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

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Is that the whole computer that uses less than 500 watts under load or just the CPU and cards? When I type in a similar setup in Newegg's wattage calculator for PSUs, I get something closer to 800.
 

Crashman

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[citation][nom]Amani[/nom]Is that the whole computer that uses less than 500 watts under load or just the CPU and cards? When I type in a similar setup in Newegg's wattage calculator for PSUs, I get something closer to 800.[/citation]
Wattage is measured at the wall socket :)
 
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A very poor build for $2500. $600 for 2 2TB hard drives is a bad idea. The lack of good cooling for the CPU is totally BS for the money spent. This build shows that just buying the most expense parts and throwing them in a case is not the best way to build a system. A system that cannot be effectively overclocked is not a build I would be happy with.
 

retirepresident

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Want have use AMD Phenom II X4 945 3.0GHz 95W $167.00,OCZ Agility EX Series 60G(SSD) $409.00 and ASUS EAH5970/G/2DIS/2GD5 $649.00. And save $500.00 and big improvement.
 

Crashman

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[citation][nom]ralph12345678[/nom]This build shows that just buying the most expense parts and throwing them in a case is not the best way to build a system.[/citation]

The RAM was picked for its top value. The CPU cooler was moderately priced and picked because it was the only "big" 1156 cooler in stock. The drives were expensive, but were picked based on a previous THG recommendation for their speed. So the majority of parts were picked for their good value. It would be more accurate to say "This just goes to show that you can't just throw a bunch of best-value parts into a case, add expensive hard drives and graphics, and then expect to have a best value system".
 

wodoamb

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You people need to be a little more frugal or live a little closer to Fry's!
Latest system built over Thanksgiving weekend:
-Biostar T5XE CFX-SLI/Intel I7 860 combo: 249.99-20.00 rebate
-Diamond HD5850:309.99
-CM Hyper 212 pl:29.99
-Kingston HyperX 2x2GB 1600 CL8:89.99
-Corsair TX750:99.99-20.00 rebate
-Hitachi 1TB Deskstar 59.99
-NZXT BETA EVO case:59.99
-LITE-ON 24x multi:39.99
Total for tis build:939.92-40.00 in rebates=899.92
System is a little light in HD area but could still ad 1 or 2 1TB WD Blacks and another HD5850 and still be under 1500.00
 
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Didn't like the build. It says at the beginning "the best moment to build a system", then the problems start. Yes, ati 58xx are powerful, but no competition in the market make them very expensive. More than they should be. I personally would have said the exac opposite: This is NOT a good moment to build a performance PC. For A LOT of money you are buying mid-end case, mid-end storage, mid-end cooling... heat issues in the prossesor (Good God 90ºC!), overclocking issues in the graphics cards... and 4TB for storage is a little excessive IMO, the same for the 8GB of RAM. 2x1TB should be more than enough, and 4GB of RAM is a lot even today. You could put an i7 920 and 3x2GB if 4GB total is not enough. And you have a better future-proff build at the same time, with westmere comming next year.

I'd say that the previous build, even with the already "old" 4890, is better in a more general perspective. It had water cooling, just to say one thing this build doesn't have.

Anyway, good work, nice review overall, not that good build.

Tl;dr: if I spent 2500$ in a rig just like this one, I'd rather be disappointed.
 

Crashman

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[citation][nom]Eddie Elric[/nom]Didn't like the build.[/citation]

The Builder didn't like the build. It started with a CPU that was supposed to go beyond 4 GHz on air but didn't, and after that it was downhill.
 

doc holliday

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Why was the i7-860 chosen over the i7-920? Newegg pricing shows an $8 difference and based upon my limited knowledge of the two, the 920 is much more capable of higher performance. Is there something that I'm not aware of regarding this decision?
 

Crashman

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[citation][nom]doc holliday[/nom]Why was the i7-860 chosen over the i7-920? Newegg pricing shows an $8 difference and based upon my limited knowledge of the two, the 920 is much more capable of higher performance. Is there something that I'm not aware of regarding this decision?[/citation]

Did you read the article? The i7-860 is actually a little faster than the i7-920, and has better Turbo Boost multiplier scaling. The X58 chipset is better, but the builder didn't think the extra lanes would be needed when he made the purchase. But the biggest part is that the new core usually overclocks better and usually doesn't require liquid cooling. Tom's simply got a dud i7-860 and a mediocre cooler by happenstance.
 

killwish

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:( they called mine outdated... at least i got me some SSD's!!

certainly was interesting to compare what they picked this time around to the sept. build i won. a shame they couldnt pull together some better cooling as it seems they lost alot oc potential there. (although stock speeds seem to be on par with the oc'd sept build lol)

who ever wins this one will certainly be happy, i know i couldnt be more happy with the "outdated" system i won...
 

rupicolous

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I do prefer the best and usually most expensive build in your articles because it allows me to become familiar with some of the latest technology available and also shows the level of performance gains that can be reached through various cooling and overclocking techniques.
 

doron

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[citation][nom]Crashman[/nom]The Builder didn't like the build. It started with a CPU that was supposed to go beyond 4 GHz on air but didn't, and after that it was downhill.[/citation]

Did you really expect the cpu to go beyond 4ghz with such a heatbox?

You said you don't understand the people who get full towers with lots of fans.
I don't either, but what I really don't understand is people who get 2 high(est) end gpus which exhaust most hot air inside the case and a high end cpu, all with much less than adequate cooling. Put everything in a cramped case and what do you get?

Overall it's a good build and if there weren't any budget constraints I'm sure you'd pick the best components. But man, the small case and lousy cooling solutions really hindered everything, overclocking-wise. You wanted to achieve everything and failed in the basics IMHO.
 

doc holliday

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[citation][nom]killwish[/nom]they called mine outdated... at least i got me some SSD's!!certainly was interesting to compare what they picked this time around to the sept. build i won. a shame they couldnt pull together some better cooling as it seems they lost alot oc potential there. (although stock speeds seem to be on par with the oc'd sept build lol)who ever wins this one will certainly be happy, i know i couldnt be more happy with the "outdated" system i won...[/citation]

Thank you for your reply. I did read the article. Evidently, more thoroughly than you did. The CPU that you refer to in your answer is not the 920, but rather the 750, as stated in the article. So I'll ask again, why the 920 over the 860?
 

doc holliday

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[citation][nom]doc holliday[/nom]Thank you for your reply. I did read the article. Evidently, more thoroughly than you did. The CPU that you refer to in your answer is not the 920, but rather the 750, as stated in the article. So I'll ask again, why the 920 over the 860?[/citation]

My apologies Killwish, the reply was intended for Crashman.
 

Crashman

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[citation][nom]doc holliday[/nom]My apologies Killwish, the reply was intended for Crashman.[/citation]

You don't think I read the article? Oh boy! Go look up the Core i7-860 and the Core i7-920. The i7-860 is slightly faster. The i7-860 has a better Turbo Boost multiplier set. The i7-860 uses a new core that supposedly overclocks better. Please read the article, it's in there.
 

jcknouse

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Hey Crashman,

I have a question: do you guys keep these parts around long?

If so, I was thinking maybe you guys could take the comments from the readers here and show the tit-for-tat of implementing a suggested difference or two in between the SBMs?

For instance: There was a lot of commentary on the case and its air flow. Maybe find a case in the same price range, throw all the parts in that case with a temperature sensor and show if the reader's hypothesis was correct?

I don't know how busy you guys are, so I don't know if there's time...or budget...to do something. Just an idea.

Like I said, I liked the article. There were things I would have done differently. I just built a new rig for under $2500 that has a 3dMark06 score of 20661, and that's using an unlocked OCed PII-550BE with 4GB DDR3-1600 and a 1x64GB SSD (OS and drivers only) and 4x500GB Spinpoint F1s in RAID 1+0 for data/programs and dual 5850s.

But, the fact you did so well with what you got (like you pointed out...dud CPU + mediochre air cooling) says a lot to me. Sounds like you guys worked your butts off to make the proverbial lemonade from the lemons you got in the deal. It was good work and a good article. I appreciate it.
 

Crashman

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[citation][nom]jcknouse[/nom]Hey Crashman,I have a question: do you guys keep these parts around long?If so, I was thinking maybe you guys could take the comments from the readers here and show the tit-for-tat of implementing a suggested difference or two in between the SBMs?For instance: There was a lot of commentary on the case and its air flow. Maybe find a case in the same price range, throw all the parts in that case with a temperature sensor and show if the reader's hypothesis was correct?I don't know how busy you guys are, so I don't know if there's time...or budget...to do something. Just an idea.Like I said, I liked the article. There were things I would have done differently. I just built a new rig for under $2500 that has a 3dMark06 score of 20661, and that's using an unlocked OCed PII-550BE with 4GB DDR3-1600 and a 1x64GB SSD (OS and drivers only) and 4x500GB Spinpoint F1s in RAID 1+0 for data/programs and dual 5850s.But, the fact you did so well with what you got (like you pointed out...dud CPU + mediochre air cooling) says a lot to me. Sounds like you guys worked your butts off to make the proverbial lemonade from the lemons you got in the deal. It was good work and a good article. I appreciate it.[/citation]

The case was bad for around 10° under full GPU load compared to open-air. Since the problem with overclocking was CPU cooling, that's fairly significant difference. But I'd have rather used a better cooler and faster exhaust fan then most of the other cases that cost what this one did when it was purchased...$80.
 

ionut19

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[citation][nom]Crashman[/nom]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.[/citation]

According to their data that is what it can do. If you own and it is different then i wont argue. The board that i chose is different from the board that you chose for this build.
They say the controllers will work at normal mode.

"It does x8 mode when a single card is installed and the controllers are active." - 8x..
I think it can be made to work at 16x. Talk to them if you want and see what they say.

 

ionut19

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"the CPU is limited by a 16-lane integrated PCI Express"
That means it won't work 16x and 8x, no? The cpu can go eider one 16x or two 8x. So the 16x and 8x in sli/crossfire has gone under..
Naspa.
 

jcknouse

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[citation][nom]Crashman[/nom]The case was bad for around 10° under full GPU load compared to open-air. Since the problem with overclocking was CPU cooling, that's fairly significant difference. But I'd have rather used a better cooler and faster exhaust fan then most of the other cases that cost what this one did when it was purchased...$80.[/citation]

Yeah, I totally agree. 10 degrees would be a nightmare to me.

I agree with the CPU cooler comment too. Especially when I read that it didn't fit tight and you were losing thermal dissipation because of that. That is a project killer too.

If you're looking into a cooler for next time that you can get an 1156 or 1366 bracket for, I might suggest the Sunbeamtech CCTF-120 model. Newegg doesn't offer the bracket for 1156, but do the 1366. I've read a lot about this cooler, and many have said it's good.

BTW... any chance you guys are planning a C2 vs C3 PhenomII stepping comparison? Just wondering. :)

Thanks again.
 

stephenriddle

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compare the benchmarks on the $2500 build with the $1300 Corei5 build. It looks to me as if the Core i5 build gets you pretty close to these numbers for a good bit less $$$
 
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