System Builder Marathon Q4 2014: Mainstream Enthusiast PC

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You got the wrong GPU listed in the build. It is a 970 not 770. I'm referring to the Q4 build parts list. It should be the Zotac 970 4GB.

Other than that. Build looks decent.

[ANSWER BY CLEEVE]: Thanks for the heads up, fixed! :)
 

rush21hit

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It's just perfect for 1k budget build. If I have such budget, I would gone to different casing though. Did you know Lian Li had just released their new casing that look sick awesome? They make it wall mountable too. I would go with that.
 

SessouXFX

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It's rare for reviewers to recommend a Zotac, At least from what I've seen, it's because just as things start to look good, Zotac make some questionable decisions with their cards. otherwise, they're quite affordable and are usually better than reference.
 

VaporX

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Okay so I looked over this build and honestly I was a bit disappointed because for the price you could have done better. Going to Newegg I got the following.

i5 4690K with Gigabyte Z97MX Gaming, same ID cooler listed above, 8 Gig Crucial (1660) RAM, 240 Gig Crucial MX100, Thermaltake Core V21 Case, Thermaltake Smart 550 watt PSU, Sapphire Tri-X 290 and Windows 8.1 all for $1056.

So I lost the optical drive, no real lose there, some HD space (learn not to hoard) gained better onbaord sound, a large GPU performance bump and the speed advanateg of a pure SSD set.

IMO a much nicer gamer rig.
 


They built this probably 3 weeks ago...so prices change.
 

Scorpionking20

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I got 2 of those exact gpus...sent them back due to hardware crashes and coil whine. Replaced them with 2 evga 970's and I couldn't be happier. Never again Zotac!
 

Onus

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I think the build is good. I'm going to guess that the budget cooler isn't going to support a high overclock, but that wouldn't matter to me, since I don't use +voltage to OC.
I'm not going to quibble over the choice of Zotac. I've read mixed reviews of them. It isn't an obvious choice to me like MSI or Gigabyte, but it isn't one to avoid either like Diamond.
I'm disappointed that the OC numbers weren't included; maybe this build could have been presented "out of sequence" after troubleshooting?
I'd love to win this one; it is very much like something I'd build.
 

SuperVeloce

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""I got 2 of those exact gpus...sent them back due to hardware crashes and coil whine. Replaced them with 2 evga 970's and I couldn't be happier. Never again Zotac! ""
Zotac is not the only one with coil whine, all the biggest players have it. It's pretty much hit or miss with this nvidia series it seems. And sometimes its a combination of graphics and PSU where a psu swap helps (and that psu could be just fine in another build).
 
I can't say this is an "Enthusiast PC", since the SSD won't hold my entire Steam library in it (installed: 361GB; games: 195).

Why not use some good old RAID 0? Or just cash out on the bigger SSDs and sacrifice the storage?

Cheers!
 

codyleemanofaction

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I agree with Yuka... for an enthusiast build, the games ought to all fit on the SSD- extra storage for media is secondary... To stay within the guidelines of min/maxing for gaming, I'd rather see a larger SSD and no storage. Platters can always be added later, but those few precious seconds of load time into a game are worth any sacrifice!
 

clonazepam

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I always enjoy these articles.

I do wish the charts were consistent from article to article. You all should load up cod multiplayer, and have a sing-off american idol style, to decide who gets to choose the chart layout - older or newer on top ;)
 
Nice system but that power supply has me worried. It's not got the best track record with its 3.3 volt stability nor its 12v ripple at +60ishmv at higher amps. Its second tier capacitors isn't a good choice which complicates the issue specially down the road.

A better choice would be going with a quality psu below the 500w card suggestion. Something like the Antec vp-450 which can output 553w at 22amps on each of its 2 rails. The only thing is using a molex to pcie power connector for the 970.
 

cleeve

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I think you might have missed the 1TB storage drive, there? that'll hold your library just fine. :)

The SSD is for speeding up boots and general OS performance. We don't have the money for a large SSD that would be big enough for general use in an enthusiast machine. As for Raid 0, I'd simply rather have an SSD boot drive because 1) it boots a hell of a lot faster, and 2) I've experienced too many RAID 0 issues for one lifetime. It's just not worth it to me when things go wrong.

 

SuperVeloce

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A better choice would be going with a quality psu below the 500w card suggestion. Something like the Antec vp-450 which can output 553w at 22amps on each of its 2 rails. The only thing is using a molex to pcie power connector for the 970.
lol you cannot just add those numbers up. Combined wattage for 12V rails is 360Watts and is pretty mediocre.
 

Joe Joejoe

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i5 for an enthusiast rig is pretty weak. Might as well shell out the extra money for an i7. Most people that are gamers, are also using their PC's for other CPU demanding stuff. The longer you can keep a CPU the better, especially considering socket 1150 is pretty much at end of life (the i7 will be the highest and last level of performance for 1150 motherboards) Skylake is going to run on 1155 and 2011 motherboards. So might as well go big now so your CPU lasts you a few extra years. A 30% bump in performance in nothing to scoff at, it'll buy at least a few years of performance shelf life.
 
lol you cannot just add those numbers up. Combined wattage for 12V rails is 360Watts and is pretty mediocre.
I'm not just adding this numbers up as these are test data. Please do some searching before making assumptions. Antec is well know to under rate their PSU. Besides Seasonic just about every PSU maker would have sold these as 550w PSU's. The Antec 450vp has been tested to output 553w and 22amps per each of its 2 rails.
 

f-14

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"Thank you for entering the Tom's Hardware-Newegg System Builder Marathon Sweepstakes Q4 2014.

The Sweepstakes opens on September 23, 2014 12 noon PDT and closes on October 6, 2014 12 noon PDT.

YOU MAY ENTER THE CONTEST ONLY ONE TIME."
 

f-14

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[quoet]Both of the platforms tested for this article employ an 84 W host processor. The GeForce GTX 770 peaks in the 195 W range, though, while the new GeForce GTX 970 has a lower 145 Watt TDP.

The numbers suggest we should see a ~50 Watt difference between the two under a graphics load, but in reality there's a whopping 90 Watt gap. It's likely that the overclocked GeForce GTX 770 in our previous build had some extra TDP headroom from the factory.



When it comes to temperatures, the GPU results aren't particularly surprising, with the GeForce GTX 970 sporting a much smaller cooling area compared to the larger 770. The difference under a CPU load is quite large though, but keep in mind that the previous build benefited from one of the best air-coolers that money can buy. [quote\]
that's the difference a mesh case with 2 front intake fans and 2 top exhaust fans with good CFM makes and add in the rear exhaust fan you have more exhaust pressure than intake pressure so the air will also flow thru the mesh where there are no fans. use a smoke bomb or empty a filthy vaccuum cleaner bag in the room and let it run for a day... the proof will be in the dust train all over the case. i've noticed this for over 5 years now. you can get away with a cheap aftermarket cpu cooler that pushes 40-50CFM in this set up. the antec 900's were the first ones i took notice of this in. the 1200's confirmed it. i also tried it out in the coolermaster storm scout and trooper series. the faster you change out that case air the better the results all across the board especially with those silly in case exhaust GPUs.

as for your rebooting problem don test the PSU (are there enough amps for that 970?) another thing i suspect just from the pictures is the mounting bracket area having an issue in the voltage regulators on the m/b at that 90º corner.
other notes:
newegg reviewers are saying this zotac 970 card has major coil whine issues and major performance issues. could be what i was suggesting before or x87 m/b issue as those are the ones posting their system specs especially the one saying the card won't post at all in the PCIe 3.0 Slot? could some cheap capacitors on the card be causing issues on the x87 boards? the coil whine, and the pop and smoke power failures killing the systems is raising my suspicions that i can't put my finger on with out more system specs being noted by more people in the reviews. i want to say it is an AMP/PSU issue but with the lack of info idk.

VaporX 8 Gig Crucial (1660) RAM[quote\] you just lost with the 1600mhz Ram that's 10 fps lost right there. sad but true i don't like that fact either as my 16GB of 1600 crucial can't beat the 2133 and 2400mhz ram when i switch them out on asus formula Vl board or any of the msi gd-65/45/gaming 5 m/b's
my 1600's are the only one with the red and green LED's in my x-mas decorated snoopy dog house case and it would make me just a tiny bit sad to lose the red and green LED's ho-ho-HA-HA-boo-hoo }8*(
 

Vorador2

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The build looks pretty good, but i wouldn't choose that Zotac GPU. Zotac products are cheap, but their QC is poor. Bought a mini-PC from them and the first unit crapped on me in a week, and the replacement one didn't even boot.

And it's not a bad idea if you have the cash to exchange the DVD unit for a bluray writer. Nowadays they can be found for less than 100$.
 


Well... Guild Wars 2 and most MMORPGs take QUITE the time to load when you're changing zones and stuff. I can't even start thinking about going back to a non-RAID 0 or non-SSD.

Hell, even LoL needs a fast SSD. My GF plays it; no SSD nor RAID 0 and it's stuck for ages in loading. She has an i5K @4.4Ghz with a 7970, so no HW penalty.

I can name a lot of games that *need* a fast HDD and I can't think of going back to something slower than a RAID 0 again.

And in my own experience... My current RAID 0 (2x512GB) has like 5 years now. I only formatted it when changing from my PhII 965 to the i7 and that's about it.

Cheers!
 
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