System Builder Marathon Q3 2015: Prosumer PC

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RedJaron

Splendid
You fit in a Skylake CPU? Bravo, sir!

A portmanteau combining "Professional" and "Consumer" usually describing the type of person that gets paid for a hobby. Someone who has requirements beyond that of the typical consumer, but not so high as a dedicated professional.

Read the whole article. It's explained there.
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff


Wow, and you pulled out portmanteau? Bravo to you, sir! And to everyone in the stadium, welcome to the first onstage meeting of Tom's Hardware Mutual Admiration Society.
 

chalabam

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Sep 14, 2015
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Any money spend in a DVD burner is money wasted.

You shouldn't buy a DVD burner until you actually need it.

Most software is either downloadable, or stored on HD, or capable of being copied to a USB stick.
 

Neat-O man

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There should be a bargain prosumer that hits all the check marks. I built a FX-8320e @4.5Ghz (very small voltage bump, max 54c after two hours of prime95) with a Cooler Master HYPER T4, 16GB ddr3 1866 cas 9, 850 EVO 250GB ssd, TWO Toshiba 2TB drives in soft RAID-1 (smart UPS is a must in that case), EVGA 430 watt PSU, 750 Ti (over clocks like a monster), and last... Cooler Master Silencio 352. $800 with tax (before OS). It is used for simple Photoshop and business things, honestly... over kill

Yeah, even with AMD CPU lol... but holy carp was i surprised when i overclocked the FX-8320e compared to a FX-8320 i did three years ago when it came out. Runs super cool and stable for an AMD chip.
 

Neat-O man

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That's true.. ish. What if you have some specialized software that you can't find anymore and you only have the CD/DVD that you forgot to transfer to pure digital... than a $15 investment isn't such a bad idea. And a well stored CD/DVD that you did NOT make yourself (pressed in a factory) or M-Disc will outlast most HDD/SSD drives because of bit rot, unless you have a good ZFS setup and swap out the drives when necessary.
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
Not for most people using this for their first build. The winner might even be in that position, as stated in the article.

Please don't let those annoying facts get in the way of your eloquently-expressed opinion :)

On the other hand, we'll probably make the switch to Win10 in Q1, so you don't have to tolerate this measure of practicality much longer.
 

daveys93

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Not for most people using this for their first build. The winner might even be in that position, as stated in the article.

Please don't let those annoying facts get in the way of your eloquently-expressed opinion :)

On the other hand, we'll probably make the switch to Win10 in Q1, so you don't have to tolerate this measure of practicality much longer.
Windows 8.1 can be downloaded to a USB drive right from the Microsoft website:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/create-reset-refresh-media

If you obtained one of those "cheap Windows license" codes that was mentioned in the article for the lucky recipients of these machines and included it with Windows 8.1 on a cheap 4GB USB drive (if you are thrifty these can be obtained for $2 or less), you could forgo the antiquated optical drive, allowing this rounds builders to use the hardware and cases they really wanted. It would also free up some budget space since "cheap Windows license" codes are ~ $25 - $50.
 

SCREAM2NIGHT

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Sep 6, 2013
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Not for most people using this for their first build. The winner might even be in that position, as stated in the article.

Please don't let those annoying facts get in the way of your eloquently-expressed opinion :)

On the other hand, we'll probably make the switch to Win10 in Q1, so you don't have to tolerate this measure of practicality much longer.
I use my DVD drive to play older games.
 

ykki

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This is a really nice build. You stuck to a strong processor, din't go overkill on the gpu and got a "sufficient" psu.

Also Tom's for q4 can we get a limited budget "no holds barred" where the contestants can do anything to anything to win. Threr sould be no constraints like what parts have to be compulsory (like this quarter's ODD). How 'bout it?
 

filippi

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Chances are we will see three almost identical rigs...

Anyway kudos guys! This was a really great SBM! Great work you all!
Tom's Hardware Mutual Admiration Society :D
 

shrapnel_indie

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On the other hand, we'll probably make the switch to Win10 in Q1, so you don't have to tolerate this measure of practicality much longer.
Be forewarned: Win 10 (at least as of this writing date) AND an nVidia GTX980 don't seem to be the most stable of companions. It just might be the drivers, or it could be Win 10 in and of itself. (It sees problems with the drivers, forces a reset and restart of said drivers, and causes game that was functioning well in the process to crash.)

As to "Cheap Windows Licenses," most of us lack the connections to get legit keys that won't have a high chance to be scrutinized and at a later time black-listed, if it isn't already a bad/illegit key already. (I'm talking about the fly-by-night sales of OS keys for a "Discount" that exist out there. So much in fact, some For-Sale forums ban the sale of all OS keys.)
 

firefoxx04

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I like the 8gb of ram. Ram is easily upgraded. Would rather see it as one 8gb stick so it can be expanded to 32. Yeah Yeah I know you shouldn't mix and match dimms even from the same brand but who listens to that??

No ssd.. Not a big deal. Again easily upgraded when money becomes available.

DVD drive? Unnecessary. You can always use an external DVD drive later if needed or use an old pc to rip am iso you need.
 
I liked this build. It is most like what I personally need. All my games are older, less demanding, and/or are enjoyable on merely "High" settings, but I like quick responses on anything else. I'd add a SSD, but other than that, the platform should be good for YEARS. This one answers the question "Is a GTX750Ti really a decent [budget] gaming card?" I'd have to say "Yes, it is!" Preferences for a different case don't change the value of the platform, which is what the SBM tests; people can choose whatever case they want.
Nice job.
 

dstarr3

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Why a 6600? Just because it's new? Save money and go with the last generation CPU. Still performs great, and in some metrics, better. And it's discounted now.
 

Chris Droste

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here; to some this might be a little questionable but i fit an i7-4790, an SSD, AND an R7 [strike]380[/strike] 370* in!

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel Core i7-4790 3.6GHz Quad-Core Processor ($312.98 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock H97M Anniversary Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($71.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($40.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Sandisk Z400s 256GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: XFX Radeon R7 370 2GB Double Dissipation Video Card ($113.98 @ Newegg)
Case: Rosewill SRM-01 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($27.00 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: EVGA 500W 80+ Certified ATX Power Supply ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NSC0B DVD/CD Writer ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 OEM (64-bit) ($102.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $791.88
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-09-29 14:24 EDT-0400
 

RedJaron

Splendid
That's a 370 you have there, not a 380. And I know that professional builds often may have NAS, but not having at least one local storage drive breaks it for me. The debate between i7 and Xeon E3 will of course spark a war between some people, but the 4790 does have a higher clock rate than the popular 1231v3, and that matters if you can saturate the threads. You'd have to get a 1271v3 to match the speed, but that's usually in the $320 range. You do get ECC memory support, though.
 

beshonk

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I don't know why more people haven't invested in an external blu ray or dvd burner. Buy 1 drive to service all your system's needs. That way you're not wasting space, money and power/heat having the drive in your system when you're not using it.
 

Chris Droste

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yeah i researched it right, typed it wrong; but the 370 is supposedly a little more powerful overall (at the cost of efficiency, of course) but reports give it a decent overclockability, the ASRock H97 has overclocking options depending on BIOS version and with the extra threads on tap for productivity it should beat the $800 prosumer build in all the metrics. Were it my personal system I'd spring the extra $9 at least for the better eVGA PSU, get rid of the optical drive for the Crucial BX100 drive instead, and source the CPU locally ($250 instead of $312) and put that money into an actual Radeon R9 380. when i sourced the better PSU it came to $800.88 and most people wouldn't sweat that but I specc'd this to the hard Budget limit and to only Newegg to make it a fair comparison.

Personally, I'd also throw a 2Tb mechanical drive and better cooling at it which would still make those older SBM machines sweat for only $900.

 

RedJaron

Splendid
The overclocking support in H and B chipsets is limited to CPU multiplier and voltage only. A locked CPU in an H board isn't going anywhere. A Z board can overclock a locked chip through BCLK, though.
 

Chris Droste

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well, $3 more for the Z97 version of the board currently but that's on rebate of $15. I intentionally tried picking parts that were resistant to deals expiring as well to avoid price adjustments between specc'ing and ordering. In these metrics double the threads imo are worth more than a mild overclock in the productivity area, especially in a "prosumer" environment as opposed to "gamer". Work machines are seldom, if ever OC'd, notwithstanding a K chip is another $30 north. I think a Xeon would be cool to have but that's another additional cost. Again, i was looking for something that i believe could outpace the SBM build for the same money. :)
 

mapesdhs

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dstarr3 is right, and prosumer implies strong compute for relevant app acceleration, but the 750 Ti is a poor choice for this.

Here's what I built for someone for approx. the same cost via eBay (some items were new but sold via normal auction or low BIN, eg. the Intel SSD was only 45 UKP new/unused), a system with remarkably low noise output thanks to the fan choice, etc.:

Antec 300 case (stock fans replaced with top-mounted NDS 140mm PWM + misc others)
Thermaltake Toughpower 850W Modular PSU
i5 2500K (4.7GHz Turbo, or 4.8GHz for 1/2 cores, idles at 2GHz w/ power saving)
Thermalright U120 Extreme RevC + Noctua NF-P12 fan
Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD4
GSkill Ares 16GB (2x8) DDR3/1866 CL11
Intel 520 Series 240GB SSD
2x 1TB Hitachi Enterprise SATA
750GB Seagate Enterprise SATA
MSI GTX 580 1.5GB (much stronger for CUDA than a 750 Ti, ideal for AE work)
Sony DVDRW
Akasa Media Card Reader
Windows 7 Pro 64bit OEM

Total: 526 UKP

Things to note: good, reliable SSD for the C-drive, way more RAM (essential for apps like AE), much stronger CUDA gfx card (today a 3GB 580 is even cheaper, two of them are faster than a Titan for AE), reliable SATA, etc.

Just an example of what is possible. Personally, I don't see the point of going for a SkyLake board and then not having an SSD, fitting not much RAM, consumer grade SATA, a GPU with weak compute, a PSU that leaves no room to grow, etc.

Note I also found a refurb HP ZR24W 1920x1200 24" IPS monitor in excellent condfition for 100 UKP total BIN (see item 151649590063), and a new/unused MS kybd/mouse set for 9 total (item 151654526613). Later though, a budget increase did allow me to fit a new 850 EVO 250GB for a dedicated apps cache, something which is very relevant to pro tasks.
 
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