System Builder Marathon Q2 2015: $1600 Performance PC

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Looks like a solid build but the thing sticking out like such a sore thumb is that overpriced under performing cooler. May as well have paired that build with a $30 corsair cx builder psu.

For the same price as that cpu cooler the build could have easily supported the thermalright true spirit 140 power which is a much better cooler. Offering similar if not identical performance to the noctua nh-d14. $5 over the price of that hyper 612 so it wouldn't have blown the budget. If $5 blows a budget set for $1600 people need to rethink their priorities.


yeah, i'm with synphul. You should have tried to hunt down a Thermalright Macho HR-02 rev.b; it's about the same pricerange and a much better performer then that junk coolermaster. still great article.


Jun 28, 2015
In my opinion this is not really a gaming PC build (EDIT: I guess it is not supposed to be either, it would be nice to define what "Performance PC" means, though).
You would never settle for a 970 in a $1500 build. One could easily cut $200 from the cpu (i5-4590), $50 from the mainboard and $50 from the imo pointlessly expensive Samsung 850 for a regular 250gb ssd.
Put these additional $300 into the graphic card and you are in Radeon R9 fury or Geforce 980ti territory.
What use is any build if the purpose is not clear?


Jul 10, 2010

Interesting approach this time around. Eager to see the rest!


Apr 25, 2008
Article asks: "This month’s high-end build looks lighter than its predecessor, yet includes a six-core Haswell-E CPU. Will the shift away from graphics kill its gaming cred?" Yes. Yes it did. It cost nearly the same as the SLI machine, and was comparably terrible in gaming, and in exchange you got about a 5% increase in a few media/rendering apps. For the price, you almost could have built an equally fast rendering PC without a dedicated GPU, and a gaming PC with a nice graphics card. Toms articles over the past few years proved that once you get to a certain point, 99% of games don't get any benefit from faster CPU's, (look at the "best CPU for the money" articles). What was going on with this build? it seemed to have wandered from the original mission of a gaming PC, and into a 1600$ office PC that can unzip files slightly faster? This is bizarre and confusing.

Not to say I wouldn't want this PC if it were cheaper, but why spend so much to make it middle-of-the-road in everything?
Umm, maybe they got tired of the comments claiming a i7-5720K w/DDR4 and 6 cpus would crush the devil's canyon cpu, video heavy builds they usually spec.

I like the build variety. It's good to see data showing why a gaming system would never be built this way.
Exactly, it's not exclusively a gaming build. The majority of the build makes sense, the case is more or less personal preference and open to interpretation provided it still does the job and provides effective cooling. This particular case will support coolers over 200mm tall which makes it a perfect candidate for the taller and more effective true spirit 140 power without breaking the budget. For a gaming build I'd definitely work a 980 in there at this budget but the extra cores are beneficial to general performance and heavier workloads aside from gaming. The 970 is still more than adequate for much more than 'occasional' gaming though.

Each type of build will focus elsewhere depending on the specific intentions. There are a lot of editing and content creation type tasks as well as office work and other computing that requires little in the way of a gpu at all and instead may focus on a raid array or more ram. Or a gaming setup that will sacrifice those things for a bigger gpu. Still a solid build and a good article. That cooler just makes me think the rest of the build was complete and someone rummaged around in a bin of extras to find something to cool it and that's what they came up with.

It's not a terrible cooler but at $50 I would expect a better level of performance. The be quiet pure rock has better thermals and nearly equal sound levels for the price, literally. Scythe mugen 4 comes to mind (though newegg has just about the highest prices on it), raijentek themis evo etc. More of a personal preference, but the 612 v2 appears to have the same wonky retention system as the 212 evo as well. Hard to beat the true spirit 140 power at the $50 mark when given a case plenty wide to support it.


Oct 12, 2014
I do not understand why everyone goes with the wd blue 1tb, or baracuda.

I mean I find plenty of Hitachi 2tb for same prices, and they also have a lower fail rate percentage than those two also. (Hitachi was bought out from WD while back)
I'm willing to bet hitachi branded drives don't sell but maybe 1/10th or less of the volume than seagate or wd drives do also which can skew the results of fail percentages. They're not terrible drives. Samsung spinpoint were decent drives too. However the only 2tb model I found that was cheaper than the typical seagate or wd blue drives also was reviewed on tom's a mere 4+ years ago. Other places reviewed it nearly 5yrs ago. That was shortly after seagate's 7200.10 perpendicular recording method. Aka, it's old as dirt which is why it's low priced.

Not everyone goes with wd blue drives. I wasn't the one putting the system together but for a 'performance' pc with a budget heading closer to $2k I think I would've sprung for a wd black or wd re4 with a longer warranty and twice the cache as the wd blue. Both my systems run wd re4's. Blue's are more of the budget line for average desktops which see light to moderate use and may not be seeing 24/7 use.

I think I could have done a lot better for $1600 but my preferences aren't everyone's and this is still a solid build. Also unless I'm mistaken the tom's builds always go by newegg prices. The idea being, it's a realistic representation of a build that at that budget anyone can go to newegg and put that build together for that price as a one stop shop. Trouble is, newegg isn't the best price in town anymore. They used to be and sometimes they still have good value. It's nothing against their customer service or anything but it pays to shop around. The processor alone I could knock $100 off the build simply by going to a microcenter (which isn't possible for everyone if they don't live nearby). For $13 more than that 250gb 850 evo ssd costs through newegg I can go to amazon and get the 850 evo 500gb ssd. Going with the 250gb 850 evo I could shave another $40 off that build price.

Bottom line, by not simply shopping around newegg already costs nearly $150 more for the same build on just 2 components. Which is why I don't shop there exclusively anymore. That represents poor value to me when just two components of an entire build already put their customers paying a 10% price premium. Nothing value about it.


I think a good compromise in having a good CPU for CPU tasks and a GPU for gaming would be:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1231 V3 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($246.79 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock Z97 Anniversary ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($82.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 850 EVO-Series 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($108.36 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($47.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB ACX 2.0+ Video Card ($649.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Corsair 100R ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: EVGA 750W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($54.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $1331.08
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-06-28 20:13 EDT-0400

* Obviously probably a bit slower than the 6 core CPU in the article, but this would be a more affordable option, IMHO.
* GPU would be good for quite some time and it also would be good for higher resolutions, due to the 6 gb's of vRAM.


Apr 3, 2013
Although Thermaltake is taking a lot of flak at the moment, their non-invasive (to DIMM-slots) line of CPU coolers often go on sale for affordable prices:

Beyond that, the only thing I can thing of is a Raijintek solution.

But I would still go for the Thermalright.


290x CF at 4k is indead a better pick and it is cheaper. IMHO, 295x, 290x CF and 980 GTX SLI are the only choice for 4k.

One TI is not enough and a Titan is a waste of money.


I guess people are missing the point that this is the $1600 performance/productivity build not the $1600 gaming build to be featured in ARTICLE 3!
If it was the case, what in hell a case like that was chosen? Also, is the 200$ premnium over the CPU really going to make a difference?

Well to quote from the beginning of the article where this series is introduced!
1 $1600 Performance PC
2 $1600 Mini Performance PC
3 $1600 Gaming PC
4 $1600 Mini Gaming PC
5 System Value Compared



It'll do Minesweeper like no tomorrow (45,678 fps, FTW!)! Lol! I'd rather have an i3 with a GTX 970 than an i7 with the gtx 745!


Former Staff
It looks solid, and Newegg even lists a few of Thermalright's bigger models for a similar price. The only snag in the "Newegg supplies the parts, we give the machines away" agreement is that Newegg has to supply the parts. None of the Thermalright coolers on Newegg are actually carried by Newegg, and they won't pay for items shipped from a "partner".

Good looking out on the NiC C5 for $50, any idea how the NiC C4 at $45 or the NiC L32 at $38 compare?

You know that $400 piece of crap your Aunt bought? This should do everything 4x as well :p

Because I wanted a GOOD GPU cooler. And by good, I mean something that won't make the crap CPU cooler perform even worse by flooding the case with heat :) This will become even more critical in the small build where I'll use the same card.



Ahhh that makes sense. I don't know if you listed that information in the build criteria, but maybe that should be a bit more prominent in the future??


Nov 15, 2010
Aren't all X99 mobo out'n out boned for CPU coolers? There's, like, the TrueSpirit 140, this 612, and then there's closed-loops, and jack-all between.
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