable.It confirms that AMD+SLI = BIG fail.
  • Tamz_msc
    A better option( without sacrificing GTX 480 SLI) in my opinion is:
    Core i7 950 (add 100$)
    GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R (add 50$)
    GSkill 6GB RAM(subtract 70$)
  • proofhitter
    Big CPU fail. I love your honesty, good one Tom's! Nice try nevertheless. Keep it up!
  • jrharbort
    The lesson here? AMD hexacores are still the best value on the market, but is still unable to keep up with the i7 in overall performance clock for clock. It's sadly not the best choice in high end systems, but it still wont stop me from recomending it to friends interested in sub-$1000 systems.
  • sassan_88
    I dont like systems Based on AMD's chipset
  • jj463rd
    With Sandybridge and Bulldozer just right around the corner I don't think that it makes any sense to build right now with current (especially CPU + motherboard)components.
  • Crashman
    jj463rdWith Sandybridge and Bulldozer just right around the corner I don't think that it makes any sense to build right now with current (especially CPU + motherboard)components.Maybe not...this system was built a couple months ago.
  • makwy2
    Love the honesty. I think this is just shows that a MUCH cheaper AMD chip ($700 less) is close but not quite in true competition with the top of the line Intel chip. I'll stick to my AMD chips because I am not made of money.

    Again, I love the honesty and straight talk TH brings with these bi-monthly features that give system builders a real idea about performance and cost-effective parts.
  • aaron92
    I really do value the AMD Hex vs Intel, 6 cores is already cutting edge and 12 threads is going beyond a desktop computer for this year atleast.