System Builder Marathon Q4 2014: $1600 Performance PC

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cmi86

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With $60 for a case you could have done so much better than that atrocious smurf turd. If you want me to spend $1,600 on a PC it better look the part as much as it plays the part. NZXT source 210, Antec GX-500, Bitfenix Neo-100, Rosewill Redbone, Thermaltake CA1B2/Commander/Versa and the list goes on and on and on... and on.

BTW, These were only $50 cases netting you $10 on your budget.
 
Never mind the atrocious color, how was the case otherwise? Sturdy? Any sharp edges? Front panel cable lengths? Cable management space?
You addressed my thoughts on the oversized PSU; if 650W of similar quality were not cheaper, I might have done the same thing.
I can't help but wonder how SLI of two lesser cards would have performed. Won't two GTX760s beat a GTX980?
 
It might have been hard to squeeze out that $60 without raising eyebrows, but perhaps that might have been done. Use the same cooler Don used though;'no reason to waste money on the Hyper EVO. It is almost certainly a better cooler, but not worth the price difference compared to Don's or one of the other 120mm competitors (including the older Hyper212+).
 

UltimateDeep

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Disappointing, your could cut cost a bit more on the cooler or the case and go for a 128GB SSD and go for GTX 970s in SLI. You could get a LOT more with 970s in SLI.
 

jasonelmore

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Honestly, the whole reason to get a 4790K is because it runs 4.4Ghz Stock. With no overclock. 99% of motherboards will automatically overclock all 4 cores to 4.4ghz using Multi-core enhancement setting.

Why void your warranty for 200mhz OC? not needed for such small gains. 4.4 is fast enough even for 4k gaming
 

Vorador2

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Spending almost 1000$ on the graphics card and CPU and pairing them up with just freaking 8 Gb of RAM is an insult. I know is the price to fit both on a 1600$ budget, but still...it feels completely unbalanced.
 

Crashman

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It's a fairly mid-grade case with rolled edges and so forth, and reasonable room for cables. Thermaltake's window is a little hard and thin, which is mostly a shipping issue, and I was a little disappointed that it was too narrow to hold this RAM/Cooler combo in its intended orientation. It would make a very NICE $60 to $70 case, but there are many better options at $80+ (its original price).

But it wouldn't have been $60. Remember, I ordered a $560 card and ended up with a $600 card. So going back to the planning stage, 2x 970's would have been $100 more.

Intel isn't tracking whether-or-not you overclock...but the reason to pick a 4790k over a 4770k is that, in my experience, Intel is tossing a lot of heat-problem cores into the 4770K parts bin.

 

IDunno442

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I would probably go x99 on a $1600 budget tbh.
i7 5820K @ 389.99
ASRock x99 extreme3 @ 170.32
Crucial Ballistix Sport DDR4 2 x 4GB @ 99.99
EVGA GTX 970 @ 339.99
Crucial MX100 256GB @ 111.99

Keeping the rest of the parts as listed above works out as $1498.28 with windows off of newegg.

The power supply is too large. Well I say too large, cant really have it too large (I suppose overly large and it'll drop in efficiency, but it ain't that big), but unless you 3-way SLI 980's or some such it will never be needed. Thermaltake TR2 600W @ 44.99 or Rosewill ARC 550W Continuous @ 44.99 should both be sufficient to run this. So that cuts $35 off of the power supply, bringing the total down to $1463.28.

Now with the extra $200, you could add 8GB more RAM for another 99.99 (probably a good idea given x99 platform). Could spend the final $100 on a different case. Could just save the extra $200/$100 to keep your pocket warm. If you wanted the 980 instead of the 970, Zotac/EVGA both have 980's @559.99 which would leave the total build cost $20 higher than above.

Granted the 970 won't be AS powerful as the 980 but it should be almost as good in most situations, and with tweaking should get pretty damn close to 980 anyway.

One could definatly make the argument that getting 6 core/12 thread processor for a gaming machine is a bit pointless - this is true. But if it was just going to be a gaming machine the i7 is a little on the pointless side too so you could just save a bundle and go for an i5, or use the savings to sli 970's.

Seeing as theres an i7 in the build I am assuming that this isn't intended solely for a gaming machine. With this in mind, a 5820k would provide some nice productivity boosts depending on its use. And as an all round (not purely gaming) machine I imagine 5820k + 970 will overpower 4790k + 980.

If it IS just a gaming machine, drop to an i5 and put sli 970's or just pocket the savings.

(Not really saying that its a particularly great idea to spend that much on the system in the first place, but if the budget is there then that's what I would be doing with it)

Edit: After reading through some more, fair enough if you want to keep the same SSD so as not to lose out in one area to gain in another. But if the goal is to beat the previous system 16GB DDR4, 6 core 5820k and gtx 970 would kill 4790k, 8gb ddr3, 290x
 

Crashman

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Former Staff
To begin with it's an extra $139, not $200, because the parts were picked at $1602. And I'd have to spend most of that on memory if I wanted to take advantage of the quad-channel memory controller.

But the 16GB would get me a big win in 1 benchmark. That's 1/4 of a group, or 4% of the suite, so if I doubled the performance I'd gain 2%.

What else would I gain? I'd lose 10-15% in games, if we call it 12%, that's 2% of the suite that I'd lose.

The 5820k runs slower and is harder to overclock, so most of my benchmarks would also be down there. If I did reach the same overclock, I'd suddenly find myself needing at bigger power supply, so that savings goes away.

We have the extra money available, I'm thinking about spending it next time. And if I do spend the extra money, I'm probably going big on power consumption and keeping the power provision.

So, keeping in mind I'd probably need the extra power, and that I'd still be limited to $1500 platform cost even at "full allotment", let's add:
$60 for the CPU upgrade
$55 for the motherboard upgrade
$25 for the memory swap (at dual-channel)

To the $1411. Oops, that's $1551. Can't get there by shaving $20 off the SSD. Might get there by shaving $30 off the power supply, but maybe then I can't overclock. And I'm still stuck with no upgrade in GPU, dual-channel RAM on a quad-channel platform, and a potential overclocking problem.

I think it's time we rethought the $500-$1000-$1500 platform limits and skip straight to $600-$1200-$1800 totals, without restriction on what part of the system the money gets spent. What do you guys think?
 

SessouXFX

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I thought the Chaser A31 only came in Black and White....but Blue? Otherwise, Thermaltake often gets overlooked, there really are some decent cases from this company.
 
Nice article, but what about 2x R9 290's? I don't know if dual R9 285's would be "high end", but they do hold their value fine.

Also, 2x GTX780's? (not TIs).

Still, a good build IMO, but I still have the same "issue" as the Enthusiast build.. A 256GB SSD won't cut it for all of the games I have installed... Would going back to a RAID 0 be a bad idea? Or at least sacrifice the storage part for dual 512GB/1TB SSDs?

Cheers!
 

cmi86

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Sacrificing so much all around just to stuff the biggest baddest under the hood doesn't really sit well with me. I build my systems to prioritize quality regardless of price point. A cheap-o motherboard and budget RAM are obviously the biggest sins at this price point, that said the prioritizing of the 980 is still quite visible in basically every component of this build. For $1,600 there should not be any cutting corners on quality, you have to pay to play. If the rig needs to be $2,000 to have a non reference 980 and equally high end surrounding components than so be it. This rig needs to have a 970 and the $250 saved go in to better quality. This is like buying a Ferarri for track day but in order to afford the Ferarri you need to sacrifice the $2,500 cup tires for some walmart special passenger car tires. And instead of race gas you need to run 87 from the pump at Super America. IMHO if you can't afford to do it right then you can't afford it at all. This isn't a budget build, it needs to be held to appropriate standards.
 

IDunno442

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PSU from above = 100
+case from above = 156
+windows = 256
+optical drive above = 276
+HDD from above = 331
+cpu cooler above = 406
+ssd from above = 541
+x99 motherboard I suggested = 711
+i7 5820k = 1101
+gtx 970 = 1440
+Crucial DDR4 2400*8GB = 1540

Ok so I fluffed my maths earlier, thanks for spotting that. But assuming that its 1600 limit then this is still under budget. Now with the same amount spent above you could take 16GB ram.

A 5820K running with a large overclock and 980 wont use 650W so you could get a smaller power supply. (if this is not correct then please explain). I'm fairly certain you could SLI 2 x 980 with OC'd 5820k without using the full power supply you currently have. If this is correct, switch the Power supply in the original build for the one I suggested it will still run 970 + 5820k OC'd and should be able to run 2x 970's (although im not so sure about that)

Granted the 980 is faster but not a huge amount. If its for gaming then go i5 with 970 SLI with the savings. If the i7 is needed for some other type of work (say, audio or video) then then i7 5820k will probably see a big (or at least bit) of an improvement, and the 970 will be more than sufficient. For said other work, DDR4 2400Mhz ram is probably going to see minor improvements, 16GB DDR4 more so.

It's certainly a fair point about taking a chance with the OC for the slower cores on the 5820k.

The 980 with i7 4790k will bench better for gaming performance, but in real use I'm not sure that theres a whole lot extra noticeable difference between 980 vs 970. And if the i7 is needed a bigger i7 might prove beneficial.

Don't get me wrong, 4790k + 980 is a pretty awesome combination that I (and I assume most/all other people) would be delighted with. Just saying that I would have spent a bit differently.
 

kevith

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Nice thorough article as always! Wouldn´t the idea of raising the cost on each build a couple of hundred dollars water out the concept a little? I know you´ve been doing this for quite a while now, and prices do go up over time, but what I like about following the SBM is, that you can compare: "What will my 500-1000-1500 get me at this point in time?"

Instead of aiming for a certain performance and adjust the cost, in order to achieve that.

By maintaining the cost, some builds will not be able to beat the earlier builds in its class, but that will, in turn, reveal when it´s a good time to go for building a new machine and when it´s not.
 

codyleemanofaction

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Go go 980!!! Fun build :)
I'd like to see a fourth build thrown in- maybe where all three of you collaborate to make a "Bang for the Buck" build - analyzing your monthly CPU/GPU gaming review article for the best value proposition- and see where it fits in the mix. Currently an i5 4460 with an r9 280 or 290 would probably be the fulcrum. In the event that it isn't a better price/performance ratio- you could explore why. Cheers!
 

alidan

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there a reason to use the 980 over a 290X?

at the current price, i would have honestly went with 290x over the 980 if it was only for gaming...

however if you take in gpgpu, i cant get my 280X to work with video editing software, however cuda should... so if i take a non gaming look at it i would go for the nvidia option...

also, i think you should do at least 1 more benchmark if possible. at least for me, i don't get a new computer till something is broken, my brother doesnt till he cant do anything to increase the performance. it would be nice to see how these recommendations hold up after 2-4 years, though im not sure how viable an option that metric is...

because the above person said a 6 core, and given current consoles and how it seems they will be forcing physics sooner than later, 6 cores could be a better performer than the 4 core given a few years.
 

rayden54

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Get off your high horse about the graphics card. You gripe about it no less than 4 times and you never provide a shred of proof that you're right or that it was worth sacrificing either price or performance to buy the one that met your standards.
 

g-unit1111

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A 5820K running with a large overclock and 980 wont use 650W so you could get a smaller power supply. (if this is not correct then please explain). I'm fairly certain you could SLI 2 x 980 with OC'd 5820k without using the full power supply you currently have. If this is correct, switch the Power supply in the original build for the one I suggested it will still run 970 + 5820k OC'd and should be able to run 2x 970's (although im not so sure about that)
By going with a 5820K you sacrifice graphics power for CPU power. Plus add in the high cost of DDR4 RAM and on a build where you're trying to maintain a specific budget, that won't fly.

Just for fun I priced a build on PC Part Picker to meet the $1600 goal and came up with this:

CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K - $220
Cooler: Phanteks TC-14PE Black - $70
RAM: Mushkin Blackline DDR3-2400 MHz - $89
SSD: Samsung 850 Evo 250GB - $140
HD: 1TB Western Digital Caviar Blue - $60
GPU: EVGA Geforce GTX 970 4GB x 2 - $339 each ($678 total)
Motherboard: MSI Z97 SLI Krait Edition - $140
Case: Phanteks Enthoo Pro - $100
Power Supply: EVGA G2 850W - $120

Total: $1599.69

Dropped the optical drive and all parts are from Newegg.
 

Crashman

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Former Staff
I ordered a $560 graphics card and if you're the one pushing the fans-into-case models, you're part of the problem instead of the solution.

I have noise measurements, this one maxed out at 42 decibels full load/overclocked. I have heat measurements, this one never needed full fan speed to stay under its 80° setting. And the only reason supply of this card style dried up is...probably people like you.

I defy you to prove that putting heat into the case is a good idea.
 
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