System Builder Marathon: Low Cost System

zenmaster

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Feb 21, 2006
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I'm seriously confused.
Isn't this article titled "Low Cost System"?

Why would you spend $190 on a CPU that will perform most tasks slower than many CPUs running $100 less?

Perhaps you would be looking at a $200 CPU in a Mid Range System.

$230 for an Low Cost System? Are you Kidding me?
The 8800GS comes in at about 1/2 that price (As low as $110 on New Egg.)

$95 is not that much for a HDD, but why not save $30 more and get something like at 250gb or 320gb?

Why a PSU that only has a TWELVE MONTH WARRANTY?
A Relatively High Wattage Minimal Quality PSU is questionable.

Save a Few Watts and get a Nice Seasonic, Corsair, PCP&C that usually come with a SIXTY Month Warranty.

The Mobo only has a Single PCIE-2.0 Slot, so SLI is not something you are going to be doing.

 
Hmmm, did you do any stress-testing of that "600W" Tier-5 PSU?
With a few assumptions, I got 292W on the PSU calculator. I could run a 500W Apevia/Aspire at that load 24/7 for months...
 
I agree with Zenmaster. The article's reasons for using a Phenom 9500 were interesting and useful, but not valid in this context. A separate article on that chip in a build would make more sense.
 

zero2dash

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Oct 23, 2007
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Congrats for trying to be different, but this = epic fail.

Phenom over a C2D (even an E21x0)? No.
3870 over a 9600GT? No.
Cheapo Nzxt case over a CM 690? No.
Cheapo Nzxt psu over a similar priced/better VX450 or VX550? No.

I realize everyone's got their opinions but there's a difference between an opinion and 'picking worse parts for the same amount of money'.

The $500 pc article last year was great. A couple of the SBM ones were good as well. This is just sub-par. You guys at THG must be having writer's block on articles lately (starting with the lackluster cpu cooler roundup a month ago).
 

cruiseoveride

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Sep 16, 2006
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$837? Low-Cost ??? haha

And benchmarks need more than 1 sort of hardware for comparison,
how does this _low_cost_ hardware compare against (dare i say it) expensive hardware?
 

radguy

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I thought the low cost system for these things had a budget of 1 grand they came in 160 under budget not bad especially if you do need to pick up an OS. Its not a 500 - 600 dollar build.

I would have gone after more performance and less space with the hd isn't the WD 400gb aaks a better performer for the same price? But I understand the comp not built for a specific task.

I would also have gone with a different psu but at least you guys as switching it up a bit which is great in my opinion.

I always find these builds very interesting and can't wait to see what else you come up with for the mid and high.

also I really want another 500 dollar gaming build (with lots of gaming benchmarks this time)
 

coldmast

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the compys that I spec out usually start with the SonataIII w/500w EarthWatts {manufactured bye sea sonic} $99 CAD at my local store.

Phenom over any other option is a NO {maybe later in the year} I might as well shove in the extra dough for: an E8400 which is great for budget gaming, or a cheapo X2 that has a higher clock at half the price of the Phenom.

the WD 500GB HDD is good for storage but make a good secondary disk, I would go with a slimmer starter drive as well.

I would go for the 9600GT, unless there is some significant improvement with the hybrid crossfire X, {probably not}

I'd like to see this spec redone for best bang for the buck: Gaming focused, HTPC focused, and a for cheaper general user {Internet, WOW}. The spec now seems like a megatasking / gaming spec {that does neither well}.

need to add the evil OS price {I'd use XP w/ windowsblinds}, unless you plan on running ubuntu.
 

zenmaster

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Feb 21, 2006
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Well, if the Budget was $1000, they did an even worse job of picking.
If you are on a Budget, then this not the system.
Gee, This card handles 1900x1200 - That's Nice.
Monitors at this price start at $320 and Up at New Egg.

The Fast Single Card Solution from AMD & one of their most Expensive CPUs for a "Low Budget" Solution?
I'm sorry, but that is not a "Low Budget" system.

The 780G Motherboard is nice, but you lose the onboard GPU benefeits once you go with a high-end card like that.
Might as well as spend a couple more dollars and get a system that is expandable to Cross-Fire.
That could easily be done by buying a NON-Factory OC'd GPU.

You could slash 25% off the price of this computer and still have a decent gaming/general purpose system.

I can only conclude that is is likely just the test sytem they had laying around from the 780g Mobo test and decided to toss in some GPU they had laying around. It was not really any attempt to design a system for the article.

 

zenmaster

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Feb 21, 2006
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I love that Case/PSU combo, especially since it's frequently on Sale for little more than the PSU alone.
 

BSMonitor

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Nov 19, 2007
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No kidding, this sounds like a Phenom feel good story. Sorry, no tasks someone would be building a low-cost PC for would take advantage of a Quad-Core cpu. Let alone one that underperforms against any E8000-cpu in all games.

Also, who building a "low-cost" system wouldn't want to know they can overclock their system? (all be it safely...) This person is trying to get the most for the money, so overclocking potential IS a big deal!

E8000 for the masses... No question. Maybe a BE 5000+ for low-low cost.
 

zenmaster

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Feb 21, 2006
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If building a REAL lowcost system, the BE 5000+ might not be a bad choice with that Mobo and a Low Cost GPU that can actually make use of the built in GPU on the mobo.

It would not be a monster gamer, but if you were looking for an AMD build with that Mobo that would work for me.

 
This is what a low cost system should be:

(Newegg prices)
E2180 = $80
P35-DS3L = $90
Corsair 450VX = $70
Crucial Ballastix DDR2 800 (2*1GB) = $63
8800GT 512 = $220
COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 = $50
Seagate Barracuda 250GB = $70
Total with out rebates = $686
Total with rebates = $621
$216 savings over the Toms build and better imo.


All high quality and very good for OCing. Mainly aimed at OCing actually.
 

cleeve

Illustrious


For our system builder marathons, yes. Low cost is under $1000, mid-range under $2000, etc.




We do mention that is coming later in the week, when we compare the low-cost, mid-range, and high-end builds against one another.




I understand why alot of you have problems with choosing a Phenom, I really do. However, after using it I also truly believe it makes a pretty great sub-$200 CPU. Am I saying that the E6750 sucks? No, no I'm not. But I think the Phenom is viable in the price range, especially for mutithreaded apps that can utilize quad cores.

As far as the Radeon 3870 goes, keep in mind we have to request this hardware a while before the article is written. Prices have gone insane since the 9600 GT was released. I made it pretty clear in the article that a cheapo 9600 GT or 3870 for ~$160 is a perfect budget deal for today, but we stuck with the ICE-Q anyway; it's an interesting card with some kick to it.

Do you have to agree with me? Of course not. But this is a fine ~$850 system and the benches will prove it when compared to the higher-end stuff. Some configurations would be better at specific tasks but the Phenom has it's place and I stand by it. We all know it's not going to be a monster overclocker, but that doesn't mean it's a bad CPU for folks who don't overclock.

For the record: all the hardware was requested for the article, so it's not like it was lying around the office and we made a frankenstein box out of laziness.

My two cents anyhoo. like I said, you're certainly entitled to disagree. Keeps things interesting, just be polite about it. :)
 

cleeve

Illustrious


It's not really missing those things; we chose to not include them. They don't really have an effect on the system's performance. (you could argue OS I guess. But who am I to tell people they can't get a free copy of Linux?) ;P

If you like I could calculate an amount to add to the price for those items, if that makes the article feel 'complete' to you...
 

scryer_360

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For $230 you could of got an 8800GT that handily beats even that overclocked 3870. Really, what the hell guys? I know the 9600GT was only 13% slower, but if you are jumping up to that price point anyway go with the 8800GT. I can't say this is good journalism/common sense for you to use the 3870 at $230. Damn.

Second, I do have an 8800GT and a E4300 at 2.4 gigahertz. I get Supreme Commander at 50fps at 1280x1024. Clearly, that Phenom is not helping anyone.

Lastly, wasn't your budget last year like $600? This year its $800, and the economy is down?
 

scryer_360

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Scratch that, I'm seeing an 8800GT on Newegg for $199, and thats before a $20 mail in rebate. Why the hell did you include an $230 3870 again? Hello?!
 

cleeve

Illustrious


I suspect that wouldn't be the case if you benched like we did. Supreme Commander is one of those titles that scales extremely well the more cores you add, with a large difference even between 2 and 3 CPU cores.

Even the quad-core intel CPU in the mid-range system was brought to it's knees in the supcom bench.
 

cleeve

Illustrious


Told everybody why a few posts above. Made it clear in the article that cheaper cards were great choices too; sorry if that isn't good enough for you, but oh well, can't please everybody. ;)
 

San Pedro

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I'm a little disappointed in the price you chose for the "low-cost" system. I feel that you should have aimed for 500-600$ for low cost, and that a sub $1000 machine is more mid-range. Almost 900$ is not a low cost PC.
 

San Pedro

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Definitely more of a low cost system, and more of what I was looking for in the article.
 

cleeve

Illustrious
I can see alot of feedback in that vein this go-round.

Might try for another $500 machine in the next SBM; by then the 9600 GTs will have fallen even more, or the Radeon 3830's might even be available.

Should be interesting.

On a side note, for argument's sake I'd say that the low-cost system shadow proposed is a little heavy on the graphics card. A 9600 GT or 3850 might be a better fit for a balanced system, unless you're specing out a low-cost dedicated gaming rig.
 

cleeve

Illustrious
Those of you with opinons as to the costs, how about the following tiers for the next SBM:

low-cost: $650
mid-range: $1300
high-end: $2600

Also, did you want us to do a dedicated gaming build next time? Or an all-round build?

thoughts and comments appreciated gents...
 

SuicideSilence

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^^ I completely agree. I dont like what tomshardware thought about a "low cost system". I didnt like the artical at all. A 600watt Tier 5 PSU?! are you kidding me? A Phenom? wow
 

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