System Builder Marathon, May '09: $1,300 Enthusiast PC

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cleeve

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[citation][nom]Dave_69[/nom]I read "micro ATX" and that's all it took. Lame.[/citation]

Way to diss that form factor.
MicroATX knows whose the boss now, doesn't it Dave? ;)
 

BloodRaven

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Nov 14, 2008
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INTEGRATED AUDIO:

I noticed that these recent System Builder Marathon builds are consistently relying on integrated audio.

Is it really not worth considering the following cards?

Creative X-Fi Xtreme Gamer $115 CAN
AuzenTech AZT-XPCINE $110 CAN
HT Omega Striker $95 CAN
ASUS Xonar DX 7.1 $80 CAN

Won't you be giving up significant audio performance if you go with integrated audio?

Most of the Realtek integrated audio codecs have:
- DAC 97dB SNR (Sound-to-Noise Ratio)
- ADCs with 90dB SNR

Desn't less than 100db SNR result in significantly less quality?

Meanwhile, cards like the X-Fi Xtreme Gamer have up to 109dB DAC !!!

Is it all about the choice of speakers these days, or do the audio codecs still matter?

Bonus question:
- Creative is the only company that can offer EAX 5.0 (but it has bloated drivers and is pricey)
- All other competitors offer EAX 2.0 at most
- Is there much difference in gaming between Creative's EAX 5.0 (ie. with the X-Fi Xtreme Gamer) and a card like the HT Omega Striker (EAX 2.0)?
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Editor
[citation][nom]BloodRaven[/nom]INTEGRATED AUDIO:I noticed that these recent System Builder Marathon builds are consistently relying on integrated audio.Is it really not worth considering the following cards?Creative X-Fi Xtreme Gamer $115 CANAuzenTech AZT-XPCINE $110 CANHT Omega Striker $95 CANASUS Xonar DX 7.1 $80 CANWon't you be giving up significant audio performance if you go with integrated audio?Most of the Realtek integrated audio codecs have:- DAC 97dB SNR (Sound-to-Noise Ratio)- ADCs with 90dB SNRDesn't less than 100db SNR result in significantly less quality?Meanwhile, cards like the X-Fi Xtreme Gamer have up to 109dB DAC !!!Is it all about the choice of speakers these days, or do the audio codecs still matter?Bonus question:- Creative is the only company that can offer EAX 5.0 (but it has bloated drivers and is pricey)- All other competitors offer EAX 2.0 at most- Is there much difference in gaming between Creative's EAX 5.0 (ie. with the X-Fi Xtreme Gamer) and a card like the HT Omega Striker (EAX 2.0)?[/citation]

You can't fit an audio card into the top two systems.

EAX 5.0 is done through software under Vista, and is supported by the Asus Xonar.

Top codecs have SNR's of around 103dB. If I played a 1db tone in the middle of a 100dB blast, would you hear it?
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Editor
for the components list.
Are tax included?
Some states don't charge sales tax. Those that do have a variety of rates, not a single rate that can be included. Finally, some states will allow you to forgo tax on out-of-state to in-state sales, in exchange for a flat payment based on income (estimated sales tax), so that the individual purchase makes no difference in your tax payment.
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Editor
[citation][nom]wildcatnc[/nom]How hard would this be to apply to a standard form machine? What mobo/case would you guy recommend?[/citation]

Most $80+ cases are good enough to deserve some kind of recommendation, though some are far better than others. Same goes for most $200+ X58 motherboards. I could easily pick out a dozen better-than-average cases at various price points and half a dozen excellent motherboards.

Tom's Hardware does have motherboard roundups.
 
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