System Builder Marathon, Dec. 2009: $2,500 Performance PC

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I recommend keep the paper on the crossbow for the Xigmatek cooler.
You must make sure the paper and underlying mylar face the motherboard.
If the motherboard comes in contact with the metal of the crossbow, your motherboard will die in a course of seconds, due to shorts.
 

geok1ng

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1- The graphics are amazing, we are talking about raw power on par with 2 4870X2. There were no 5970 at the time ( and all high end ATI parts are hard to find today, and come with a huge price bump) so the choices at the time were correct.
2- The MOBO and CPU choice werent state of art, but "good enough"
3- Choosing 2x2TB HDDs was probably the most questionable choice for a $2500 built. SSDs are today the single hardware upgrade that grants the most effective user sensation. Gaming load time are decimated, and we are talking about a gaming system.
The article explains a problem with modern builds: 4 low speed 120mm fans simply can not handle 500w+ of heat that dual high end VGAs and an overclocked quad core CPU generates. Great airflow is imperative, and a better case is in order for such systems.
But where cut costs?
A- 2x 5850s, that still would have more raw power than 3x 4890s
B- A Black edition quad core Phenom II?

What i would like to see?

HUGE amounts of system memory (12GB+), and regular use of a RAM drive. I am talking about loading an entire game on the RAM drive during boot and describe the improvements on load times and system response.

Cost-effective water and air-cooling. It is a shame that the world greatest online hardware store only had this crappy cooler!

As the usual complain for us, non-USA residents: how about an Ebay/PayPal partnership? The system could be ebayed and funds go to charity, or the winner of the giveaway would receive the auction funds on the Paypal account. Anything that could make people outside USA to had a shot at participating on the giveaway. Legally all PayPal/Ebay questions would be covered already.
 

geok1ng

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[citation][nom]Crashman[/nom]It's a nice case and has two intake fans. With the power supply, it also has two exaust fans. I can't understand why people keep getting those crappy huge cases with vents that serve no other purpose than to let noise out.[/citation]

I am really sorry to inform you that the 4 low speeds 120mm fans were not able to remove the 500w+ of heat produced by the system.

And a handful of fans doens not means that the system will be loud.

I have a Titan Robelia, a very low cost all steel water case with a 4x120mm radiator on the side panel, plus 1x120mm + 1x80mm frontal intake fans, plus top 80mm+ rear 92mm + 140mm PSU fan removing hot air. The noise levels are below 45dB, and would be lower still without the 80mm fans. Cool and quietly running an E8600@4Ghz + 4870X2

It is quite a challenge to put 2 highend VGAs side by side on stock aircooling and aim for good overclocking numbers. Using a mid end case doesnt make the task any easier.
 

ewood

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[citation][nom]Coergo[/nom]Correct me if I'm wrong but...why 2 chips of ram? That cpu and mobo support triple channel memory. You'll get a noticeable increase with adding 1 more chip of ram.Also, the 2tb drives are expensive. Go with three 1.5 tb drives, get more space AND save a good amount of money.[/citation]
The Core I7/I5 on lga ll56 only support dual chanel memory. Socket 1366 mobos (x58 chipset) and cpus support tripple chanel.

I agree about the 1.5tb drives... dont quite get it.
 

Gigahertz20

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This crashman guy responding to comments is an idiot,

Programs start faster but you don't have to lie about performance.
I'm lying about performance by saying SSD's perform much better then regular hard drives? Someone needs to go check some benchmarks. Here ya go, get yourself educated:

http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3631


At least you were honest here, but to hell with full towers. Mid-towers are beter.
Mid-towers are better? Really? For a $2,500 PC you are glad a mid-tower was chosen? Ummmmmm..no comment I guess.

Also, no need to go with two of the WD Caviar Black 2TB drives, even a high end power user won't go over 2TB, how much pirated porn/movies/games can someone possibly have to use that much storage? The much smarter thing to do is just buy two 1TB drives for around $200 total then get a SSD drive to boot off of and install all your main apps.

This Thomas Soderstrom system build is horrible, I think if someone setup a poll, most people would agree. You can't spend $2,500 and not get a SSD drive, as Spock would say, that is illogical.
 

Crashman

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[citation][nom]geok1ng[/nom]I am really sorry to inform you that the 4 low speeds 120mm fans were not able to remove the 500w+ of heat produced by the system.[/citation]

Yes, I'm sorry you're misinforming people too. The case was OK, though it would have worked better with 5850's than it did with 5870's due to the internal vent on 5870 graphics.
 

Crashman

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[citation][nom]TommySch[/nom]Crappiest computer case of the year?? No air flow, and fugly.[/citation]

You're completely wrong, not just a little wrong, it's like what you're saying is the opposite of the truth. I know some of you kids like platic panels, lights, air scoops and scallops, but "Transformers" cars and cartoons were targeted at eight-year-olds.
 

Crashman

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Editor
[citation][nom]Gigahertz20[/nom]This crashman guy responding to comments is an idiot,I'm lying about performance by saying SSD's perform much better then regular hard drives? Someone needs to go check some benchmarks.[/citation]

Why don't you educate yourself by reading some of the previous SBMs?

[citation][nom]Gigahertz20[/nom]For a $2,500 PC you are glad a mid-tower was chosen? Ummmmmm..no comment I guess.[/citation]

You can set a mid-tower on your desk rather than putting it on the floor. That's pretty darned handy. If you like the so-called full towers that are nothing more than oversized mid-towers, just say so. But there's almost never any reason to get a true full-tower monster.

[citation][nom]Gigahertz20[/nom]Also, no need to go with two of the WD Caviar Black 2TB drives, even a high end power user won't go over 2TB, how much pirated porn/movies/games can someone possibly have to use that much storage?[/ciation]

Read much? The article recommended RAID 1 for extended use, that's 2TB+2TB=2TB. And, the article said that 1+1TB would have been enough. But you still can't fit 1+1TB and a 160GB X25-M into a $600 drive budget.

[citation][nom]Gigahertz20[/nom]The much smarter thing to do is just buy two 1TB drives for around $200 total then get a SSD drive to boot off of and install all your main apps.[/citation]

See, and you call other people idiots. This wasn't a $2700 PC, it was a $2500 PC. Try reading the conclusion before making yourself look silly.

[citation][nom]Gigahertz20[/nom]You can't spend $2,500 and not get a SSD drive, as Spock would say, that is illogical.[/citation] The conclusion said the buid was unsatisfactory and still recommended staying away from SSD's. Show me where you would have saved the money to pay for the price increase? Or, just go away.

 

arkadi

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I give this build a 7/10 sorry but i was not impressed.
That what i did in 5 minutes in newegg

ASUS P6X58D Premium 299$
I7 920 288$
OCZ Gold 6GB 149$
Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2M080G2R5 300$
x2 Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EADS 2TB 320$ (you can use one and save the chash 4 GPU)
LG Black 8X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 40X CD-ROM SATA Internal Combo LG Blu-ray Reader & 16X LightScribe DVD±R DVD Burner 120$
CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply 140$
COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black 69$ (it a simple case, but layout and airflow like no other)
COOLER MASTER Intel Core i7 compatible V8 RR-UV8-XBU1-GP 120mm 44$ ( somewhat tricky to mount, but the result worth it)
total 1639 $
Now You can add any VGA you want.
 

Gigahertz20

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The conclusion said the buid was unsatisfactory and still recommended staying away from SSD's. Show me where you would have saved the money to pay for the price increase? Or, just go away.

2 of these for $200 total
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136284&cm_re=caviar_black-_-22-136-284-_-Product

1 of these for $375 and this SSD has TRIM support
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233087

Total amount invested in hard drives is $575 and you get the huge performance benefit of a SSD hard drive.


I would have recommended this 120GB OCZ SSD drive for $310 but it just sold out because of a great deal:

Deal Info: http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2034723

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227395&cm_re=OCZ_Vertex_Series_OCZSSD2-_-20-227-395-_-Product


Anand Lal Shimpi quote from anandtech.com

"I still firmly believe that an SSD is the single best performance improvement you can buy for your system today. Would I recommend waiting until next year to buy? This is one of the rare cases where I'd have to answer no. I made the switch last year and I wouldn't go back, it really does change the way your PC behaves."
 

radguy

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It’s a very nice article always enjoy seeing what you guys do. But I must question was whether or not even for gamers it’s a phenomenal time to build a pc.
Due to the increase in memory prices we've seen price jumps in the memory, video card, and ssd market. With the intel ssd and the 5800 series above msrp I just question the comment mostly because SMB is all about value and putting together the best performance system we can for the price. In today’s market they may still be good deals but does that mean it’s a good time?
One other thing I question the case choice as well. I feel that a case with a large top mount fan would have been a better choice for SMB on air alone. I understand wanting less noise but decibel level isn't benchmarked on these systems.
Thanks an interesting read this morning.
 

awaken688

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Since you asked for what to do in the future, here's my thoughts:

1) For the highest level, if $2500 is really cramping the style, then bump it up a little bit. $2750 might open it up to allow the use of SSD's and water cooling assuming you next time drop down to a a 5970 or pair of 5850s.
2) From a personal standpoint, I would prefer to focus less on the gaming and more on the productivity (Lightroom, Photoshop, AutoCAD, Compiling with optimizations on, etc...). Of course, having a high end machine, I would still want it able to game, but I don't care if it will play a game at 180FPS or 100FPS. As long as it plays the modern games at high settings, it is fine.
3) For overclocking, I'd love to see a couple variations. Overclocked with stock cooler and overclocked on stock voltage. Some of us like to dabble in small amounts of overclocking, but don't go full out.

Just some ideas and my personal opinion.
 

awaken688

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Thought of something else: Noise!
Radguy made me think of it. I would love to know how loud a machine is at idle and max load. I hate having machines that idle loudly.
 

Crashman

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[citation][nom]awaken688[/nom]Since you asked for what to do in the future, here's my thoughts:1) For the highest level, if $2500 is really cramping the style, then bump it up a little bit. $2750 might open it up to allow the use of SSD's and water cooling assuming you next time drop down to a a 5970 or pair of 5850s. 2) From a personal standpoint, I would prefer to focus less on the gaming and more on the productivity (Lightroom, Photoshop, AutoCAD, Compiling with optimizations on, etc...). Of course, having a high end machine, I would still want it able to game, but I don't care if it will play a game at 180FPS or 100FPS. As long as it plays the modern games at high settings, it is fine.3) For overclocking, I'd love to see a couple variations. Overclocked with stock cooler and overclocked on stock voltage. Some of us like to dabble in small amounts of overclocking, but don't go full out.Just some ideas and my personal opinion.[/citation]

Yes, $2500 isn't the big amount it was a few months ago. $2800 gets you about to the same build level as $2500 did last summer.
 

jtabler

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I'm glad I'm not one of these so called "power users" that need 2 TB of storage. I spend more time on a computer than not and I'm not even pushing 300GB. What's wrong with me?

 

pertshire

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That's a really nice build but it's not perfect. Too bad I live in Ireland.
I'm relatively new to tom's so I don't know much about sbm but I really think December is a really bad time for sbm because you know it's christmas and it's the time where the prices is at it's ugliest.
 

zelannii

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Toms, thanks for the Data.

Lessons learned:
1) x58 MB would have been well worth it for the small price difference
2) waiting 1-2 months to upgrade my rig and get the 5970 would be well worth it.
3) If you maxed out the wattage running full load at about 600w, using 2 cards wich draw more than the 5970 alone could, then a 700w modular would be fine if one did not intend on buying a second one vid card later.
4) better case cooling is a must. Next time try an Antec nine Hundred or other case with a nice 200mm top side ehaust fan. My current overclocked rig never gets more than a few degrees over room tepm and is dead quiet running some of the fans at low speed and the top and medium.
5) For a full rig at these levels, $2500 is a bit on the low end, but $3K would have been the sweet spot. With minor alterations and 1-2 months waiting I'll end up with a nearly identical performance system for about $2K, and could easily add a 2nd Vid card, more RAM, and a better CPU next year for less than $500 more as a nice upgrade.

Personally, I'm looking much closer to $1200-1500 price points, so i can't wait to see what you can do with a small step down, that's also a highly upgradable system. I'd really love to know how a mid range box on a build like that, adding in a nice IPS display panel, would compare to a 27" iMac i7... (yea, the iMac saccrifices the upgrades, and the overclocking, but it seems a DAMNED nice price point for that much power and features, I thus far can't match it's specs on new egg for less if I'm honest and include an OS license for Windows.
 

pertshire

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I must say the inside of the case when all the components are fitted in is really gorgeous. Too bad the case is a bit expensive considering the airflow.
 

banthracis

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I'm disappointing in you guys Tom's! You totally could have gotten a better build for the same price!

Also, definitely no need for $600 worth of HD for only 2tb of storage performing worse than 1 SSD!

MOBO- Gigabyte P55A-UD4P $184.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128409
No idea why you guys didn't suggest the board a few bucks more that has USB 3.0 and SATA 6.0...

CPU- I7-860 $279.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115214

PSU- Corsair 750TX $109.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139006
You guys said in your own review that a 5970 system can totally easily run on a 750W PSU!!

GPU- Diamond 5970 $669.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814103088
There are also ones for sale outside of newegg, but in the spirit of the build rules, just put on auto notify and you'll bag one w/in a week.

RAM- 2x 4gb G Skill Ripjaw DDR3-1600 7-7-7-24 $249.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231279
Tighter timings, better performance, faster speed and better OCing.

Optical Drive- LG Black $169.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136176

Storage- Intel X25-M G2 160gb $539.00
2 Samsung Spinpoint F3 1tb $169.98
Can totally fit a $160 gb G2 into the budget. With 2 Samsung Spinpoint F3's which are about = Velociraptors in performance.
Total of 2.16 TB of storage. With a SSD.

HSF- CM Hyper 212 Plus $28.83
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065
Cheaper, easier to mount and better performance than the V8. Common guys!

Case- HAF 922 $99.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119197
Case isn't a big deal, but at least this one has better airflow!

Total $2502.72

This is w/o a combo deals that'll save you another ~$40 at least
 
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