System Builder Marathon Q4 2015: $912 AMD LAN Box PC

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Joe Black

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I get that a small form factor lan box is desirable, but the option existed to put together a build on a more traditional form factor and include an FX 8-core processor like the 8350 for only $10 more than the i3. Tom's own charts show that they are decent performers and personally I'd be happy to forego the small box for a better processor.

Edit: Note that I referred to this pricing: http://shop.amd.com/en-us/components/processors/FD8350FRHKBOX#
Not sure how accurate it is.
 

Onus

Titan
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Is the 860K a viable chip? Sure it is. AMD fanboys need to sit down and take their licks though, because in performance, power usage, and build/tweak time, the game is up; a non-"experimenter" should now always choose Intel. I hope Zen makes a difference, but remember people (including myself) had high hopes for Bulldozer too, and we know how that turned out.
Solid data point!
 

chesteracorgi

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Using yesterday's i3 is a cheat against Intel. I just built an i3 6100 for my Grandson, and it rips up the Sandybridge 2500K in gaming. The build:

Corsair Carbide Spec 1 case (with an extra 120mm fan.
Intel i3 6100
ARRock Z170 Gaming K4
CoolerMaster Hyper T2 cooler
LG DVD reader/writer
Samsung 850 EVO 250GB
GSkill DDR4 3200 Ripjaws 2X 4 GB
PowerColor R9 380 4GB RAM
Corsair RM 750W PSU
CM Storm Devastator KB & Mouse
ASUS 23.6 in monitor (2ms gtg)

At a little over $800 I'll put it up against your $1000 and $1100 builds in gaming.
 

James Mason

Polypheme
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What if on the next SBM, you guys each start with 1 of the 3 goals, choose/make your build, and then pass it to one of the others, to make any refinements they see to it, and then pass it a 3rd time again for further refinements, to achieve "peer reviewed" build to see how instead of competing but actually kind of working together to all make the best you can while being able to take in ideas the original builder may not have though of.
 

RedJaron

Splendid
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I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. We can only use prices of parts purchased from Newegg ( SBM rules ) and for this particular quarter, it would have to be purchased the last two weeks of November.

James, if we did something like that, it would be nine months of SBM with the same computers only undergoing minor revisions. It's unlikely they would take into account all the newly released parts throughout the year. I think people would get bored with it.

Filippi, I wouldn't rule out i3 OCing next quarter, but I don't think I'll go for it. I don't want to bother with the OCing lottery in hopes to win the value award for a while. I'm thinking a nice Xeon E3 is in my future, depending on the next theme.
 

James Mason

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No I meant for 1 single SBM round, working collaboratively, like maybe "before it's built."
 

Calculatron

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What is up with the high stock voltages on the 860K? When I was thinking of getting one for my secondary test rig, I noted the insane voltages people used both at stock frequencies, and overclocked. I ended up getting a 760K instead, but only because I bought it from a friend who was parting out a rig.

I have that 760K clocked at 4.4ghz with ~1.33 volts, if I remember correctly. It is seated in a Gigabyte FMA88X-UP4, paired with G.skill 2400 DDR3.

With 1.45 volts, I can run it at 4.8ghz and still remain below that throttling threshold. Going beyond requires some serious cooling. (Using a Thermalright Archon SB-E X2.)
 

RedJaron

Splendid
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AMD has kept their voltage pretty high compared to Intel recently. I think it has to do with them staying on bigger lithography and chasing higher clocks, both of which need a little more juice to do. Note that I was able to overclock the CPU on an undervolt. Just because the mboard wants to set stock VCore at 1.45V doesn't mean you need to keep it there.
 

Mac266

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Eric, I applaud you. For one, heading back to Q3 for a do over, and second, for doing something very much outside the box. Well done Mate.
 

Mac266

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Using yesterday's i3 is a cheat against Intel. I just built an i3 6100 for my Grandson, and it rips up the Sandybridge 2500K in gaming. The build:

Corsair Carbide Spec 1 case (with an extra 120mm fan.
Intel i3 6100
ARRock Z170 Gaming K4
CoolerMaster Hyper T2 cooler
LG DVD reader/writer
Samsung 850 EVO 250GB
GSkill DDR4 3200 Ripjaws 2X 4 GB
PowerColor R9 380 4GB RAM
Corsair RM 750W PSU
CM Storm Devastator KB & Mouse
ASUS 23.6 in monitor (2ms gtg)

At a little over $800 I'll put it up against your $1000 and $1100 builds in gaming.
Dunno why you'd do that, the 970's would utterly destroy your 380.
 
.... I have that 760K clocked at 4.4ghz with ~1.33 volts, if I remember correctly. It is seated in a Gigabyte FMA88X-UP4, paired with G.skill 2400 DDR3.
Oh. Look! Someone used GB qualified RAMs in their AMD build.

Without checking, your numbers look roughly similar to mine in a GA-F2A88XN-WIFI using an old stock Opty heatpipe cooler with solid copper base. The tall fins of that DDR3 2400 fit just dandy, too.

Maybe one of these days Toms can find someone who knows how to build and tweak an AMD rig.

 

Damien Gates

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Great article but this board is a piece of Crap really for any amd CPU. im certain that amd system would fair much better in an other. but it still holds well given the 50$ price difference. the performace loss isnt that tangible.
 

RedJaron

Splendid
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I'm not so sure. Look at the results again. While there is a little variance, you can definitely see the performance ceiling for both this machine and the one from three months ago. The only place either of them were competitive ( or superior ) to the i3 machine was in multi-core integer math. Outside that, they were soundly beaten by the Intel platform. Yes, a better mboard would probably yielded a little more performance, but only enough to nab some of the closer categories. The Intel is just too far ahead in too many places for the 860K to realistically catch it.

The mboard used here is already about $15 more than I used for the Intel build. If I had used an even better board ( which now I wish I would have just to avoid the problems I had here ), you're talking about spending $100+ on an mboard. The math just isn't there. To take an 860K fast enough to match the i3, you have to spend more time and money on it as a platform than on the i3. And even then it only beats the i3 about half the time. From a value and simplicity standpoint, it's simply not worth it.



So just because I used a RAM kit that's not explicitly listed on GB's supported list for that board ( a list that GB itself asserts is not exhaustive ), a kit that worked just fine with the same CPU and chipset three months ago, that must mean I don't know how to build or tweak any kind of AMD rig. C'mon man, you really want to go there?

Your accusation is inaccurate. The RAM is perfectly compatible with AMD chips and chipsets. I proved that last quarter. If anything this is a vendor specific issue, not a whole AMD platform issue. And no part of your complaint does anything to dispel the findings here that even a well-cooled 860K has difficulties matching an i3 platform in most performance aspects.
 
My main thought on this is the value proposition strikes me as a bit out based on using such an expensive board.

I'm fairly sure you can get boards in the £40 price range that would work with these components. Pairing such a cheap processor with such a board means the value is going to look terrible, and I just don't think it makes sense.

Otherwise interesting read- I agree there isn't much point going AMD for gaming currently and I say that as someone with an All AMD rig currently. Fingers crossed they get back in the game this year with Zen.
 

chesteracorgi

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To Mac266:

The reason for the R9 380 was budget: it came in at $159 after rebate. But a fairer comparison with the R9 380 is the GTX 960. In that comparison the two trade off in performance.
 

chesteracorgi

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To RedJaron:

The reason for the dig is because of the publish date of the articles. The Skylake 6100 was out for over 3 weeks before the publish date. True the 13 6100 wasn't out in November, but the builds are already dated, and the i3 6100 is a true screamer for budget gamers. I look forward to your reviews of the i3 6100 with OC'd RAM, and perhaps even the CPU OC'd with the BIOS updates from the motherboard OEMs.

I was shocked that a dual core could even touch an OC'd quad core Sandybridge or Ivybridge.
 

RedJaron

Splendid
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Yes, the board is a little expensive because the CPU is being overclocked. Overclocking a power hungry chip on a cheap board is a good way to blow a VRM or encounter other problems. We already know the 860K can't match the i3 at stock settings. Thus the value proposition. What does it take for the 860K to beat the i3 and is it worth it to do it?

Corgi, did you miss the part where I said the parts had to be available three months ago to be considered?

Seriously people, please fully read the articles first before posting.
 
@RedJaron, the 860k is only 'power hungry' in context of Intel's latest very efficient parts based on a newer manufacturing process. Furthermore you actually managed to under volt the cpu whilst still over clocking.

I'm certain a cheaper board would have handled it no issue. As someone who has always been forced to work with limited budgets I can tell you for sure this is possible, and no it doesn't always result in blown vrm. I'd highly recommend looking at asrock boards for future overclock attempts on a budget. I don't think I've ever had one of their boards fail on me despite the budget price.
 

RedJaron

Splendid
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I've used a lot of ASRock boards before. You can find my reviews on many of them, just search for my name at the top of the page. My personal machine is an i7-2600K on an ASRock Z68 Extreme4 Gen3 which I've taken up to 4.8 GHz. I even used an ASrock board last quarter and I mention so in the article. The reason I didn't use it again was because of a bad audio header placement that makes you smash your front audio cable under your GPU.

Yes, I know I was able to undervolt it. That's the only reason it was able to hit 4.3 GHz. However, once overclocked, this thing burns as much power as an i7-4790K at 4.5 Ghz. That's very power hungry for such a cheap CPU. ITX boards have very limited space, which means they don't have the same level of power circuitry as larger boards. This wasn't about overclocking on the smallest possible budget, it was about getting performance value. I was giving the chip every reasonable advantage to reach the highest clocks it could without going completely overboard.
 


Fair enough, I guess there just isn't really a good AMD gaming build option right now (as others in the thread have mentioned the new i3 is even more proficient as a games processor, easily besting anything AMD currently has).

Anyway thanks for taking the time to discuss the article and component choices- I always read the various system builder segments (even if I forget a few details, sorry about that!), as it's interesting to see this stuff in context of a whole build.
 
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