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

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Crashman

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[citation][nom]banthracis[/nom]Well from the articleThe article talk about the upper slot specifically being limited to x8 in the case of 1 GPU. However, it doesn't mention about the other slot. Is it possible it still steals the 2 lanes and can run 1 gpu at x14 if it's in the second slot?? Dunno, Tom's or manufacturer is gonna have to clear this up.[/citation]

I think it's pretty clear: The quote you showed said that the two controllers force the upper slot to x8 mode. The upper slot is the primary graphics card slot.

Sorry, there is no specification to allow x14 transfers. Your only choices are x8 with PCIe 2.0 controllers, x16 with no PCIe 2.0 controllers, or x8/x8 on two slots with no PCIe 2.0 controllers. Given that little tidbit, the a P55A-UD4P's extra controllers would have been useless in a 5970 or dual 5870 system.
 

ionut19

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As i saw other members noticed that those hard drives are expensive. I would have gone a little different with them and bought the case from corsair. Best case i saw on the market at the moment.
The rest is ok for my taste. Wish i had this PC he he..
Good job.
Also i do not know if there is but a review about that case would be great.

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas!
 

VWXYZ

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just my 2 cents for the next SBM:

Please do not make an insane 5.000$ dream build. Those article a kinda fun to read, but the 2.500$ (or preferbly more like 2000$) is actually informative! and information is way mroe valuable when talking hardware than fun.

Also, I would personally like a general system, and less of a gaming system. With gaming moving more and more onto the consoles I think the generel performance is becomming more and more important.

Other than that! Great read :D Not something I'm gonna use for my upcoming system, but mostly because im on a smaller budget (no way I'm gonna do dual-GPU) and I'm gonna do general stuff (photoshop)
 
[citation][nom]geok1ng[/nom]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: [/citation]

Agreed. Suggest that the BENCHMARK RATINGS be updated to include load times and responsiveness to key strokes. (I'd rather have a more responsive system then one that can crank once everything is steady state.)
 

clownbaby

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weak overclock. There are alot of better air coolers out there, or maybe shouldn't have blown cash on 4tb worth of storage (this is a gaming system, not a data server), and a BD-R drive. WTF BDR? A fairly worthless technology. And 8gb of cas9 ddr3 1333? There was more than enough budget for a water cooling system, but it was blown on useless crap. Even as is, that's a weak OC. With this budget there was no reason not to go with a 1366 platform. Easier OC, less heat, 6gb ram kit, and would have cost less considering you stuffed 8gb of ram into your system.
 

bublack33

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mmm... this would be awesome sitting next to my desk... and when im away, rdc to it from my crappy laptop... that would be awesome
 

noob2222

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[citation][nom]banthracis[/nom]Look at their numbers. 560W socket draw and full CPU + GPU load. Think 200W overhead is more than enough. Especially since that 560W is socket draw, not actual usage. [/citation]
Good luck getting a stable OC with a 5970 since thats what video card you want. The more power it has, the happier it is.

[citation][nom]banthracis[/nom] Actually, they said in the article they choose not to go with 5970 due to how hard they are to get. 5870's aren't much easier...either way, auto notify and you can get either in ~week.[/citation]

aren't much easier? check before you insert foot. 7 brands available today, yesterday, and last week. http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&Description=5870
The 5870 shortages seem to be over or at least nowhere near as bad.

As far as the case goes, as one commented before, I think the Antec 900 might have been better, hard to say without testing.

Would be nice to see motherboard manufacturers moving the pic-e slots farther from the cpu to reduce the heat.
 

bounty

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Perhaps 2 x 64GB SSD drive (Raid 0 games) + 2 x 1TB HDD's (Raid 1 work) for around $450-$550? Money saved put into top notch air cooler and/or X58 base. Also, I wonder how much of an effect a side/top fan/vent would help. Basically if your gonna take crap for compromising on the $ amount for the storage, might as well save enough on it to perk up the rest of the build.

Also keep the game focus. There is no 1 type of workstation you can build for under 2,500$ that meet all "workstation" needs. Some need Quadro cards, some don't. Some need Raid 5 and 6 TB of data, some don't. Some need 8 cores, some don't. Some need SSD's, some don't. Surfing the net, working in Excel and editing Word doc's don't need a 2,500$ system. However a gaming system general has to be fast all around anyways to do gaming, hence it will also do as a workstation in almost all non-quadro situations.
 

bounty

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Also, 2500$ is within the reach of enthusiasts. Too much more than that and you might as well just switch to buying clusters or specialized boxes for specific, non-general purposes.
 

ionut19

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This system is what i would like to buy for 2500$. The prices ware at this date so they ,might be a little different:


2x Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drives -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822136284 $219.98 -$10.00 Instant = $199.98($99.99 each)
( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136284 )
2x DIAMOND 5870PE51G Radeon HD 5870 (Cypress XT) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video ... - Retail
Item #: N82E16814103084 $859.98 ($429.99 each)
( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814103084 )
1x CORSAIR DOMINATOR 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMD8GX3M4A1600C8 - Retail
Item #: N82E16820145267 $297.50
( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145267 )
1x Noctua NH-U12P SE2 120mm SSO CPU Cooler - Retail
Item #: N82E16835608014 $79.99 -$5.00 Instant = $74.99
( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835608014 )
1x LG Black 8X Blu-ray Burner SATA Model WH08LS20 - Retail
Item #: N82E16827136176 $189.99 -$20.00 Instant = $169.9
( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136176 )
1x Corsair Obsidian Series 800D CC800DW Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail
Item #: N82E16811139001
1x CORSAIR CMPSU-850HX 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
Item #: N82E16817139011 $499.98 -$30.00 Instant -$15.00 Combo = $454.98
( http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.304275 )
1x Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80605I7860 - Retail
Item #: N82E16819115214
1x GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD4P LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard w/ USB 3.0 & SATA 6 Gb/s - Retail
Item #: N82E16813128409 $474.98 -$10.00 Instant -$22.00 Combo = $442.98
( http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.309191 )
Subtotal: $2,500.40
Grand Total:* $2,500.40

The better corsair memory that comes with cooler and the case make's the difference i think.
Wish i had this PC..:))
Almost forgot, those $x,xxx."40" should be payed by my friends so that i would not exceed 2500$, he he.
 

soulbro

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Nice build! How about this one, though? (Prices are all at the Egg.)

Case: LIAN LI PC-A70F - $199.99
PSU: Corsair CMPSU-850TX - $139.99
CPU: Intel Core i7 920 - $288.99
Mobo: ASRock X58 Extreme - $159.99
Video: 2x ASUS EAH5870 - $799.98
RAM: G.SKILL 6GB DDR3 1600 Triple Channel Kit - $149.99
SSD: OCZ Vertex 120GB Mac Edition (haha - it's the same as the sold-out "normal" version, suckers!) - $455.00
HDD: 2x WD Caviar Black 1 TB - $199.98
Optical: LG Black DVD Burner (OEM) - $28.99
HSF: Xigmatek Dark Knight-S1283V - $44.96

Total: $2467.86

This is ignoring rebates, combo deals, Micro Center i7 920 hotness, and HD 5970 hotness. And under $2500, weee! No Blu-ray, but I personally don't see much point in it. Maybe once software starts to move away from DVD-ROM... And the i7-920 trails the i7-860 in performance a little, but OCing is pretty easy. (I mean, even *I* can do it...!)

-Will
 

bounty

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[citation][nom]KenZen2B[/nom]You need to add another class to your builds, Workstation PC. This would be for those who make their living off using a computer.[/citation]

For most that would be a prebuilt HP/Dell or some 500$ build (Plus that's the price with installing Windows.) What kind of "workstation" are you talking about?
 

ionut19

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"Future options include budget changes and/or a reprioritization of graphics, processing, and storage needs, and this is where we turn some of our decision-making responsibilities over to loyal readers. Should the next marathon include a dream system at twice the price? Should we instead adjust every system budget by a smaller amount to align with recent price increases? Should we stick to gaming or general-purpose power machines, rather than trying to create the best of both worlds? Your responses play a critical role in the direction of future builds."

I suggest you do a PC that is just a little better with an SSD drive app2-4Tb of conventional HDD, same video cards, a good sound card, a good audio system, good mouse and keyboard(1 set for gaming and/ore one for desktop users, to inspire all types of readers), and a good LCD TV(120Hz if possible because it works better with 24p movies) or a monitor with built in tuner or just a hi res monitor form 24" to 46". Bigger is sometimes bigger, no? Of a monitor and a TV as a second monitor. At list that is how i use my PC even if i can't play at max res on my TV but i can watch movies at Full HD res.

Something that people with money can buy with everything included.(i say)

And some cake to celebrate that new pc:) and accessories.
 

envolva

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Keep the $2500 category. The limit show that it's not time to build the dream machine with latest VGA, Water Cooling and SSD. But it's sure enough for a great machine.

I would be cool to see an article with a $10000 impossible build, but from the struggle with the lower builds that you learn the most.
 

ionut19

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[citation][nom]envolva[/nom]I would be cool to see an article with a $10000 impossible build, but from the struggle with the lower builds that you learn the most.[/citation]

What i wrote above would qualify for that amount of money. Actually i think it would cost less.
We all game but in the end you also want other stuff around you not just to game. Consider that also. At list i know i would. When you have the money you don't just by a good PC. Water cooling and extreme overclocking is good but if you use a PC for other stuff, nut just gaming, i think the limits of air cooling is good for gaming and the rest.
 

uh_no

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buying 2 TB disks are a mistake.....1TB is way cheaper per TB.....why waste money on 8GB ram....tom's own tests show that just about anything over 4 never gets used anyway.....waste.......the second graphics card.....waste....the money saved could have gone towards an SSD, water cooler, or any other of the numerous things you scrapped in this 'top end' build
 

ulukai

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Please defenitely do a "Dream Machine" build and test also. It is the best way to see how the industry developed overall. Two or three years ago I built my gamig rig based on your dream machine of the time. Now I'm planning to build a new one, and can't wait to read what you guys are able to put together as today's "Dream System".
 

jcknouse

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Since THG solicited it, these are my suggestions for the build next time:

- Bump the limit to $2800-3000 if it's going to be a "complete" or "high-end" build, but not a "dream machine" config. For the extra few hundred in price, you can get that 1xSSD in the system, better cooler, better case, etc.

- Consider an SSD besides Intel. Intel was the premier mainstream SSD in the beginning, but per GB price for performance has dropped drastically with modified designs of other brand SSDs with newer, more robust controllers. Crucial and Corsair have slightly higher (25-33%) priced models with 60% more space, faster write speeds, and competitive read speeds.

As for the HDD selection, I wouldn't pay the 50% price premium for those drives. I would have gotten 4x 1TB WD CBs and RAID 1+0'ed them for $200 less and had the same space.

I understood about the 5970s not being out yet and 2x5870s costing way too much. But again, was the slight performance advantage of the 5870 worth the 33% price increase from the 5850s? Judgement call by the contributors.

I also agree the BD-R was a bit much for a high-end/not dream machine config. A BD-ROM/DVD-R would have been good enough and saved about $100.

There has been a lot pointed out here, both by readers and the THG staff. I learn a lot from reading things, and use ideas and suggestions in building my own boxes.

I think the biggest lesson learned here is: the $2500 price is just a bit restrictive to getting that "just right" config that isn't the dream machine build.

Thanks for a good article.
 

banthracis

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[citation][nom]noob2222[/nom]Good luck getting a stable OC with a 5970 since thats what video card you want. The more power it has, the happier it is.aren't much easier? check before you insert foot. 7 brands available today, yesterday, and last week. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] ption=5870The 5870 shortages seem to be over or at least nowhere near as bad.[/citation]

I suppose you're one of those ppl who think that a 8 year old Pentium II system can't possibly run on anything less than a 1000W PSU...

Anandtech OCed the 5970 to it's limit even going as far as voiding the warranty to install 3rd party bios and drivers.
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3679&p=16

That plus an OC i7-920 and they still only drew 642 W total system power measure at the socket. Assuming PSU efficiency of 90% that's 577.8W of actual power use.

You DON'T need anything more than a 750tx. Why don't you do your research before YOU insert your foot.


A 5970 OC'ed to the max uses less power than SLI GTX 275's or 285's, and I've built systems with those using a 750 TX.

Supply wise, we're talking about when they wrote the article, IE last month right around the launch time of the 5970. Supply of 5870's were very low, in fact, that's right about when they UPPED the price of the 58xx series.

5970's were available for a few hours on Newegg launch day, and till the end of the week at some other e-tailers. 5870's were selling out just as quickly as they were being delivered that same week.
 
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