System Builder Marathon, Q2 2014: Our Enthusiast PC

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BilinearCheese

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I have to say guys, that enthusiast level build is terrible. Apevia case? Turbo Duo 290? NO SSD? Come on. For 16 bucks less I put together a system WITH an SSD, a decent case, a much better 290, and a better motherboard/cpu cooler. Hell, I even managed to get a color scheme together for it as well:

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/FRyNgs

[Answer by Cleeve:]

"Terrible" = same CPU, cooler, graphics card, and equal benchmark performance?

The case we chose really doesn't matter, as the first page of article points out. Case/optical drive is completely subjective. That's exactly why we've separated the performance parts price from case/optical/OS.
By the way, are you just assuming Apevia its bad because you prefer other well-known brands? It did a fantastic job for the purposes of this article, so other than brand, what's your issue with it? Is brand the same problem you have with the 290? Because it's cooler is quite good.
Speaking of coolers, the Hyper 212 EVO is virtually the 212 plus with a different fan. Is this really the huge difference you're implying it is?

You're also specing it out two months after we did, with lower prices. An SSD would have been great, but two months ago when we ordered there was no room in the budget, and we weren't willing to sacrifice the 290.

Bottom line, you're being a little sensationalist about picking nits.
 

itzsnypah

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When overclocking the CPU are you leaving the uncore coupled to the core multiplier or uncoupled and set at x34/36? You averaging nearly 1.3v for only 4.3Ghz is very poor.
 
G

Guest

Guest
I have to question the need for Z97 mobo. If you go with the Haswell and not the Haswell update and you do not include M.2 SSD, then why go with Z97? If you are choosing the Z97 to have a upgrade path, you should also go for the Devil's Canyon cpu. Budget-wise it is a really bad idea to even think about going for D.C. Haswell chip later on.

The ssd gives you an easily felt sensation of speed every time you boot. Just got an ssd myself like 2 months ago. Any other go-fast parts come secondary. Ditch the Z97 and the ODD and you could squeeze in a SSD.
 

BilinearCheese

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@BilinearCheese. I believe all parts for these toms' builds have to be from Newegg. So, try building that way.
How is this the best suggested build for the money if you're only locking it to one retailer? That's...kinda silly
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Editor
@BilinearCheese. I believe all parts for these toms' builds have to be from Newegg. So, try building that way.
How is this the best suggested build for the money if you're only locking it to one retailer? That's...kinda silly
Because if we get all our parts from Newegg, it's Newegg's money? Because, when Newegg pays for the parts, we can afford to give the entire systems away?
:p
 
Because if we get all our parts from Newegg, it's Newegg's money? Because, when Newegg pays for the parts, we can afford to give the entire systems away?
:p
No one will ever question your parts selection ever again!! Maybe add a side note on price page that all parts are from/ must be bought on Newegg.
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Editor
All newegg, still cheaper with better components:

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/pj7bCJ

What's the next rule, no rebates?
No mail-in rebates because they usually disappear before we can publish and, because when you have $100 you can't buy a $149 part that has a $50 MIR :)

Instant rebates and sales are fine because when the discount on one part disappears, the discount on another part appears.

BTW, I like the look of your case. I never understood what the deal was with don and ugly cases, but he's Canadian so I know better than to ask.
 

BilinearCheese

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No mail-in rebates because they usually disappear before we can publish and, because when you have $100 you can't buy a $149 part that has a $50 MIR :)

Instant rebates and sales are fine because when the discount on one part disappears, the discount on another part appears.
Even with that in mind, my second build without rebates totals 1178. Changing the motherboard to a z87 Extreme3 (because z97 isn't a benefit if you're not going for haswell refresh or an ssd) and it's 3 bucks more than the build listed.
 

Crashman

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I like the Z87. I'm the guy who said that Z97 isn't a new chipset, it's at best a new stepping of Z87.

 

BilinearCheese

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I like the Z87. I'm the guy who said that Z97 isn't a new chipset, it's at best a new stepping of Z87.
The chipset isn't my concern to be honest. It's the idea that it's a sub par 290, no SSD, and a weaker cooler than you could fit into that budget.
 

mapesdhs

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There does appear to be one additional advantage of Z97, at least in the
UK anyway, namely pricing for equivalents boards seems to be slightly
lower. Recently, before the Z97 launch, I was looking into options for a
combined HTPC/mini-gaming build; the ASUS board I found (forget the
model offhand) was about 130 UKP. The 'replacement' Z97 equivalent
(Z97I-Plus) is about 15 cheaper. A small saving one might say, but
often these amounts are cited as being critical in these SBMs.

Ian.

 


You need to read the article. This current build Q2 2014 cost $986/$1166 whereas the Q1 2014 one had a higher budget of $1450/$1713. This new build is $460 less.
 

alexandrosgr

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Wow, I'm surprised I missed that. Thanks !
 

Adroid

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Sorry I'm gonna have to argue the methodology here a little. The Enthusiast build is always my favorite read of the trio of Tom's Sys Builder marathons for the following reasons:

The entry level machine is never worth the money due to lack of future proofing, and the high-end system is past the point of reason, which I personally wouldn't waste money on even if I had an extra couple thousand laying around.

My critiques :

* Running memory at 1333 is an obvious bottleneck, even if it's small, it's measurable enough to be significant. I can't understand what you stand to prove by bottlenecking the system with the RAM. It's well understood that 1600 mhz DDR3 is the "entry" level for i5 systems.
* The change in dollar value was unwarranted haha. This is just my one opinion, but an extra 200-500$ goes a long way at this sector, because the 1200$ price point allows more into the GPU/CPU which makes a huge performance bump.

I'm just trying to give my constructive criticism because it's an exciting article to read and see what selection of core components for the 1200-1500 range can win out. This article you shaved 500$ off the build and the article suffers as a result because it has no chance to compete with last quarter's build, and thereby defeats the purpose of the article (I speak for myself).
 

Traciatim

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No one will argue against a 1500 dollar machine will perform better than a 1000 dollar machine and the budgets for these builds was getting pretty crazy.

For example, an SSD is really just a luxury item that doesn't actually change the performance of applications or games all that much once they are loaded, so it's probably one of the bests value items to cut out if you are on a budget and want the best performance per dollar. It's also one of the best things to spend extra money on to make your machine feel snappy because things start when you click on them.

For the last round the mid range PC came in at $1459, but it was a 4770k and a 780ti. That's pretty much the top stuff you can possibly buy at the time without getting in to specialized situations. How is that in any way challenging to design a mid range system... or in fact, how is it even a mid range system?
 

Onus

Titan
Moderator
I'm not going to niggle specific pricing, because that always varies, month to month. If a "better" R9 290 was available for less now, it may not have been then.
But...
Apevia is on my personal "Do Not Buy" list. What was your impression of the material quality on this one? To me it looked garish; that side panel has "cheesy" all over it. The one Apevia case I bought years ago was a great design (fit/finish was good too), but the material quality and QC on it were so bad I ended up tossing it into the grabbage after a couple months of fighting with a front panel grounding issue. While not as bad as the Chokemax case you tried a year or so ago, this is the second time you've gone with a cheap case, and I understand the ire it has provoked.
The specific models have varied over the months and years, but I have never been unable to find a 120mm tower cooler offering similar performance to the Hyper212 EVO that was not notably cheaper (e.g. $8-$15); I might lose 1C on cooling, but gain a notch up somewhere else that will make a bigger difference. I'm not saying it is a bad cooler (I accept that it is not), but I don't know why so many people parrot a model that is such a bang/buck Loser.
Even un-stressed, IMHO the Corsair "CX" with its inferior Samxon capacitors is not a valid choice for an enthusiast build.
I hope this lays to rest the idea that an "enthusiast" build can skip the SSD.
I like the pricing calculation changes, and the lowered budgets. Insofar as it affects cooling though, I think it would be good to include the case in the "Performance Parts" category, and count it against the "Performance" budget.

*smashes head against desk* Hit wrong button; this should be two votes higher than it is. - SS
 

lp231

Splendid
I have to question the need for Z97 mobo. If you go with the Haswell and not the Haswell update and you do not include M.2 SSD, then why go with Z97? If you are choosing the Z97 to have a upgrade path, you should also go for the Devil's Canyon cpu. Budget-wise it is a really bad idea to even think about going for D.C. Haswell chip later on.

The ssd gives you an easily felt sensation of speed every time you boot. Just got an ssd myself like 2 months ago. Any other go-fast parts come secondary. Ditch the Z97 and the ODD and you could squeeze in a SSD.
Since when does getting a z97 board means you have to pair up with a Devil's Canyon CPU? Z97 can be pair up with any 1150 cpu as long as it's with your budget. Also others get the latest chipset is for newer technology like SATA Express and M.2. If you don't see the need, it doesn't means others won't need it or either.
The Z9 in this smb is one of the cheap one. There is not much you can save by getting a z87 board, to squeeze in a ssd.
 

aylafan

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I would separate the OS from the Case and Optical and do another Total Cost like in the Budget article.

The Corsair CX power supply is pretty horrible for $90. You can find much better ones on Newegg.com like XFX, Seasonic or even a higher-quality Corsair power supply at that cost.

I think the case you chose is atrocious, but it's all personal preference. I would've gone with a case from Corsair, Fractual Design, etc.

Also, I would've expected a SSD drive for a mainstream enthusiast build, but you explained why you didn't include one in your article.
 

mapesdhs

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I don't agree with that at all; for many the loading times with mechanicals are painful. I upgraded my
brother's P55 system with a Samsung 840 250GB; compared to his old 1TB SATA (Samsung F3),
the loading time for the game he loves to play the most was cut from 3 minutes down to barely 20
seconds, and the in-game level loading times, stutters and other issues were virtually eliminated.
He was delighted (system is an Asrock P55 Deluxe, i7 870 @ 4.0, 16GB @ 1866, GTX 460 SLI 800MHz).
For those still using SATA2-based systems, and SSD helps a lot more than one might expect.

For me, it made a major difference to the loading speed and in-game smoothness of games like
Crysis, Stalker, Oblivion, FC2, etc. (128GB Vertex4 C-drive, 256GB Vertex4 for game data).
I do a lot of benchmarking and now have about 50 SSDs. Recently I obtained a particular
AMD CPU which meant I had to use one of the few boards I'd not yet changed from a rust-
spinner; waiting for Windows to boot, updates to install, apps to start, watching the
stuttering in benchmarks & suchlike really was painful. Moving the setup onto a 60GB
Vertex2E is now on my to-do list. :}

Looking back, I don't know how I put up with the slowness and poor latency of mechanical drives.
I don't regard SSDs as a luxury at all. The only thing that's annoying about them is the way prices
for smaller capacities are much higher than one might expect based on the cost of (say) a 256GB
version, eg. 256GB Sandisk Ultra Plus = 107 UKP, 128GB = 55 (just about sensible), but the 64GB
is 44 which is nuts. The Crucial MX100 is another typical example: 256GB = 75, 128GB = 55 (too
high). If 128GB SSDs dropped to 35 to 40 and stayed there, their rate of adoption would skyrocket.

I guess people are just willing to pay amounts high enough to sustain the pricing as it is, an effect
which used sales on eBay seem to support, I've seen normal bidding for used midrange 240GB/256GB
SSDs go over 100 which is bizarre.

Annyway, to summarise: SSDs a luxury? No. :)

Ian.

 

pauldh

Illustrious

It's there, just not clogging up space on page one. Check the Test Configuration page. It specifies the parts and settings (stock/oc) used for both machines.

For this story... Page 6, second table down, should give you what you seek.
 
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