System Builder Marathon, Q1 2014: The $2400 People’s Choice PC

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Darkerson

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Interesting move, showing the nicest build 1st instead of last. Cant wait to see all the builds compared and see what you all come up with as the budget goes down.
 

Crashman

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Yessir, two 780s and a bit of experience in part picking lead me to expect around 700W of required system power. And, it came out just a little less than 700W.

Power supplies of greater capacity and similar reliability at this price tend to be lower-efficiency units. And we like efficiency too.

 

Crashman

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It's not calculated power, it's measured power for the entire system (at the power plug). No addition or subtraction was used.

1.) Start the system, wait for all processes to load, take a measurement (Active, but idle)
2.) Load the CPU using eight thread of AVX-optimized Prime95, take a reading (CPU Load).
3.) Load GPUs with 3DMark 11 Test 1 in loop, take max reading as it heats up (GPU Load).
4.) Load both applications (CPU+GPU Load).

The "math problem" is that any program used to fully load the GPU also partly loads the CPU. So when test 4 is Prime95+3DMark, Prime95 can only use whatever CPU resources are left with 3DMark running.

So the most accurate system power reading is with "CPU+GPU Load" applied. The system measurement for "CPU Load" still includes the power of an idle GPU. And the system power measurement for "GPU Load" still includes the amount of CPU energy it takes to run the GPU's test application.
 

YellowBee

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Very much appreciated and satisfying answer.
Thanks Crashman :)
 

bemused_fred

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It's not calculated power, it's measured power for the entire system (at the power plug). No addition or subtraction was used.1.) Start the system, wait for all processes to load, take a measurement (Active, but idle)2.) Load the CPU using eight thread of AVX-optimized Prime95, take a reading (CPU Load).3.) Load GPUs with 3DMark 11 Test 1 in loop, take max reading as it heats up (GPU Load).4.) Load both applications (CPU+GPU Load).The "math problem" is that any program used to fully load the GPU also partly loads the CPU. So when test 4 is Prime95+3DMark, Prime95 can only use whatever CPU resources are left with 3DMark running.So the most accurate system power reading is with "CPU+GPU Load" applied. The system measurement for "CPU Load" still includes the power of an idle GPU. And the system power measurement for "GPU Load" still includes the amount of CPU energy it takes to run the GPU's test application.
Any chance of including these calculations in all future articles, so that we know exactly how the power graph is calculated? Ta.
 

Crashman

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Which calculations?

 

Sparky4688

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I like the new focus and high end review first. This build mirrors my own approach except I don't play games so save on multi-GPU costs and no need to water cool as no overclocking either – stability is key to me. My similarly parted machine in November less the water cooling and multi-GPU cost almost $800-900 less after rebates. Can you add sound/noise dB monitoring and include in results? Multimedia machines and home office machines need to account for noise.
 

Sparky4688

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I like the new focus and high end review first. This build mirrors my own approach except I don't play games so save on multi-GPU costs and no need to water cool as no overclocking either – stability is key to me. My similarly parted machine in November less the water cooling and multi-GPU cost almost $800-900 less after rebates. Can you add sound/noise dB monitoring and include in results? Multimedia machines and home office machines need to account for noise.
 

Treynolds416

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I enjoyed the article very much, and I appreciate the new direction you're going in for gaming value. However, you don't need to mention that the prices of the 290 spiked last year. Seriously, we get it and you only need to say it once or twice instead of seven or so. Aside from that, still a very informative and well-thought out article
 

bigstonebang

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When can we expect to see Tom's switch over to 4K gaming benchmarks? This build should be able to handle it and I want to keep tabs on both hardware and driver updates.Furthermore I think it is safe to say an enthusiast that is going to buy a multi-monitor setup probably already has one, but there are probably other like me that are waiting for reasonably priced hardware to be capable of handling 4K before buying a new monitor. Even though I haven't seen a 4K monitor that preforms like a "next Gen" technology should.Also now that Tom's has been very though covering multi-monitor resolutions I understand (and I hope other readers do as well) how they typically scale.I don't want to be a jerk I'm just trying to ask for an ETA, and if I don't ask, how will you know what I want?
 

CaptainTom

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^ An i5 with a 780 Ti? Come on you are asking to be bottle-necked! I bet you were one of the people that kept advocating a Pentium + 660 a couple years ago when people mistakenly thought dual cores would be the standard forever...
 

redgarl

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As much as I agree about the surge in AMD GPUs, right now newegg is offering the PC 290x pcs+ for 579$ with BF4. It's barely 30$ above the retail price of a non custom heatsink version.You paid for those 780 GTX. I can have those for the same price in CAD$.
 

Drejeck

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I'd throw through the windows that ODD unit. CDs are obsolete, people using CDs are obsolete, go back in 2005. Storage solutions are weak but this is a gaming machine. No good audio solution means you are going to use an external DSP and no good headset. I'd spend less on graphics and much more on music/audio. But I spent 2500 euros on my stereo, and 4000 on my PC. Stereo systems for audiophiles last much longer and never get obsolete. Investing a lot on graphics may leave you behind when new technologies come, and we have to be aware of diminishing return.
 
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