System Builder Marathon Q1 2015: Our Mainstream Enthusiast PC

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Dear God, why another junk Compucase PSU?

And why a PNY SSD? Save the packaging for that. You will need it for RMA.

With a budget that large there is no room for parts with high failure rates.


May 2, 2006
Waiting for the day one of you SBM folks take your panties off and skips the optical drive.

We have reached the day and age where optical drives are really not necessary and just eat into budget for more useful things.


Jun 7, 2012
I think cpu I5 K whill do the same job for gamer and least expensive :)
This motherboard color is so ugly ( same color 1985 pc ) and all the component except for memory . Just look inside the computer depress me
Given the power numbers (which I think you know enough to have anticipated), even a 450W Rosewill Capstone would have sufficed. I just don't see an EVGA "B" series making it into an enthusiast build; ever.
I also really don't like seeing 1.65V RAM. Perhaps 1.6V, but allowing for how different motherboards may tweak RAM for stability, already running at 1.65V seems like more of a risk to the Intel IMC than is worthwhile. I'd really prefer to keep at the standard 1.5V.


Dec 27, 2014
Nice gains with the i7 and 970, but honestly, the i7 was a waste. The GTX 970 is a landmark achievement for GPUs. Extremely high 1080p performance, good 1440p performance, and reasonable 4k performance, all while 145w and $350. I know it's not really 4gb, but 3.5 is a huge step up from 2gb from the past years.

The next great card will be the one that does 4k well at a reasonable price and power usage.


Like others have said, the costs on page 1 don't add up.

I'm not going to complain about the i7. There's arguments for and against choosing one over an i5 depending on the computer's designed purpose.

I agree with Onus. 1.65V RAM does make me a little uncomfortable on an Intel platform, especially when you can get 1.5V modules for the same price.

I've been looking for a good test bench chassis and have seen a few recommendations to use the HAF XB for one. I might consider one.

And to everyone complaining about the optical drive, relax. It's not robbing money away from CPUs or GPUs so it's not like you can use that money toward faster bench scores.

Math Geek

i use this case as well and freaking love it. more room than you can ever want and once opened up there is nothing you can't get to real quick. not sure about portable lan use since it is so big but as a test bench i have seen nothing like it for such a low price. does have a weird footprint and is HUGE but once you start filling it up, it quickly wins you over. just throw out the hdd hot swap thingy for the front bays and you're good to go. that thing is a hdd killer like i have never seen. would love to see the i5-4690k thrown back in to see exactly what difference it makes with the same 970 overclocked. but overall, it is a good build anyone here will be lucky to win. if you hate the psu, then by all means by a new one. not a huge expense considering the system would be FREE to whoever wins it.


Apr 2, 2013
Please, please, please put the charts back in line! It is so much easier to scroll than use these terrible charts.

Nice change-up on the case. I'm not crazy about the looks, but easy access is a nice value add. If you have the desk space, you don't even need to move it to get inside and tinker.


Sep 28, 2013
Could have used the leftover money to get a better mobo (like the extreme 3)
Also why the heck is that psu used? Doesn't make any sense in a $1000( or where abouts) build.


Feb 26, 2015
Wow, THW needs to fire this guy ASAP.

1. CASE. Why choose something 2x bigger than necessary (no SLI, no water cooling, no A/V mixers, no RAID array...) Do you have gorilla fists?

2. PSU. How does an enthusiast machine only have 2 PCI power connections? This bottleneck makes all the interior space even more useless.

3. SSD. An obviously terrible choice to anyone familiar with SSD products or the storage demands of an enthusiast machine.

4. CPU. Not altogether terrible, but only a very small segment of even the biggest PC enthusiasts benefit from the hyperthreading, and even then, only for fairly limited purposes. The other choices make this a terrible multimedia workhorse (limited PCI connections, SSD storage, a/v interfaces, and the absence of a dedicated A/V processor).

5. BLU-RAY BURNER. More wasted $. Unless of course, you're selling bootlegged videos on the street.

The 970 is about the only thing you got right. But a monkey could tell you that the 970 is the best choice for an enthusiast machine. (Well, truthfully, a 290x is probably a better value, but if you go with 2 cards, it's hard to beat the quality of 970 SLI). So yeah, you even got this wrong.


Don't hold back, tell us how you really feel.

The money on the case doesn't take away from money for the performance parts. What's so bad about a spacious, easy to work in case? Not everyone likes cramped quarters and you don't have to fill a larger case to the brim to justify having it.

Considering the top-of-the-line GTX 980 only requires two cables, why is this a problem? What twin-GPU solution will outperform a 980 for the same money? What two GPUs can even beat a 970 or 290X for the same money? For a single, non-4K display, two PCIe leads are plenty.

I'm somewhat in agreement here. I would've liked to see a more known quantity here, something by Samsung, Crucial, Kingston, Mushkin, Patriot, or A-Data would've been preferred. Still, even the slowest SSD is still much faster than a spindle.

The exact same arguments can be said against SLI/CFX, which you're so adamant about supporting.

Like the case, the BD doesn't steal any money away.


Sep 29, 2010
For $1,300 why am I getting a $90 motherboard, $55 PSU (not even a B2) and a $320 CPU? This rig does not need an i7. Save that for the high end build. This rig needs a 4690K, A real board with features like an MSI Gaming 5, Asus Z97A or comparable and a real PSU. The 750w semi mod B2 series from EVGA is is made by superflower and only $30 more than you current selection. Couple that with the $50 for a better board and you are still knocking $20 off your budget.

I don't mean to gripe but I am getting rather tired of seeing the SBM's reduced to a competition of who can slap together the fastest piece of junk humanly possible. I know you strive for value but in my book value means more than out right performance, it means quality as well.


Mar 13, 2013
How about running the same set up and tests with a 4690K just for kicks so that the difference in the two processors is blatantly obvious.


Jun 23, 2014
The 970 strix is sweet and quiet. The 4790k is great for non gaming and will be better in gaming than a 4690k with dx12. I already turn down water reflections and sometimes draw distances if my framerate goes down as my 4770k at 4.7g,1.3v does sometimes bottleneck my system.
This build has improved a lot more than normal.
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