System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: $600 Gaming PC

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Au_equus

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Nice to know you don't need a $1000 machine to get 60 fps average on BF3 at 1080p on ultra. Something to compare the upcoming ps4 against, but it begs the question... where are the crysis 3 benchmarks? :p
 

pauldh

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[citation][nom]itzsnypah[/nom]Why isn't noise a benchmark? Every build you showcase you ignore acoustics. A very noisy build should affect it's overall performance negatively, while a quiet one should affect it positively. Noise is a very important factor in Case Reviews so why isn't it a factor here?[/citation]
We lack the ability to adequately measure and compare noise from one lab to the next. Agreed, and I've voiced this to the team too, that a lack of sound measurements imho lessens the value from our temperature readings.

I understand this isn't good enough, but I just try to keep it fair from one rig to the next in terms of overclock and noise, and make mention if one rig seems to comprimise noise more than the past one did. If a machine remains quiet at all times, I'd mention that too. Both these were quiet at idle, and would doubtfully bother anyone gaming with default auto fan profiles. Overclocked while gaming, they were equally loud. The PowerColor 7850 from last quarter was plain intolerable for me if pushed to about 70% fan, but it did not ramp up past 50% overclcoked under a custom profile. If you want a quiet card, overvolted and overclcoked, neither of these 7850s is for you. Auto fan settings, mildly OC'ed without voltage, they are not bad at all, but even that will depend on ambient room temperatures.
 

levin70

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Combo from Microcenter

Fx 6300 plus Gigabyte GA 970A-UD3 motherboard $169 (before tax). That would save you $97 dollars over the current build and would allow you to buy a Radeon HD 7950 if you also got the rebate - see below

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131478

Now, would the fx CPU be 6-8% slower with a decent overclock, yes it would. BUT WHO CARES. The 7950 blows the 7850 out of the fricking water. What is up with you guys. Why are you willing to do budget builds that suck for the sake of saying that the CPU, which is the bottleneck for 60FPS gaming in only a couple of games out of the hundreds available, is more meaningful than getting better gameplay out of all the rest?

Let me ask a real simple question. Which build you would want. the Intel with the 7850 or the AMD build with the 7950? I know which one I would want. Its not even close.
 

SirNathan

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I'd like to see how the Radeon HD 7870 or GTX 660 with a Core i3 compares, or a 2GB 7850 with FX-8320. Very cool article, though, as usual.
 

pauldh

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[citation][nom]g-unit1111[/nom]That 3350P is a pretty nice CPU though. It performs at near FX-8320 levels while consuming 1/2 the power. I'd definitely use it in a low budget rig over anything else.[/citation]
Agreed. The 3350P was key to tackling this build's goal, but besides that is just a fantastic gaming and all-round CPU. The FX-8320 was pretty much out of contention because of power and cooling demands while overclocking.
 

loops

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I like it overall. It is a SAFE build. I5 and 7850...ya safe build. One I'd put together before the PS4 specs were listed.

But given the PS4 is coming out soon and the gpu guess is that the PS4 is around a 7870 with an AMD chip....I would have went AMD FX chip and 7870LE or 7950...betting that the ports will make up for the loss of the i5.

loops

 

mayankleoboy1

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I know i am blaspheming, but i would like that the cost of the Optical Drive not be included in the build. I am not saying that ODD are not needed. They are used, but increasingly, rarely.
 

Sakkura

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[citation][nom]EzioAs[/nom]As usual, love the system builder article.This $600 build seems nice. Personally, I would drop the optical drive, replace the Z75 board with a cheaper H77 motherboard, get a cheap 8GB (2x4GB) memory kit and a 2GB version of the Radeon HD7850. I think it's possible that it'll be between $600-610. That's just what I would change. This build is still nice to be honest.[/citation]
That's not a good idea. You barely save anything at all with an H77 motherboard compared to this. That's why the Asrock Z75 Pro3 is a bit of a gem, it costs the same as an H77 motherboard but lets you crank up the cheaper Core i5s to their Turbo Boost caps. All you lose is the option of SSD caching, which most people won't use anyway.
 

EzioAs

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@Sakkura

That's my preferences in order to save a few bucks for the 2GB 7850 and 8GB RAM. Seeing newer titles requiring more and more VRAM, I personally would not settle for a 1GB card nowadays and having 8GB memory instead of 4GB really gives some more flexibility running background programs whilst doing other things (ie. gaming).
 

realibrad

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Seeing how you keep running up against people asking about the non-gaming performance, why not try this...

Take 1 rig each marathon, and designate it the all around performer. 1st one would be the $500 and then next time do the middle and so forth.

That might get people to stop complaining as much.
 

WickedPigeon

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I think realibrad makes an interesting point.

Seeing that most people use their computers for a mix of uses, can you approach your analysis with multiple outcomes? - gaming and productivity. Show two outcome measurements. Then you can show the trade offs of a weaker video card but adding a SSD or the difference between processors.

I've used the system builder as reference with great results, but I'm always guessing as I change up my builds to meet my multi-use, real life needs.

Thanks for the great work!
 

pauldh

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[citation][nom]Novuake[/nom]Hi PaulI have a VERY SERIOUS issue with this article if you would mind indulging me for a min? Are you aware that Ivy Bridge chips are known to become unreliable when used with RAM at higher than 1.55v, in some cases even killing the chip?http://communities.intel.com/thread/30798[/citation]
Hello! Make no mistake, overclocking is done at your own risk. Intel does not resume responsibility, nor do they recommend more that 1.5V DRAM for Ivy or Sandy. However, overclocking has always been a huge part of the System Builder Marathons, and our readership generally values that aspect of the data more than the stock testing. Here we buy retail parts, avoiding the possibility of cherry picked review samples. We've been using 1.6V RAM overclocks for Ivy and Sandy without problems, in SBM's, RAM & Mobo reviews, and most other stories. Have you ever expressed this concern before?

We do not tolerate any instability for our overclocks. But the only death of a Ivy CPU I've ever heard of happened well north of 1.6V, using 1.65V RAM.
 
would you consider one of the cheap modular psus like corsair's cx430m in a build like this? since the psu is mounted at the top of the case, i think a modular psu would be better for clearing up a bit of clutter(for a higher price).
ofc, cx430m is a value psu, so the quality would be cheaper than others.
edit: the cx430m comes with an ac power cable, if it's worth considering.
 

caamsa

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Been a long time since I commented on anything but I felt that I had to after reading about this build. This build in my opinon is ok. The CPU and GPU are great but the rest is meh. Seems kina weak. Hard drive=weak, 4gigs memory=weak, ps=weak. Seems to me you want to have a good balance and the ability to upgrade in the future. I think the i3 would have been a better cpu choice. Then beef up the PS the memory and the storage.
 
[citation][nom]pauldh[/nom]Hello! Make no mistake, overclocking is done at your own risk. Intel does not resume responsibility, nor do they recommend more that 1.5V DRAM for Ivy or Sandy. However, overclocking has always been a huge part of the System Builder Marathons, and our readership generally values that aspect of the data more than the stock testing. Here we buy retail parts, avoiding the possibility of cherry picked review samples. We've been using 1.6V RAM overclocks for Ivy and Sandy without problems, in SBM's, RAM & Mobo reviews, and most other stories. Have you ever expressed this concern before?We do not tolerate any instability for our overclocks. But the only death of a Ivy CPU I've ever heard of happened well north of 1.6V, using 1.65V RAM.[/citation]

Although I agree that overclocking is done at ones own risk, we enthusiasts are fully aware of the risks, BUT it seems to me a RAM voltage increase is an unnecessary risk for very little gain. Especially considering how sensitive Ivy is to RAM voltages.

I have had an I3-3220 die on me from RAM running RAM at 1.6V. This was after about 3 months of continued use(home media server). I did not experience any instability on this system beforehand. Note the RAM was just of a higher voltage at stock, it was never OCd. Since stability does not seem to be the only way to confirm whether a given RAM voltage is safe or not, I am concerned that anyone should suggest higher voltage RAM for Ivy.
 

pauldh

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[citation][nom]realibrad[/nom]Seeing how you keep running up against people asking about the non-gaming performance, why not try this...Take 1 rig each marathon, and designate it the all around performer. 1st one would be the $500 and then next time do the middle and so forth.That might get people to stop complaining as much.[/citation]
That could potentially work. This round we were all seeking the most overall bang from our more tightly grouped budgets, which is supposedly the goal every time. However, each builder picks their own goal, every time.

There's stagnancy at times, and we each want to switch things up by sliding funds from CPU to GPU or vise versa, rather than build the same basic build as before. Sometimes, pricing or new availability at purchase time dictates a last minute change in system goals. Last time I was very determined to compete overall, but then HD 7850 appeared and promised a new level of graphics power for the $170 that's typically been our limit in $500 builds. Hoping for Athlon X4-750K to someday appear, I decided to build another (better) pure gaming build. With the cheap rig, what we always dub a "gaming pc", I haven't been keen on using $100 graphics in attempt to secure the required CPU muscle to compete overall. This time, had we stayed at $500 I would have attempted this same goal, using PhII X4 965BE + HD 7850 1G and a cheap mobo. That's about the only combo I'd imagine has a chance to win at $500 without knocking back graphics and gaming.
 

pauldh

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[citation][nom]Novuake[/nom]Although I agree that overclocking is done at ones own risk, we enthusiasts are fully aware of the risks, BUT it seems to me a RAM voltage increase is an unnecessary risk for very little gain. Especially considering how sensitive Ivy is to RAM voltages.I have had an I3-3220 die on me from RAM running RAM at 1.6V. This was after about 3 months of continued use(home media server). I did not experience any instability on this system beforehand. Note the RAM was just of a higher voltage at stock, it was never OCd. Since stability does not seem to be the only way to confirm whether a given RAM voltage is safe or not, I am concerned that anyone should suggest higher voltage RAM for Ivy.[/citation]
That's great info, thanks. I'll pass the horror story and recommendation onto the team. I've felt very safe with Sandy at 1.6V. Question: did you confirm the motherboard wasn't overvolting the RAM beyond 1.6V? I've occastionally found some boards are a bit aggressive and overvolt.
 
[citation][nom]pauldh[/nom]That's great info, thanks. I'll pass the horror story and recommendation onto the team. I've felt very safe with Sandy at 1.6V. Question: did you confirm the motherboard wasn't overvolting the RAM beyond 1.6V? I've occastionally found some boards are a bit aggressive and overvolt.[/citation]

No I did not unfortunately as I did not even consider the possibility at the time. But I am using the board at this very moment(with lower voltage RAM though). I am sure a quick test with the old RAM is safe enough. Obviously there will be more variable since it is a different Ivy chip, but perhaps I can set my fears to rest. Thanks for the suggestion. Will revert back again.
 

seller417

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A10-5800K Trinity 3.8GHz (4.2GHz Turbo) ($130 @ Newegg)
MSI FM2-A85XA-G65 (Hudson D4) ($100 $ Newegg)
Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB DDR3 1600 ($63 @ Newegg)
SeaSonic 520W 80 Plus Bronze ($65 @ Newegg)
128GB SSD OCZ Vertex 4 ($110 @ Newegg)
500GB HDD Western Digital WD Blue 7200 ($60 @ Newegg)
APEVIA X-PLORER2 Series case ($60 @ Newegg)
SAMSUNG DVD Burner ($16 @ Newegg)

Total $604

the A10-5800K integrated GPU performs great on most games. If you plan on playing Crysis then you shouldn't be looking at budget gaming systems to begin with.

the money saved from the dedicated GPU lets you go with an SSD, 8GB of RAM and a nicer case.

 
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