System Builder Marathon, August 2012: $2000 Performance PC

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[citation][nom]hapkido[/nom]If you're doing professional graphics work, you want a professional GPU. I can see the merits of using your professional GPU to play the occasional game, but using a consumer GPU to do professional work is bass-ackwards. If you really need it for your job, spend the extra money and get the proper tools. This $2000 build is a gaming / general purpose build disguised as a productivity build. Furthermore, who is going to overclock anything they use to make money? In that situation, reliability and stability are far more important than speed.The entire series needs to be re-worked after next quarter. You are right, get rid of all the low resolution benchmarks. Nobody with a computer built or bought in the last 5 years is using anything less than 1080p. 1920x1080, 1920x1200, 2560x1440, and 2560x1600 are the only relevant resolutions for gaming now. Also, the price points should be adjust to more realistic levels: either $500, $850, and $1200 or $500, $1000, and $1500. I'd wager there is a very, very small subset of your readers who spend more than $1200-1500 on their PCs.[/citation]

A lot of modern gamers are at 1600x900 and 1680x1050.

[citation][nom]Nills[/nom]This is true, but the LGA2011 is a Sandy Bridge chipset. It's 2 years behind, and it costs 2x Z77/3770K combo. Ivy Bridge is at least at 22nm so next year's tock cycle of Haswell chipset should work with Z77s.[/citation]

Haswell will not work with Z77 boards unless the Z77 is ported to the LGA 1150 socket. Regardless, current Z77 boards won't support Haswell unless Intel has been lying to us about Haswell's compatibility. Also, LGA 2011 six-core CPUs have 50% more cores than any Ivy Bridge CPU, so for applications that support six or more threads, the six-core i7s can beat the quad core Ivy Bridge i7s quite significatly.
 
[citation][nom]hapkido[/nom]Not at all. I'm saying this PC is complete overkill for work. Very few users will see any advantage moving from an i3, 8GB of RAM, a 60GB SSD, and integrated graphics to an overclocked 6-core i7, 16GB of RAM, a 240GB SDD, and a $400 GTX 670.The argument that this $2000 computer is a workhorse doesn't make sense. Why overclock and risk instability and errors? What is the large SSD for; are business users installing numerous 20GB professional applications? Why a GTX 670 and not a Radeon 7970 for it's higher GPU-compute performance. Why not have 2 GPUs if you're using them to crunch numbers?I don't know if you saw it, but I have a post at the end of page 4 which I think is a more sensible $2000 build -- if $2000 on a modern PC could be considered sensible (it can't).[/citation]

Overclocking isn't much of a risk when it isn't brought to an extreme and pretty much any user can benefit from an SSD. I agree with you about the GTX 670 being chosen over a Radeon 7970 and I suppose that two 7970s are even better, but having 16GB of RAM can be a huge advantage in stuff such as Photoshop.
 

Arethel

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[citation][nom]hapkido[/nom]Furthermore, who is going to overclock anything they use to make money? In that situation, reliability and stability are far more important than speed.[/citation]
[citation][nom]hapkido[/nom]Why overclock and risk instability and errors?[/citation]
Six months ago I just deployed 8 workstations to my 3D CADD Engineering Department:

Lian Li PC-A05NA ATX Mini Tower
Asus Maximus IV Gene-Z/GEN3 Z68 Motherboard
Intel Core i5-2550k Sandy Bridge 3.4 GHz CPU (OC to 4.6 GHz)
Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3 1866
Gigabyte GV-R795WF3-3GD Radeon HD 7950 3GB (OC to 1033 MHz Core, 1425 MHz Memory)
Mushkin Enhanced Chronos 120 GB SSD
Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB 7200 RPM HDD
OCZ ZT Series 750W Modular PSU
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 120mm Heatsink Fan
Lite-On Black 12X Blu-ray Burner

Windows 7 Professional (64 bit)
3Dconnexion SpaceNavigator 3D Mouse
Dell UltraSharp U2412M 1920x1200 IPS

Total Price (Including Shipping, Software, Monitors, 3D Mice): $1,982.79 / Workstation

These systems blaze the higher priced big box offerings for what they're designed to do. The overclocked numbers were the lowest of the stable settings I could achieve so I just set all 8 systems to be the same. I think I ended up getting pretty lucky but it was a bit of a pain to get ample supply of identical components.

While most companies are unable to support fragmentation with deployed workstations (and with good reason, too), I work for a company where we have to maximize what we can get out of hard budgets. I also fill the role of CAD manager and IT/IS, so I have that luxury.

My point is that it's wrong to think that no one out there overclocks for business use. Sometimes you need to think outside of the box. The systems I deployed were by no means the fastest or best systems out there, but they're on par with the growing trend of more expensive boutique offerings being sought after in my industry. Dell and HP just don't cut it anymore when you're dealing with complex geometry on a budget. Also our software, Autodesk Product Design Suite, has been utilizing Direct3D for years—they've moved away from OpenGL. Go to any Autodesk Inventor forum or newsgroup and you will see that the concensus is to avoid "professional" cards and spend the money on other things.
 

mousseng

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Just because it's an older architecture doesn't mean it's not the latest architecture for that for that particular field - I'm sure you've noticed there's no Ivy Bridge-E (or EX or any other Ivy Bridge variant) on the market at all. While the 3770k may have its merits, when you're requiring the maximum amount of power for whatever it is you're doing, the 6 cores/12 threads you can get on LGA2011 will be more valuable than the 4 cores/8 threads you can get on LGA1155.

Also no, Haswell chips will not work on a Z77 board - they will require a completely new mobo, because the socket they'll use is LGA1150 (not LGA1155).



I agree. That's why everybody that overclocks should do thorough stability tests.

What is the large SSD for; are business users installing numerous 20GB professional applications?
No, but professionals are installing numerous 20GB+ professional applications, because that is what they use in their profession. This 'workstation' is not the same kind of workstation Joe Schmoe would have in his cubicle at Large Corporation, Inc. where everything he needs has been loaded on a server elsewhere.

Why a GTX 670 and not a Radeon 7970 for it's higher GPU-compute performance. Why not have 2 GPUs if you're using them to crunch numbers?
While I admit that my preference goes to the 7970, not every workstation-type computer demands GPU compute because not every application can take advantage of GPGPU.
 

simplesheep

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Why is these set up ( $1000 and $2000 ) both uses GTX and Intel components ? when others are cheaperim NOT AMD fanboy by any mean. Im just asking ...
 

Maximus_Delta

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why Toms keeping banging on about the GTX 670 !! the 7970 is a few bucks more and surely the budget stretchs for a card that much more capable and future proof. Seriously u guys are so nVidia biased its borderline sickening.
 

Crashman

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[citation][nom]Maximus_Delta[/nom]why Toms keeping banging on about the GTX 670...[/citation]Because readers asked for it. The problem with tin foil hats is that sometimes they block out the wrong kinds of signals...
 

PCgamer81

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Probably because the 670 is the best value high end card on the market right now, and by a looooooooooooooooooong shot.

In one fell swoop, Nvidia rendered their own flagship single card (GTX680) moot and blew away AMD's 7970 for the price.
 

Pedrovsky

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I've been reading this website since I started to get interested in computers and i'm very thankful for all the info and help i got from all the comunity in this website.

That said, i want to say that i'm very disappointed with this build because you all know that a 2000$ tag to build a good lga 2011 pc is not enough. And you can find all the excuses you want to say this is something someone would buy...if you do i feel sorry for you. A pc built around lga 2011 is supposed to be a beast in everything...Those using lga 2011 to play in a single monitor at 2560x(whatever the number is) is just dumb. Those who buy a lga 2011 based computer just for professional porpuses will never use this cpu nor this RAM nor this GPU, and if they know better (which they do) they will never go for it at alll.

Please tom's writters stop trying to find ways of putting some pieces of awesome hardware into categories they don't belong. Or at least say this "you should buy this computer if you willing to upgrade it overtime and you expect to spend at least more 3000 dolars to unleash it's true potential" which even then would be useless at this point for obvious reasons because SB-E is already a very unworthy investment.
 
[citation][nom]PCgamer81[/nom]Probably because the 670 is the best value high end card on the market right now, and by a looooooooooooooooooong shot.In one fell swoop, Nvidia rendered their own flagship single card (GTX680) moot and blew away AMD's 7970 for the price.[/citation]

The 7970 is roughly on-par with the 670 (they trade blows with the 7970 currently usually a little ahead, on average) for about the same price and has slightly better overclocking performance. The 670 is not a better value card, especially if you play at higher levels of AA and tessellation where the 670 falls short of the 7970 in most games quite significantly.

Also, the best value card for the high end is the 7950 because it can match the 7970 in beating the 670 overall when overclocked due to it having pretty much equal average maximum overclocking performance to the 7970 and being about 10-30% cheaper than the 670 (maybe even less in some cases). The 7900 cards beat the 670/680 for some of the same reasons as the 7870 winning over the 660 TI significantly when overclocking is considered.

The 670 hasn't had the value win since the 7970 dropped under $450, the 7950 dropped below $400, and Catalyst 12.7 came out.
 

PCgamer81

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Performance wise, the 670 falls within 10% of the 680 and can be had for $399.99 anywhere. That's good value.

The 7970 can be found for less than $430, but not often.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Description=radeon%20hd%207970&Submit=ENE

I had rather have a 670 than a 7950...

http://www.hwcompare.com/12507/geforce-gtx-670-vs-radeon-hd-7950/

Unless you are running a really high resolution, that is. But if that's the case, Nvidia wouldn't even be in the discussion, anyway.
 


HWcompare doesn't reflect real-world performance very well. They don't even run benchmarks, they just use math that doesn't take drivers and architectural differences into account. The 7950 and the 7970 have effectively equal performance when both are pushed to the maximum safe performance levels and they both beat the 670 in that sense. You can prefer any card that you want, that's anyone's right as far as I'm concerned, but the 670 generally isn't better than the 7950 in overclocked performance with current drivers and doesn't even come close in price.

Also, your link has four 7970s that are below $430 and another two that go below $430 with their MIR.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007709&IsNodeId=1&Description=radeon%20hd%207950&name=Desktop%20Graphics%20Cards&Order=PRICE&Pagesize=20

There are thirteen 7950s that are priced below $330 with and/or without an MIR. Some drop at or below $300. The 670 doesn't even come close in value.

EDIT: I'm not saying that the 670 doesn't have a lot of value because to say that would be wrong. I'm just saying that the 7950 has a lot more. The 7970 has fairly comparable value to the 670, but I'd give it a small win over the 670 with current pricing.
 

eddieroolz

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I value a balanced machine for not just games but general tasks as well so this is a very good machine. I myself would cut back on the SSD and Blu-ray for a better cooler. With that said however, still a very nice machine and good luck to whoever that wins it.
 

youssef 2010

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[citation][nom]Article[/nom] we'd mix last quarter's efficient motherboard and CPU with the other components from today's setup. That'd likely provide the best balance of power, efficiency, and value.[/citation]

Not true IMHO. Since one of your goals is high end gaming value, you just can't deny that the 680 is a far better option than the 670.

Also, I will comment on your GPU selection with a number, 7970.
 
[citation][nom]youssef 2010[/nom]Not true IMHO. Since one of your goals is high end gaming value, you just can't deny that the 680 is a far better option than the 670.Also, I will comment on your GPU selection with a number, 7970.[/citation]

The 680 doesn't perform any better than the 670.
 

unknown9122

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you can easily get a 680 and faster ram for that price. also add in a 750W gold psu instead of silver. plus water cooling. also add in a caviar black.
 
[citation][nom]UNKNOWN9122[/nom]you can easily get a 680 and faster ram for that price. also add in a 750W gold psu instead of silver. plus water cooling. also add in a caviar black.[/citation]

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The 670 and the 680 are nearly identical in performance and features. Why would anyone buy the 680 over the 670 when performance between them is nearly identical and the 680 doesn't have any features that the 670 lacks, yet the 680 is 25% more expensive?
 

PCgamer81

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Well, that can be true with anything hardware related.

The fact is, the further up the ladder you go, the less bang for your buck you actually get - that's true with just about all graphics cards.

I understand that the the cost discrepancy is glaring in light of the performance discrepancy between those two particular cards, but a 25% greater cost in exchange for 5%-10% more performance is a price some people are willing to pay.

While it is true that the 670 can be overclocked to near 680 speeds, the 680 can be overclocked, as well. Either a person overclocks, or not. If a person is going to overclock the 670, than he was most likely going to overclock the 680, also. The overclocking argument is cancelled out.

It's really just subjective. I believe that the 670 is the better value by far- and that would be my choice for a card.

But people are different, with different needs, and different pocket books.

No one can objectively say that the 680 is bad choice, or even a less valid choice.
 


If it was a 5-10% increase, then I'd agree with you, but it's usually more like a 2-4% increase, if that. I can't justify 25% more money for a usually sub 5% difference. The greatest consistent difference, if I remember correctly at Tom's, was something like 7% and was only in one or two tests out of many. I'll recheck just to be sure, but the 680 simply isn't noticeably better than the 670. Overclocking doesn't change that. The problem is that the memory bus holds back the significantly faster GPU. I'm pretty sure that that is why the GTX 660 TI had its memory bus cut down (to finally make some difference from the 680) and they left the GPU way up there to be able to make up for the more significant than hyped up performance difference in marketing. It's also why overclocking the 660 TI is almost useless.

Another example is comparing Llano IGP overclocking results. You can overclock that IGP by even up to 60% fairly easily, but simply upping the memory from 1600MT/s to 1866MT/s will make roughly the same performance difference (while also improving the effectiveness of the overclock just like the 670 and 680 versus the 660 Ti in overclocking).

The point is that overclocking the 680 doesn't let it take off from the 670 like overclocking the 7950 does compared to the 7870 or the 670 to the 660 TI.
 

mousseng

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Right, but the system builders here would not fall into that category, since the whole purpose of them building these is to compare the price/performance (ie, value) of the whole system - and paying an extra $100 for something that would effectively do nothing is counter-productive.
 

PCgamer81

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I was in a similar situation a year ago when I paid an extra $100 each for two 6970s rather than two 6950s, and I believe in emphasizing price/performance as much as the next guy.
 

deepblue08

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[citation][nom]namelessted[/nom]I am sorry. This is one of the dumbest builds I have seen in a long time. It is almost as if the person who put this together was just a complete noob to PC building. Its like they just went to CPU and found a really expensive one and decided to get it.I just tossed a build together on PC Partpicker that would absolutely DESTROY this build.CPU - 3570KCPU Cooler - Corsair H100Mobo - ASUS P8Z77-VRAM - Corsair Dominator Platinum 8GB (2x4GB) 1600SSD - Corsair Force GS 360GBGPU - ASUS GTX670 x2 in SLICase - Corsair 550DPSU - Corsair AX750Optical - Asus whateverIf you purchased everything from Newegg it would be $2070. Yes, a bit over the budget, but I am sure I could trim that off somewhere without too much difficulty. I definitely didn't go with the best valued products in my build. The Platinum ram is double the price of their normal RAM, but it fit with the theme espoused by the author of this article of having a QUALITY build, which I totally agree with.On the subject of quality, I have chosen a better cooler, better case, and better PSU. How can anybody seriously justify buying a non-modular PSU for a $2k build? That is insane to me. I wish I had the $2k to actually put this build together with a couple of tweaks and put it up against Soderstrom's build and watch him weep as his system gets destroyed.Also, I realize I haven't selected a storage drive. I just went with one big SSD. Yes, the 2TB is nice, but I don't think most people actually need that kind of storage, and if you are somebody that does need it, it is a separate cost that should be part of the main build, IMO. Similarly, we typically don't include monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc. pricing into builds. I think mass storage needs to join this category.[/citation]

Your mentioned build will not destroy this build unless you only use the PC for games. Many people do work on their PC, in which case your PC will not destroy the i7-3930K and in which case you would be the noob.
 

parochy

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This build seems like a decent guideline, but I for one wouldn't follow it. I've had experience with different (hidden) issues regarding different components (and especially brands, most of them being mentioned in this config). I would have to write an article myself to address them all.

I have just one suggestion for those that want to use this build. I had a green power drive from WD before. I wasn't really pleased with it. It was slow, even just for data storage, and not exactly quiet. I switched it out for a caviar, which is much better and still a good price. Recently I've turned away from WD, since even with the few years warranty, with regular maintenance, my HDD still gets corrupted here and there. In the past - when I didn't have the cash to buy WD -, I got the same result with a much cheaper, same capacity and performance, different (not as known) brand HDD. Which is expected since both products were made in Thailand.
 
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