System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: $600 Gaming PC

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JonnyDough

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[citation][nom]vitornob[/nom]Do not question. Falcon northwest (a reliable company) builds the Tiki PC with a 450w psu.Uses an OC i7 3770k with the new GTX Titan.[/citation]

I don't think that's what he meant. Longevity doesn't just mean hardware quality, it can mean how long it's relevant. New hardware cycles are 6months to a year and a half.
 

pauldh

Illustrious
[citation][nom]Sakkura[/nom]Having an Asrock Z75 Pro3 myself, I was about to point that out. But since you took care of that, here's a question and/or an idea for an article: What is the impact of the PCIe lanes/bandwidth available on performance in Crossfire? I have seen some very good testing of the impact it has when using single graphics cards (seems to hurt a GTX 680 a little more than an HD 7970), but I'm wondering whether those numbers are applicable for Crossfire configurations (or SLI, but SLI isn't even available with x4 links, so it's kinda pointless; you can only get x8/x8 SLI with an LGA1155 motherboard). For example, an HD 7970 only loses ~6% performance by stepping down to PCIe 2.0 x4, but would a pair of 7970s in Crossfire be hurt more than that in an x16/x4 configuration? Or you could scale it down to more affordable cards; 7950s or 7870s in Crossfire is probably relevant to a lot more people.[/citation]
That's a story I have wanted to tackle for a while, but have lacked time. I even passed the idea on hoping someone else had time to take it on. I like the idea of including both 7850 and 7970 CrossFire , testing both 19x10 and a 3-panel Eyefinity resolution.
 

caamsa

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Wow this place has not changed much. I post a comment and get voted down buy a bunch of morons who never bother to post why they are voting me down. If you vote someone down you should have to post your reason why.
 
[citation][nom]caamsa[/nom]Wow this place has not changed much. I post a comment and get voted down buy a bunch of morons who never bother to post why they are voting me down. If you vote someone down you should have to post your reason why.[/citation]

Because @#$% you... That's why... hehehe this is the internet friend. You can not expect much. Please don't take me too seriously...
 
[citation][nom]bluebooger[/nom]because this is a $600 build and you just told them to pick a $330 cpu instead of a $180 cpu a $230 gpu instead of a $165 cpu a $130 hard drive instead of a $60 hard driveand as for your "******* epic" build it doesn't have an optical drive or a case (including your old case is dumb; you think Tom's doesn't have an old case laying around they could use?)so your post makes no sense at all[/citation]
[citation][nom]Novuake[/nom]Because @#$% you... That's why... hehehe this is the internet friend. You can not expect much. Please don't take me too seriously...[/citation]

In this case it seems he has a point...
 
[citation][nom]pauldh[/nom]Actually, you are reading into that wrong, and folks are voting you down for it. The goal for this system was to grab the most overall bang from $600, on our day of purchase. Plain and simple, it was ultimately built to try and win the final bang-for-buck analysis while not dropping graphics/gaming abilities. For that goal, I would change absolutely nothing if rebuilding it back on that same day. Win or lose, I don't believe more overall bang (while maintaining HD7850 for gaming) could have been achieved by another CPU/GPU combo at my disposal. But unlike the past 4 "Gaming PC's" I've built, no attempt was made to improve 1920x1080 gaming this time beyond benefits from the CPU. That's where the final paragraph was going.This is not the best all out gaming PC money could buy, but had I built a pure gaming PC, using less CPU and more GPU, the system would have without doubt failed at it's primary goal.[/citation]

Actually , no I'm not reading that wrong

"However, while I confidently declared last quarter's effort the best $500 gaming box I've ever built for this series, I can't say the same about today's $600 configuration. It offers outstanding performance for what I spent, but I suspect that matching up a lower-end CPU with a Radeon HD 7870 based on Tahiti LE might yield an even better experience at 1920x1080."

You can build a better gamer with an AMD FX 6300 and a 7870 for the same price

And the people who voted against my post are just intel fanboys
 

pauldh

Illustrious
[citation][nom]Outlander_04[/nom]Actually , no I'm not reading that wrong"However, while I confidently declared last quarter's effort the best $500 gaming box I've ever built for this series, I can't say the same about today's $600 configuration. It offers outstanding performance for what I spent, but I suspect that matching up a lower-end CPU with a Radeon HD 7870 based on Tahiti LE might yield an even better experience at 1920x1080."You can build a better gamer with an AMD FX 6300 and a 7870 for the same price And the people who voted against my post are just intel fanboys[/citation]
Meaning (in context), IF we changed the build's purpose back to sheer 1920x1080 gaming, THEN we could do better with less CPU & More GPU. Officially, that is never the goal in an SBM, however I have often made it my goal, for a machine we dub a "Gaming PC". More than anything, faced with too little funds at $500, I had focused on gaming alone.

I hope that wasn't confusing, main goal - overall value, aimed to win Day 4 at $600 (if possible). Secondary
goal (which was often my primary goal at $500) 16x10 and 19x10 gaming. Even this time, 1920x1080 gaming is still very important, just not the main goal. I simply did not want to lose abilities at 19x10 vs. the last $500 pure gaming rig. So I degraded the $600 PCs dominance by making Native Res gaming = 33% of (my own) weighting. I made gaming = 2/3 of my own weighting (which I will continue to use comparing my gaming builds), but ultimately this machine will be judged on Day 4 based only 30% on gaming, with no bonus for native resolution framerates over lower res framerates.

It has nothing to do with being a fanboy, I think those people realized your build wouldn't compete in overall bang. Not at all knocking use of a FX6300, but for pure gaming and a fixed budget, i3-3220 or FX4300 + 7870 XT (Tahiti LE) would top FX6300 + HD7870 (Pitcairn), at the same price.
 

justchuck69

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PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/Go3X
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/Go3X/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/Go3X/benchmarks/

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($94.98 @ Outlet PC)
Motherboard: ASRock 970 EXTREME4 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($87.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($30.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.73 @ Compuvest)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($184.98 @ Newegg)
Case: BitFenix Merc Beta (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Thermaltake TR2 600W ATX12V Power Supply ($29.99 @ Microcenter)
Optical Drive: Asus BW-12B1ST/BLK/G/AS Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $588.63
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-27 15:07 EST-0500)
 
@the phenom build:
first off - it's not an all-newegg configuration. takes rebates into account. the pre-rebate cost is already over $600 and you need a good cpu cooler and a good psu.
psu - cheap, low quality. inadequate for an overclocked phenom ii x4.
cooler - where's the cooler? the phenom ii x4 would need to be overclocked to match core i5 3350p's stock performance in gaming. the stock cooler is horribly inadequate for that. even after oc, the 3350p will maintain it's gaming lead and general perf lead.
adding a decent psu and the cooler would easily break the budget, then the build will underperform even after oc, will put out a lot of heat, suck loads of power.

edit: look at the bright side, amd is such a good value that it lets you use a 970 motherboard and 8(gasp!) gigabytes of system ram and allows a blu-ray drive.
 
Feb 27, 2013
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It would be nice if Toms hardware wasn't always filled with intel shills, face it, a fx 6300 and a 7870 xt is a better deal then wasting it on your i5 and 7850, yeah sure the fx 6300 it gets outperformed by the i5 but if you only care about your games then you should put more money on the gpu.Iif you really enjoy intel so much goyims then fine, go ahead, enjoy your 1-5 fps in dual core applications.
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
[citation][nom]pauldh[/nom]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.[/citation]I'll tell you what Paul, you have Chris buy two more of these Galaxy CM-140's and I'll do some test to give everyone a matching compensation scale. Then we can measure at 1/2 meter, and adjust to the audio-industry's 1m standard distance by subtracting 6db.
I'll leave it to you to make it happen :)
 

pauldh

Illustrious
[citation][nom]Crashman[/nom]I'll tell you what Paul, you have Chris buy two more of these Galaxy CM-140's and I'll do some test to give everyone a matching compensation scale. Then we can measure at 1/2 meter, and adjust to the audio-industry's 1m standard distance by subtracting 6db.I'll leave it to you to make it happen[/citation]
haha! So if I beg, you'll make sure accoustic metrics are comparable? hmmmm...
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
[citation][nom]pauldh[/nom]haha! So if I beg, you'll make sure accoustic metrics are comparable? hmmmm...[/citation]We each lean on each other's best abilities. Now if you need me to annoy him into not doing something, I'm your man!
 

pauldh

Illustrious
[citation][nom]Crashman[/nom]We each lean on each other's best abilities. Now if you need me to annoy him into not doing something, I'm your man![/citation]
LOL. Hey, it would be an easy request to make, if I had not already sent such a high volume his way this week, when as you know “buried” doesn’t scratch the surface of his workload. He is a machine, true that, but even so the man deserves not to hear from me again until after he gets some well-deserved rest. So, I vote Don does it, just not today! :)
 

pauldh

Illustrious
[citation][nom]Onus[/nom]Come on, Paul! After the well-deserved ego strokes you've gotten for your last few builds, surely you can take one for the team![/citation]
Well, thank you, but I see what you are doing here. ;)
 
[citation][nom]pauldh[/nom]Meaning (in context), IF we changed the build's purpose back to sheer 1920x1080 gaming, THEN we could do better with less CPU & More GPU. Officially, that is never the goal in an SBM, however I have often made it my goal, for a machine we dub a "Gaming PC". More than anything, faced with too little funds at $500, I had focused on gaming alone. I hope that wasn't confusing, main goal - overall value, aimed to win Day 4 at $600 (if possible). Secondary goal (which was often my primary goal at $500) 16x10 and 19x10 gaming. Even this time, 1920x1080 gaming is still very important, just not the main goal. I simply did not want to lose abilities at 19x10 vs. the last $500 pure gaming rig. So I degraded the $600 PCs dominance by making Native Res gaming = 33% of (my own) weighting. I made gaming = 2/3 of my own weighting (which I will continue to use comparing my gaming builds), but ultimately this machine will be judged on Day 4 based only 30% on gaming, with no bonus for native resolution framerates over lower res framerates. It has nothing to do with being a fanboy, I think those people realized your build wouldn't compete in overall bang. Not at all knocking use of a FX6300, but for pure gaming and a fixed budget, i3-3220 or FX4300 + 7870 XT (Tahiti LE) would top FX6300 + HD7870 (Pitcairn), at the same price.[/citation]

As you point out it is called the $600 Gaming PC .
Its success or shortcomings as a gamer are surely central to its value as a build , and any secondary usage is just that. Secondary .

Please go build the Suggested build using and FX 6300 , 970 chipset motherboard , and 7870. Ideally replace the psu with the Corsair CX 430 which sells for around the same price most of the time .

And then run a head to head comparison .
It will be fascinating article .
Especially when you are gaming at 1080 and turn up the image settings , but I suspect the AMD will be a match for the intel in some of your highly threaded applications too
 

pauldh

Illustrious
[citation][nom]Outlander_04[/nom]As you point out it is called the $600 Gaming PC .Its success or shortcomings as a gamer are surely central to its value as a build , and any secondary usage is just that. Secondary .Please go build the Suggested build using and FX 6300 , 970 chipset motherboard , and 7870. Ideally replace the psu with the Corsair CX 430 which sells for around the same price most of the time .And then run a head to head comparison . It will be fascinating article . Especially when you are gaming at 1080 and turn up the image settings , but I suspect the AMD will be a match for the intel in some of your highly threaded applications too[/citation]
FYI - The cheapest PC in our System Builder Marathons has traditionally been dubbed a "$500 Gaming PC", but actual budget limits through the years place the Gaming PC between $400-$650. However, above all, we value and judge it based on overall performance, not just games. As software (and thus our test suite) becomes more threaded.... I lose, every time, when I build a pure gamer, (unless my build is $600-650, and the mid price build is $1200-1300.) Which BTW is fine by me, I do not feel a need to win when I prioritize games over competing. For now, you just need to accept the fact this build was a "$600 Pure SBM PC" or more specifically a "$600 I'm gonna try to win the SBM PC", which still dumped $165 into high-value graphics, to remain very solid at gaming. Besides, most non-die-hard gamers prefer more CPU in their machines, even if MSAA must be turned down. i5-3350P+HD7850 is exactly the kind of platform (performance) balance many folks have asked me for.

Unless you are arguing that your build has a better chance to win this SBM than mine against $800 and $1000 Intel builds, then you are basically saying you just want to see an AMD-based gaming PC. Or, more specifically one that sports FX-6300 for better applications performance than a pure gaming pc. Sound right?

And as far as FX6300+HD7870. You are flirting with budget issues. That combo costs $35 more, without factoring additional power demands. Can you shave that from the mobo? If not you are over budget, plain and simple. We don't factor combos, promo codes, or mail in rebates. We simply are limited to Newegg's in cart prices, which are ones most likely to stay in tune weeks to a month down the road when you read the articles. That way, when you read the story, you should be able to match or beat our prices, as Newegg is always running promotional ways to save you money. However, I don't want to build a $600 PC that's $650+ to duplicate at series launch.

Next, how far will FX-6300 OC at stock voltage & cooled by the boxed cooler? Maybe 4.0 GHz all cores? Is that doing an AMD build justice or do I need to also factor an aftermarket cooler so I can bump voltage? More money into power, more into cooling, where is my savings going to come from to make this happen in budget? Is that doing a puring gaming PC justice when i3 performs as good/better, is cheaper, cooler, quieter, and requires less PSU? If not, can it ultimately win the SBM, or at least give me the best shot at winning? If no to both of those last ones, then why am I building such a rig? These are all serious questions I face when deciding the direction for a build. No matter what the platform, I want to represent it well. Whatever the system's goal, I want to do it as best as possible, every time, based on the prices/availability at my disposal.

See, I don't rule out building an FX next time, in fact after our builds were all pinned down, and All Intel i5, I shared my desire with the team that personally I'd like to do this all over with 3 AMD processors, at the same budgets. I myself could not justify FX as best this round, however I too want to see how FX will stack up, and how the bang/buck sweet spot may shift when we shift to AMD platforms. But I am one vote, and also the one who likely has the least to lose, so not sure if the guys would jump on that idea or not. Matter of fact I think the only one to respond to the notion was Chris, who doesn't build a rig, but is very active in the series none the less. Ultimately reader feedback will likely shape the next SBM. Want to see ALL AMD same budgets? Or perhaps some other idea? Then hit Thomas with constructive ideas on Day 4, when he wraps up this series. And I very well may do an AMD build, no matter, if I can justify it will compete well at the intended purpose. I just need a goal, and the ability to justify why my parts best took on that goal.

OK, I should be sleeping, and am checking out of these comments with this final huge post.In 3 hours, I'll be up again... and my focus needs to shift elsewhere. But thanks to all for the feedback and discussion. Hope you enjoy today's $1000 build and tomorrow's wrap-up! Cheers!
 
G

Guest

Guest
I woulda used a Core i3. It's still a big upgrade from the previous chip, but since most games don't benefit from Quad Core the i5 is mostly wasted. The core i3 woulda shaved 50 bucks, enough for 8 gigs of RAM or a better graphics card.
 
@outlander_04:
after reading comments from c.a.l.f.s, i decided to search newegg for a similarly priced amd rig. here's what i came up with:
amd fx 6300 - $140
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBXL - $30
ASRock 970 EXTREME3 AM3+ AMD 970 - $85 ($10 instant discount)
cm hyper 212 evo - $33 ($5 instant)
PowerColor PCS+ AX7870 2GBD5-2DHPPV3E Radeon HD 7870 MYST. Edition (Tahiti LE) - $240
corsair cx 600 v2 - $70 ($10 instant)
Corsair Carbide Series 200R - $60
seagate hdd barracuda 500 gb - $60
odd - $17-20
total - $700+
now, i chose 200r(highly subjective choice) because the powerhogs need good airflow and support for coolers to dissipate heat. you can choose a cheaper case but i think it'll still break budget. [strike]xig. asgard ii's specs say that it only has one exhaust fan and supports coolers with height less than 150mm.[/strike] edit: after re-checking, i cannot verify if cm hyper 212 evo would fit in the xig. asgard ii case or not. the width measurements say it should, but the website says that the case supports 150mm coolers. may be a clc like corsair h55/60 would fit.... :D
i would not use a cx430 with fx and tahiti. that's reckless and stupid. cx600 v2 is still not a good choice though, corsair upgraded that line with new psus afaik.
mobo is as cheap as the one in intel build. refutes the amd-favoring argument that amd boards offer much more. that's no longer true.
the powercolor myst card is out of stock at newegg. since you incessantly insisted on a 7870xt, so i added with it's listed price. going down to a 7870 or a 7850 will only make the current sbm i5 build look better. :)
ram is underspecced for fx, i did that to save money. fx supports ddr3 1866 while ivb supports 1600, still broke budget limit.
if you want to stay within limit, drop the cooler, get a cheaper, low watt psu (and take chance with reliability), get a worse case (and take chance with heat dissipation, stability, fitment and so on) - All tradeoffs.

if i've read the article right, this quarter's sbm's point was to Not drop 1080p gaming performance, instead add application performance to fight for best-bang-for-bucks crown.
if you'd actually read (you've repeatedly proved that you didn't or didn't understand those) some of the sbm articles, you'd know that games add only 30% of scores (60% in apps, 10% hdd perf) to the final tally. non gaming apps add majority amount of points to the final score. past $500 builds would underperform in apps but score high in games. this time, with added budget and a slightly different target, there was a chance to increase scores in the 60% apps performance without dropping 30% score in gaming. and this build successfully achieved that compared to previous quarter's build.
to summarize - they didn't drop 30% gaming score, instead aimed for raising the 60% app score. an fx 6300 or 4300 or core i3 wouldn't do that without trade offs.
here are the weaknesses of your fx6300 combo-
fx6300 is a 95w cpu, at stock settings. overclocked, it sucks power as much as it's octo-hog siblings.
7870xt is a 200w card, at stock settings.
corsair cx430 (not the v2 one? :D) psu.
amd 970 chipset motherboard.
the necessity of overclocking.

when you put them in a cheap case (no intake fan, yay!) with your 430w corsair psu, it'll leave almost no headroom for overclocking. amd motherboards usually suck more power on load than intel ones.
if you do consider overclocking, both fx and tahiti le gpu are huge powerhogs. there's no getting around that. those will dissipate huge amount of heat for the barely comparable performance that the intel build offers. the stock fx6300 will bottleneck the 7870xt in games like f1 (uses same engine as amd sponsored dirt games), let alone skyrim. far cry won't be that different either.
application performance difference would be closer than you think. if you look at last quarter's $1000 amd build and this q's $800 intel build, the i5 3570k easily keeps up with fx8350 in apps, especially with overclock. in gaming benches, the fx8350 bottlenecked the gtx670 to cases where the 3570k+ 7870xt could catch up and in other cases, come within a few fps.
wait.... your fx6300+970 mobo+7870xt+corsair cx430 combo doesn't allow for high oc, it doesn't even add a cpu cooler! but the i5(in current sbm build) can be partially overclocked(with intel stock cooler as it's rated for 77w or may be the older 95w tdp) as well as allow the 7870xt be overclocked. :D
you're also missing a decent cpu cooler for your fx6300. cooling a 69w cpu and a 95+ watt powerhog(far worse when overclocked) are two different endeavors.
also missing is a decent case with good airflow to exhaust all the hot air these hot messes will heat up.
like the others said, put together a full configuration instead of whining about components, staying within the budget limit. it will be a fascinating journey for you. :) my journey was predictable and underwhelming.
amd's oh-so-admired 'killer performance per dollar' advantage(!) fizzles when you compare build against build within a budget. i am not undermining piledriver fx. those offer good upgrades for existing amd owners and people who are willing to compromise.
 

Sakkura

Illustrious
I woulda used a Core i3. It's still a big upgrade from the previous chip, but since most games don't benefit from Quad Core the i5 is mostly wasted. The core i3 woulda shaved 50 bucks, enough for 8 gigs of RAM or a better graphics card.
For pure gaming, yes. For winning this all-around competition, not so much.

Besides, imagine if the guy who gets this build plays a lot of games, just not shooters. More money into the graphics card would be wasted, but the more powerful CPU would help in many games - MMOs for example.
 
[citation][nom]Stickmansam[/nom]Why is Canada not included in the draw? I want my rights you hear me! QQAFAIK there are no restrictions to contest stuff in Canada[/citation]


Our prices are usually cheaper for the core components so we win every day. On the other hand I spend a lot of time here so maybe they could pony up some canadian give aways? (not quebec) LOL jk
 
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