System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: $800 Enthusiast PC

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mayankleoboy1

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[citation][nom]itzsnypah[/nom]I Think you guys need to rethink your testing methodology. Currently PSUs, Cases and DVD Burners only detract from the overall performance score. Which is evident by you guys choosing the cheapest possible (within reason) every time.A serious overhaul in overall performance computation is needed.[/citation]

The aim is to get a fully working, start-to-finish computer system. This is not a review of the i5-3570K or the HD7870LE.
 

ojas

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Promise me Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite and Sleeping Dogs in the next SBM. The present gaming suite is kind of becoming a bit old.

Why not also use those 150 mods on Skyrim and see which rig runs it with a minimum of 45 fps at 1080p?

Will Thomas compare his build to last quarter's $1000 AND $2000 build? Seems sensible that he should...
 

th3anyk3y

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So I'd really love to see these builds with a Windows 7/8 License. I never build computers without them and unless we are advocating less legal means this should be a staple on every machine.
And to cut off the haters at the pass, very few people use Linux on anything that is considered to be a "Enthusiast\Gaming Machine" if you do you are one of the few.
But i leaving out such a core part (and an expensive one at that) is really misconstruing the builds.
 
[citation][nom]Th3AnyK3y[/nom]So I'd really love to see these builds with a Windows 7/8 License. I never build computers without them and unless we are advocating less legal means this should be a staple on every machine. And to cut off the haters at the pass, very few people use Linux on anything that is considered to be a "Enthusiast\Gaming Machine" if you do you are one of the few.But i leaving out such a core part (and an expensive one at that) is really misconstruing the builds.[/citation]

These are hardware budgets. It's to common to include software costs in the hardware budget. The OS is not a "part" and thus it is not treated like one. Besides, even assuming that we don't have a Windows key handy (most of us have one or several), we can get one or we can legally not use one. There's no need to turn to illegal activity to use a Windows system for free. MS provides copies for free all the time. You usually can't get a key for them for free unless you're a college student or know a student, but you don't need the key to use the system anyway.
 

caamsa

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I like it when you all do builds, but again you are going sky high on the CPU and GPU with no focus on having a balanced machine. It is like you took the 600 build and added a faster GPU and CPU.
 
[citation][nom]caamsa[/nom]I like it when you all do builds, but again you are going sky high on the CPU and GPU with no focus on having a balanced machine. It is like you took the 600 build and added a faster GPU and CPU.[/citation]

Except for the low capacity hard drive, it seems fairly balanced to me. What do you think is wrong with it?
 

caamsa

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[citation][nom]blazorthon[/nom]Except for the low capacity hard drive, it seems fairly balanced to me. What do you think is wrong with it?[/citation]

One big problem I see is the hard drive. Only one hard drive? Does anyone run a single drive anymore? 500 gigs? I can fill that up with games in a week. Needs a larger drive and a back up drive and maybe a small SSD to run the OS. Save on the CPU, not sure why they did not use the i3 in the 600 build. I guess the video card is ok but 230 is a big chunk of change. I would like to see a more realistic build. When I buy a case I go for some thing that I will like I don't usually go for the cheapest. Also if they are going just for cheap with gaming power they could have gone cheaper but again that is like putting a Chevy big block in a Yogo. Fast as hell but still looks like crap and has very few options.
 

Onus

Titan
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Please do not take this as fault-finding, or saying something is "wrong" with the build, but for my personal use, I'd much rather start with parts similar to those in the $600 build and then add a 128GB-256GB SSD. It isn't that my build would be "better;" it would be "different" (although I'd consider it better for me).
As good as games look these days, if the game is fun, it's going to remain fun on lowered settings; for my uses I'd much rather have the SSD. I realize, however, that such a machine would be clobbered in most benchmarks, and therefor is not likely to appear in the SBM.
 

th3anyk3y

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[citation][nom]blazorthon[/nom]These are hardware budgets. It's to common to include software costs in the hardware budget. The OS is not a "part" and thus it is not treated like one. Besides, even assuming that we don't have a Windows key handy (most of us have one or several), we can get one or we can legally not use one. There's no need to turn to illegal activity to use a Windows system for free. MS provides copies for free all the time. You usually can't get a key for them for free unless you're a college student or know a student, but you don't need the key to use the system anyway.[/citation]

These are "System Builder" budgets and if I want to build a system I'm pretty sure I'll need an OS. I can also pull my 7850 out of my current machine to build a new one, doesn't mean I won't include the actual cost on a hypothetical build to be submitted for anyone to build. And the OS is most certainly a "part" of every machine. Everything required to make the machine work should be included. I understand we could just adjust the budget to $950 or say exclude OS, but I can't seem to see that written anywhere. Maybe I'm being a dick about grammar on all this but when I read System Builder as some can go out and build a system for $800.

I just know if someone said can you build me this $800 machine I saw on Tom's hardware I'd have to say, "Well it's actually 950 with an OS", and then get a real disappointed look. The system builder needs to be a little more realistic for what it is trying to accomplish.
 

TeraMedia

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Frankly I find this quarter's SBMs to be amazing so far. The $600 machine achieved almost TWICE the performance of the $500 in some circumstances, and certainly improved by more than the necessary 20% where it matters. This $800 machine approaches and sometimes bests the performance of last quarter's $1000 machine for 20% less. I would happily welcome either build onto my home network if I win, with few if any changes beyond a couple of small item upgrades.
 

th3anyk3y

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I also need years of education, let's include university and go right off the rails. But my computer doesn't do very much without an operating system. If you build enough computers and you start pricing things out, the last thing i usually forget about is the OS. And i know how mad I am when i include it and realize how much is effects the price of everything. To exclude it in a quote or recommendation is irresponsible. I, like i think most people, think the operating system is an integral part of every system. Whether the SBM should have it included is up to the Tom's but my 2 cents think it should.
 

TeraMedia

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@th3anyk3y:

I hear your perspective, but the fact is that this exact discussion has taken place about 3 times every 3 months for the past couple of years at least. The decision could conceivably go either way. THG has chosen to go the route of excluding the O/S, has documented this, has provided their reasons, and most of the rest of us have accepted that decision and moved on. Unless you have something radical and new to add - such as Win 8 Pro giving 50% better performance than Win 8 on systems with >4 cores - you're just rehashing a very old and tired discussion. I'm too old and too tired to rehash old and tired discussions.
 

caamsa

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[citation][nom]tourist[/nom]I have not used more than 1 hd for years, that is what my 5tb nas server is for.[/citation]

And how much did that cost you?
 

Onus

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I've bought at least half a dozen ASRock boards. Only one died. I had obtained it second hand, and without warranty, but even so ASRock replaced it (a $150 board) for a mere $50.
I'm a little perturbed by how thin they are. I'm concerned that their VRMs could be better, and some of their marketing claims about them are clearly exaggerated: http://www.overclock.net/t/1333812/asrock-z77-extreme4-z77-extreme6-review
Still, my own experiences with them have been positive, so I will likely continue to buy them.
 

caamsa

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[citation][nom]bluebooger[/nom]so according to you, it would be a better computer if it had another hard drive, but a worse cpu and a worse gpu ? lol[/citation]

So you would rather have one HD and then have it crash and loose all your stuff......? Also I never said get rid of the GPU but I think the CPU is over kill and the GPU over priced. So I guess you would build this really cool system with an all powerful CPU/GPU combo and put it in a card board box? ;-P
 

Onus

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I think it is always necessary to look at the stated purposes for which a system is built. Someone with a NAS, or another machine as backup, might go all out on a GPU for Ultra settings, and get just one [smallish] HDD. Someone else might be willing to play on only medium-high settings in order to afford a SSD and/or a RAID1 pair. Someone busy converting his father's old video library might want an i7; now take a look at the $500 build from either 6 or 9 months ago, that sacrificed the CPU down to a Celeron in order to get a HD7950. It played [most] games on excellent settings, which was its intent, but gave up a LOT of performance elsewhere.
 

boulbox

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Wow.... This guy could have done way better for the money.

The Mobo can't even SLI/CFX so there is pretty much no point into getting an OC-able CPU.

Could have gone for cheaper DIMMs

Get a better CPU heatsink for $15(since i am saying to go a non-OC CPU i would go with Zalman performa)

like $10 more for double the GB on the HDD

 

Crashman

Polypheme
Editor
[citation][nom]silverblue[/nom]?Will Thomas compare his build to last quarter's $1000 AND $2000 build? Seems sensible that he should...[/citation]It would have been nice, except for a couple minor benchmark changes that made this 3-way comparison impossible. The old $2000 PC was shipped to the contest winner before it could be re-benchmarked...the old $1000 PC was re-benchmarked but didn't have one of the $2000 PC's original benchmarks...that comparison is just fubar in a couple places.

However! If you look at the old $2000 vs $1000 results (previous day-4 roundup), and compare the performance differences between the new $1000 and old $2000 PC (tomorrow's system) you can come up with a solid answer. Sorry about the extra work.
 

XZaapryca

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[citation][nom]mayankleoboy1[/nom]This would have been correct for a "$800 Gaming PC" . But for a "$800 Enthusiast PC " , a SSD is a must. Even a 64GB, lower end SSD would have been OK.[/citation]
Tom's has tested this before:

SSD's don't count for much when FPS matters. While loading time is greatly increased, my Agility4 256gb didn't improve frame rates one bit. In a quest for FPS, the savings of staying HDD over SSD would be better put to use toward a better GPU.
 

maxalge

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[citation][nom]boulbox[/nom]Wow.... This guy could have done way better for the money.The Mobo can't even SLI/CFX so there is pretty much no point into getting an OC-able CPU.Could have gone for cheaper DIMMsGet a better CPU heatsink for $15(since i am saying to go a non-OC CPU i would go with Zalman performa)like $10 more for double the GB on the HDD[/citation]


Since when do you need cfx/sli to take advantage of OC'ing a cpu?

Getting a cpu that can overclock is simply the better choice period, since there are a lot of things out there that benefit TREMENDOUSLY from having an overclocked processor.
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Editor
[citation][nom]tourist[/nom]I think based on your above post you would agree a standardized set of benchmarks needs to be cemented into Toms Reviews.[/citation]It kind of is, sometimes we just have to repair the cement :) SBM dropped a game last year, the high-end PC kept it. SBM added a game this quarter. Don and Paul were able to retest their previous systems with the new game before they were shipped. End result, this-quarter's high-end PC gets tested with the old game and the new game, with old-game results on its "build day" and new-game results on "comparison day".

The only problems are that the old $1000 PC didn't get tested with the old game, and the old $2000 PC didn't get tested with the new game. It's a minor issue, but means that the old $1000 PC, new $1000 PC, and old $2000 PC can only be compared in overall performance. That means manually comparing last quarter's "System Value" charts with this quarter's "$1000 PC" charts. Once again, sorry for the inconvenience: Tom's Hardware tries to keep these benchmarks consistent but occasionally caves in to reader-recommended changes.
 

Sakkura

Illustrious

The motherboard can run Crossfire in x16/x4 mode.
 
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