System Builder Marathon Q4 2015: System Value Compared

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Ugh, that was such a frustrating system to work on. Even though we're chasing the value score, had I known that mboard would be that problematic, I definitely would have spent more to get a different model.


Jan 1, 2011
It is after Xmas now and what did I see but some new value skylake chipset motherboards for around $49 and some New 1151 Pentiums that can use the new DDR4 RAM Plus the i3 6100 selling at a pretty low price of $125 or so. Why even purchase the older chipsets with prices like that?
[quotemsg=17231525,0,440653]Why even purchase the older chipsets with prices like that?[/quotemsg]
If you bothered to read the rest of the SBM articles, you'd see that these parts were purchased back in November, not right now. Also, you'd see this quarter was a "if I would've known then what I know now" theme in how we would've built the machines from last quarter if we didn't have money restrictions. You'd also know how I restricted myself to purchasing parts that were only available three months ago since it was a "how I should have built it then" type thing going on. Please people, fully reading the articles answers 90% of the "why did you do this? questions.

Joe, the cooler fitting is more on Deepcool than Gigabyte. Nearly every ITX FM2 board has the CPU slot oriented to the RAM slots in the same way as here. No, my beef with the mboard is:

1) Poor RAM support. It took 1.65V to even run a standard 1600 CAS9 1.5V profile. This same RAM before easily made it to 2400, so 2133 is a little disappointing. I got seemingly random crashes on it. Example, I can run Prime95 in blend with 4096 MB of RAM used for four hours at 2133 without a problem. It can go through the rest of the bench suite, even the very RAM intensive 3DS sections, at that same speed with no problems. However, Arma couldn't run past 1866 ( why? ) and the Sandra memory bandwidth test could only run once ( run it again without rebooting and it crashes the computer ). It's inconsistent performance and that really bugs me.

2) No, I didn't like the UEFI layout much. It had a somewhat logical idea of grouping all the voltages into one area, all the frequencies into another, etc. Except you could find the same setting in a few different places. The RAM multiplier could be set in both the frequencies and RAM sections. The RAM voltage could be vied in the RAM section, but only changed in the voltage control section. That's a little confusing when you change it one place, encounter it in another, and it doesn't match what you just set it to.

3) It was limited in features. The adaptive VCore control was limited and confusing and you can't set a per-core multiplier ( load on one core goes up to 45, two cores is 44, three cores is 42, etc ).

Overall, I wouldn't recommend it. The ASRock board I used last time was okay in features, except RAM OCing was tedious in that every timing had to be manually set and the HD audio header is inexcusably located under the GPU. MSI had some promising boards, but they were all $100+ at time of purchase. If I had known this one would be so troublesome, I would've spent the extra to see what MSI offered.


Dec 29, 2015
Overclocking can get expensive if you want to overclock the CPU and two graphics cards.
I have been pricing components for water cooling, and the best brand is EKWB. You can order a set for your Graphics Card and be sure it is going to fit.
My point is that it costs $800 to water cool the GPUs, plus is you add a cooling kit for the CPU, you are at about $1,100. So if you want to overclock the CPU and two graphics cards in SLI, like two NVIDIA GTX 980, you need to water cool them, and that gets very expensive.
You can go down to cheaper brands, but you are risking a lot of expensive electronics. All it takes is s single leak.
I think it depends a lot on what do you want to do with your gaming machine. If you want to do 4K, and the coming 5K, then you have to spend much more money.than the computers you are showing here.


Jan 11, 2016
I look to these builds with gaming in mind. So, the option two above is optimal for me. As Tom pointed out, there are plenty of mass produced systems at the lower end. They are like diet drinks, they look a bit like what you want, but leave a bad taste once consumed. I would venture most of your audience is looking to find a best build meeting minimum specs, be it gaming, workhorse or a blend. So finding the lowest cost build for these would appeal more than going from a fixed budget.
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