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

Page 5 - Seeking answers? Join the Tom's Hardware community: where nearly two million members share solutions and discuss the latest tech.
Status
Not open for further replies.

zelannii

Distinguished
Apr 14, 2009
176
0
18,680
0
Toms, on the request for what we'd like to see next time, lets focus a bit more on use cases to find dollar levels, not picking dollar levels arbitrarily. I'd say a base $500-600 machine for simple media and basic gaming (WoW at default settings class, the "all i can afford" machine); a $900-1100 performance game/home media center class (the "I like games, but I'm not rich" box); a $1900-2100 enthusiast system; and a $3000-3500 power gamer system. For each class, not only build out one core system within those ranges, but offer suggestions that would bring up/duwn the performance a few steps withing a reasonable range of the pricing.

Also, a key feature that should be focussed on for all but the $3K+ system, upgrade options after 12-18 months to keep it "current" or improve it's class standing.

Build the best machine you can for the customer in question, not the price point, and stay within a range not a hard line price. Show examples of "if you could squeese another $100-200 in your budget, add this..." and "if you can't quite reach this price point, saccrifice this to save $200, you can allways upgrade it in 12 months to get that and more back." Build the honest best system of the day, without so strict of a number you're staying under which innevitable leads to saccrifices.
 

zelannii

Distinguished
Apr 14, 2009
176
0
18,680
0
[citation][nom]bogcotton[/nom]I don't know too much about system building, but I would have gone with:VTX ATI Radeon HD 5970 2048MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card VTX ATI Radeon HD 5970 2048MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card £519.98Intel Core i7 920 D0 Stepping (SLBEJ) 2.66Ghz (Nehalem) (Socket LGA1366) - OEM Intel Core i7 920 D0 Stepping (SLBEJ) 2.66Ghz (Nehalem) (Socket LGA1366) - OEM £203.99Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD4 Intel P55 (Socket 1156) DDR3 Motherboard Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD4 Intel P55 (Socket 1156) DDR3 Motherboard £149.99Samsung PB22-J 64GB 2.5" SATA-II Solid State Hard Drive (MMCRE64G5MXP-0VB) Samsung PB22-J 64GB 2.5" SATA-II Solid State Hard Drive (MMCRE64G5MXP-0VB) £144.99OCZ Gold 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 PC3-12800C8 (1600MHz) Tri-Channel (OCZ3G1600LV6GK) OCZ Gold 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 PC3-12800C8 (1600MHz) Tri-Channel (OCZ3G1600LV6GK) £118.98LG CH08LS10 8x Blu-Ray Reader/16x DVD±RW - Black (OEM) LG CH08LS10 8x Blu-Ray Reader/16x DVD±RW - Black (OEM) £79.99OCZ ModXStream Pro 700w Silent SLI Certified Modular Power Supply £64.992 X Samsung EcoGreen F2 1TB SATA-II 32MB Cache - OEM (HD103SI) 2X £55.98Akasa Freedom Xone Case - Black Akasa Freedom Xone Case - Black £45.99Prolimatech Megahalems Rev B CPU Cooler (Socket 775/1156/1366) £45.99Total : £1,498.93 ($2399)Gives about $100 to play around with the case choice, fans, better memory etc.[/citation]

Good list. You saccrificesd a bit too much for me. 1st, only 1 SDD, and it;s under 80GB. 64 can barely hold mu current install, and mine's far from bloated, which includes moving my docs folders off to another volume. The EcoGreen Storage drives are too slow for my taste as well. I don;t think your case holds a Radeon 5970 either. 700w is also light if you expect even a smidge of overclocking, should be 750 minimum, 850w if you ever plan on using that second PCI 16 slot... You saved a bit skipping the BD-RW option. If I went with your build, and my requirements, we'd be pushing $2800...
 

zelannii

Distinguished
Apr 14, 2009
176
0
18,680
0
[citation][nom]ionut19[/nom]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)( )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) ( )1x CORSAIR DOMINATOR 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMD8GX3M4A1600C8 - Retail Item #: N82E16820145267 $297.50 ( )1x Noctua NH-U12P SE2 120mm SSO CPU Cooler - Retail Item #: N82E16835608014 $79.99 -$5.00 Instant = $74.99( )1x LG Black 8X Blu-ray Burner SATA Model WH08LS20 - Retail Item #: N82E16827136176 $189.99 -$20.00 Instant = $169.9 ( )1x Corsair Obsidian Series 800D CC800DW Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail Item #: N82E168111390011x 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( )1x Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80605I7860 - Retail Item #: N82E168191152141x 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( )Subtotal: $2,500.40Grand Total:* $2,500.40The 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.[/citation]

Way too much cash for the RAM given Tom's numbers on overclocking memory. only 1X5870 instead of 2, or a 5890, so the 850w supply is WAY overkill, USB3 is currently useless unless you don't plan on using eSATA and your drives selected don;t scratch SATA6 performance, so the board is also overpriced. Toms system runs circles around your build for the same price, and has double the storage on faster drives.
 

Zinimus Prime

Distinguished
Dec 2, 2009
18
0
18,520
1
I like the modest looking case, but I'm the same side with a lot of the other readers, stick to a single GPU card and beef up the cooling. I'm not too familiar with RAID setups but maybe 2 500GB HDD's with an SSD for all the stuff you want to get at quick. Could you set that up in a raid somehow. Or maybe you just stick to backing up once a day automatically.
 

zelannii

Distinguished
Apr 14, 2009
176
0
18,680
0
[citation][nom]KT_Wasp[/nom]LOL.... Voted for the best response of the year... You made it just under the wire I won't knock people for their case choices, after all, they have to look at it. But,I will say that some of the new cases coming out are a bit far fetched in their designs. Being of the older crowd, I would rather have a nice refined, nondescript black case over some of these absurd "Frankenstein" cases out there. I bought a lighted monstrosity once.. and after a month I had to get rid of it. Sure, it looked good at first.. but once the novelty wears off you realize how childish and goofy some of these cases can be. I would rather have a beast of a computer wrapped inside a downplayed case, then a mediocre computer inside of a "look at me" case. I would liken it to a sleek BMW with 550 HP to a stock Honda Accord with a six foot wing on the back.[/citation]

I could not agree more. Clear panels, backlit cases, funky designs, crap. Give me a case that is built well, provides soume sound dampening, a bottom mounted PS and top vent fan, good cable management, fans that can be controlled (or an integrated controller), pleanty of room, and semi-screwless design. Baically, something a lot like an Antec Nine Hundred (current revision, not the original), but without the lights and clear side panel. $100-130 is all it should cost, loaded with all the fans.
 

alchemy69

Distinguished
Jul 4, 2008
203
0
18,680
0
I'd have been more inclined to go with the i5-750 and just pocketted the extra $80. It's Christmas, who couldn't use an extra eighty bucks?

Unless, of course, I win this in the sweepstakes in which case: Good Choice!
 

plbyrd

Distinguished
Jun 10, 2008
60
0
18,630
0
There is no such thing as a user who only games with a machine. In this digital age everyone and their brother is using cameras, iPods, phones, and other equipment that have a high demand on storage performance and capacity.

I think you guys should be allowed to go over budget, but you get penalized for it. Then it would force you to make some hard decisions about exactly what components are justifiable to go over budget. Real users have to make these decisions all the time.
 

Gigahertz20

Distinguished
Oct 30, 2009
54
0
18,630
0
[citation][nom]plbyrd[/nom]There is no such thing as a user who only games with a machine. In this digital age everyone and their brother is using cameras, iPods, phones, and other equipment that have a high demand on storage performance and capacity.I think you guys should be allowed to go over budget, but you get penalized for it. Then it would force you to make some hard decisions about exactly what components are justifiable to go over budget. Real users have to make these decisions all the time.[/citation]


Hardly anybody will ever go over 2TB let alone use 4TB of storage like this build has. Most people will benefit from a fast SSD then having a shit load of storage. Probably 1 in 4,000 people use 1TB or more of space on their internal hard drives.
 

damian86

Distinguished
May 17, 2009
683
0
19,010
7
For that money you could change some stuf on it.just read the reviews for the HD and the dvd drive,not sure about them.not dure about the mb.
 

roadrunner343

Distinguished
Aug 22, 2009
63
0
18,630
0
Gigagertz: And I was told no one would ever use more than my epicly massive 1GB drive when they were first available either.

Toms: I liked the article. There were a few times where I wondered to myself "Why would they do that?" and you immediately stated why and what could have done better. While not a "Perfect" build, lessons have definitely been learned. I fail to see why all the haters expect a "perfect" build with each article. Considering it was mentioned throughout the article that the build had issues, I don't see why so many haters are so surprised that it... has issues. Thanks for the read, even if I disagree on parts.
 

Onus

Titan
Moderator
I agree with roadrunner343. There were good lessons in it. I think I may have already learned some of them (sorry, but the case cooling was obviously going to suck), but it doesn't make them invalid.
I like zelanni's comments about ranges, but they might be hard to apply; the price points are probably the best reasonable compromise. The SBM articles usually contain comments about things that might be done differently, and compromises are usually called out.
For myself, I'd like to see the price ranges come DOWN, not go up. How much gaming can you do for $500-$600? I'm willing to bet quite a lot. Maybe make the builds interesting by introducing other challenges, such as "max 500W PSU," or "max xx dBA @3 feet," etc. Would you adhere to such a constraint? Very likely not, but there'd be lessons learned from doing it, which I think is one of the lures of these articles.
 

ionut19

Distinguished
Oct 31, 2008
961
0
19,060
38
[citation][nom]zelannii[/nom]Way too much cash for the RAM given Tom's numbers on overclocking memory. only 1X5870 instead of 2, or a 5890, so the 850w supply is WAY overkill, USB3 is currently useless unless you don't plan on using eSATA and your drives selected don;t scratch SATA6 performance, so the board is also overpriced. Toms system runs circles around your build for the same price, and has double the storage on faster drives.[/citation]

How can it run circles around this build when the some components are similar except the ram, case and HDD, motherboard witch is a little better because it can run pci express at 16x and8x when the one they selected has 8x and 8x in sli/crossfire. Toms system has more capacity but mine has a much better case and the ram has it's own cooler and the total price is about the same. Cpu cooler, probably the noise is lower. I have 2 noctua fans in my current build and i can't even hear them. (fluid dynamic bearing)
Video cards are the same model and number.
Read before you post!!
 
G

Guest

Guest
You guys could have saved yourself a ton of trouble by using 180x20 and letting the memory run slower, or buying ram that could run @ 1800. That would have allowed much lower voltages to be used, as in your article on overclocking the I5-750. I have used those settings around here with great results. A ducted case like a P182 would solve the problem of the power supply overheating and a larger cooler for the CPU would have been a better choice. Frankly, considering the kind of experience and resources you guys have, I am surprised you had so many problems. Thank god I don't game and have no need for the twin jet engines those 5870's must sound like.
 

cadder

Distinguished
Nov 17, 2008
1,702
0
19,860
43
I'm curious why you think there was a problem with the cooler. In tests done by frostytech.com that cooler should have done pretty well. I just finished an i5 build, I wanted the Xig Dark Knight but it wasn't available so I too picked the 1284 and auxiliary bracket. My chip runs pretty hot but not out of the realm of what I thought was the range for that chip. I did think there wasn't much clamping force on the bracket but after I put my grease on the chip and put the cooler in place I pushed it down and squirmed it around awhile to make sure any excess was squeezed out. That seems to be the only reason you would need high clamping force. Once the grease layer is as thin as it needs to be it doesn't seem that clamping force is necessary anymore. OTOH I don't think it would be out of line to add a few washers. It seems that the Dark Knight on my Q9400 had higher clamping force.
 

ionut19

Distinguished
Oct 31, 2008
961
0
19,060
38
Somebody really hates everybody because i haven't seen any post on this page with a +1 only with a -1 ha ha ha..kidding..
And about the system configuration, not all opinions are the same what you should buy with 2500$. And the prices are not the same always so that really depends on the future owner what he wants. Toms article is supposed to be as a guide line for people that want to spend that amount of money on a PC.
Anyway good article and awaiting for the next one. Would it be a super expensive PC? Or a ~3500$ PC? We will see what you decide.
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Editor
[citation][nom]bogcotton[/nom]I don't know too much about system building, but I would have gone with:VTX ATI Radeon HD 5970 2048MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card VTX ATI Radeon HD 5970 2048MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card £519.98Intel Core i7 920 D0 Stepping (SLBEJ) 2.66Ghz (Nehalem) (Socket LGA1366) - OEM Intel Core i7 920 D0 Stepping (SLBEJ) 2.66Ghz (Nehalem) (Socket LGA1366) - OEM £203.99Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD4 Intel P55 (Socket 1156) DDR3 Motherboard Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD4 Intel P55 (Socket 1156) DDR3 Motherboard £149.99Samsung PB22-J 64GB 2.5" SATA-II Solid State Hard Drive (MMCRE64G5MXP-0VB) Samsung PB22-J 64GB 2.5" SATA-II Solid State Hard Drive (MMCRE64G5MXP-0VB) £144.99OCZ Gold 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 PC3-12800C8 (1600MHz) Tri-Channel (OCZ3G1600LV6GK) OCZ Gold 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 PC3-12800C8 (1600MHz) Tri-Channel (OCZ3G1600LV6GK) £118.98LG CH08LS10 8x Blu-Ray Reader/16x DVD±RW - Black (OEM) LG CH08LS10 8x Blu-Ray Reader/16x DVD±RW - Black (OEM) £79.99OCZ ModXStream Pro 700w Silent SLI Certified Modular Power Supply £64.992 X Samsung EcoGreen F2 1TB SATA-II 32MB Cache - OEM (HD103SI) 2X £55.98Akasa Freedom Xone Case - Black Akasa Freedom Xone Case - Black £45.99Prolimatech Megahalems Rev B CPU Cooler (Socket 775/1156/1366) £45.99Total : £1,498.93 ($2399)Gives about $100 to play around with the case choice, fans, better memory etc.[/citation]Some of those are nice parts, but the extra controllers of the P55A version of the motherboard would have been disabled anyway when two graphics cards are installed.[citation][nom]jcknouse[/nom]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.[/citation]$2800 would have had a lot more flexibility in the storage area for certain. $3000 would have let the build use SSD's and a liquid-cooled Core i7-920 with a case designed to support the radiator internally. Good calls jcknouse[citation][nom]banthracis[/nom]Besides if you want a 5970 that badly, they're in stock here:http://a-power.com/product-14264-0-2though you're gonna need to get it shipped from Canada to the states.[/citation]The purchase might have been put on hold until after the 5970 release if the team thought these would have been available.[citation][nom]zelannii[/nom]Toms, on the request for what we'd like to see next time, lets focus a bit more on use cases to find dollar levels, not picking dollar levels arbitrarily. I'd say a base $500-600 machine for simple media and basic gaming (WoW at default settings class, the "all i can afford" machine); a $900-1100 performance game/home media center class (the "I like games, but I'm not rich" box); a $1900-2100 enthusiast system; and a $3000-3500 power gamer system. For each class, not only build out one core system within those ranges, but offer suggestions that would bring up/duwn the performance a few steps withing a reasonable range of the pricing. Also, a key feature that should be focussed on for all but the $3K+ system, upgrade options after 12-18 months to keep it "current" or improve it's class standing. Build the best machine you can for the customer in question, not the price point, and stay within a range not a hard line price. Show examples of "if you could squeese another $100-200 in your budget, add this..." and "if you can't quite reach this price point, saccrifice this to save $200, you can allways upgrade it in 12 months to get that and more back." Build the honest best system of the day, without so strict of a number you're staying under which innevitable leads to saccrifices.[/citation]Those are good price points too. You're also right about finding adequate excuses to go over-budget when the difference between, say, a $2500 build and a $2600 build would be huge. That is what real builders do isn't it? Thanks.[citation][nom]plbyrd[/nom]There is no such thing as a user who only games with a machine. In this digital age everyone and their brother is using cameras, iPods, phones, and other equipment that have a high demand on storage performance and capacity.I think you guys should be allowed to go over budget, but you get penalized for it. Then it would force you to make some hard decisions about exactly what components are justifiable to go over budget. Real users have to make these decisions all the time.[/citation]Brilliant![citation][nom]ionut19[/nom]How can it run circles around this build when the some components are similar except the ram, case and HDD, motherboard witch is a little better because it can run pci express at 16x and8x when the one they selected has 8x and 8x in sli/crossfire...Read before you post!![/citation]Yes, please read before you post: The P55A-UD4P, like all other P55 motherboards, has only 16 PCIe 2.0 lanes. It can only do 16x or 8x/8x, not 16x/8x: [nom]Ron]http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/usb-3.0-performance,2490.html[citation][nom]Ron Scubadiver[/nom]You guys could have saved yourself a ton of trouble by using 180x20 and letting the memory run slower, or buying ram that could run @ 1800. That would have allowed much lower voltages to be used, as in your article on overclocking the I5-750. I have used those settings around here with great results. A ducted case like a P182 would solve the problem of the power supply overheating and a larger cooler for the CPU would have been a better choice. Frankly, considering the kind of experience and resources you guys have, I am surprised you had so many problems. Thank god I don't game and have no need for the twin jet engines those 5870's must sound like.[/citation]The system was originally overclocked at 182x20. 203x18 was tried later to improve memory performance, and it was found the CPU ran approximately the same temperature. A higher BCLK can be problematic, but wasn't this time.[citation][nom]Gigahertz20[/nom]Hardly anybody will ever go over 2TB let alone use 4TB of storage like this build has. Most people will benefit from a fast SSD then having a *** load of storage. Probably 1 in 4,000 people use 1TB or more of space on their internal hard drives.[/citation]It was recommended for RAID 1, where 2+2=2TB, because nobody in this price class should have to worry about a single drive failure. The article later stated that 1TB (still in RAID 1 with two 1TB drives) would have been enough to satisfy most of today's needs, and that these particular drives were chosen (but shouldn't have been) based on previous recommendations concerning their speed.
 

jaysnooginz

Distinguished
Dec 22, 2009
1
0
18,510
0
I think that the next system build should really push the envelope creativity wise.

Not only should it be a great performer, but also great looking. Try to incorporate something like a custom case or a professional design and artwork.
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Editor
[citation][nom]ionut19[/nom]PCI Express 2.0 x16 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16)1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8)Note: When dual graphics cards are used in 1st and 2nd PCIex16 slots, SATA3 / USB 3.0 (Marvell 9128 /NEC USB 3.0 Controllers) will work at normal mode.Specifications: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813128409[/citation]

Sorry, I own the board. It does x8 mode when a single card is installed and the controllers are active. It does x8/x8 mode when two cards are installed. You should tell Newegg to fix its page...oh that's right, they copied from Gigabyte's page. Please address it with Gigabyte.
 

RIKHOLLIS

Distinguished
Nov 11, 2009
17
0
18,520
1
Good article and it's nice to know that even the experts we look up to live-and-learn on a demanding computer build. How many times have we answered the question "What computer parts should I get?" with "How much money do you have to spend?" Here's a novel idea to silence the critics who always question every choice; have Tom's sponsor a contest where entrants use $2,500 of their own money; purchase and assemble their own kit; and compete against each other for best performance using a suite of agreed upon benchmarks. Then Tom's picks up the tab for the winner! Set a 60-90 day window, receipts required, and entrants can submit links to blogs on their builds.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS