System Builder Marathon, Sept. 2010: Value Compared

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karma831

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oops double post...

Anyways, I didn't really like the builds this SBM but I learned quite a bit. Thanks for the great read.
 
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Yeah the $2000 system did not make much sense. Only spending 10% of your build money on the CPU seems wrong. The two GTX480s and Nvidia mobo was bizarre. I guess they felt they had to throw the AMD CPU guys a bone. The lack of a solid state drive in a $2000 build was also odd to me. Which could be explained if your going after raw gaming power, where they did with the dual 480s, but then they gimped it with that AMD cpu. Why pair dual GTX 480s with a Phenom Hexacore; which are subpar for anything that uses 4 threads or less. For the same $2000, I think you would get a much better system with a core i7 950, 6gb of ddr3 1600, a 120gb SSD, and 2 GTX 460 1gb.
 

HibyPrime

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I usually skip over the power and efficiency pages of the high-end SBM build, because the power usage is mostly irrelevant for such a high-end build... but when I saw it in the efficiency comparison...

ONE KILOWATT? seriously!?
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
[citation][nom]stm1185[/nom]For the same $2000, I think you would get a much better system with a core i7 950, 6gb of ddr3 1600, a 120gb SSD, and 2 GTX 460 1gb.[/citation]-1 for the SSD comments since these have always hurt the system's overall score in the benchmark-based value analysis.
 

avatar_raq

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One of the odd things encountered in the $2000 build is the results of Dirt2. This game bears the AMD logo, and in one benchmark the intel system scored almost double!! OMG!! AMD guys really need to do something about their CPUs and their relations to game developers.
 
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SLI does not seems to work in AMD system or it is throttling.
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
[citation][nom]MayP[/nom]SLI does not seems to work in AMD system or it is throttling.[/citation]The CPU is throttling the rest of the system. Most of the benchmarks show a CPU-capped pattern.
 
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I'd like to have seen CS5 tests rather than CS4, considering you're using a Win 7 x64 build.
 
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"The CPU is throttling the rest of the system. Most of the benchmarks show a CPU-capped pattern."

There is noway i5 can be twice as fast as x6. Simply no way. Something is wrong. Unless there is an artificial limitation in the SLI board to prevent it running faster than that. Even 5670 is closer to SLI 480. Simply Dirt2 benchmark is wrong. And I sense SLI is not working. Better to try with Cross Fire setup.
 

avatar_raq

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[citation][nom]TheCapulet[/nom] it's just plain unbelievable that the builder didn't do his homework. [/citation]
If you read the article thoroughly you would know the reasons behind the CPU choice! And Thomas was honest about the results and he clearly said 'we failed'. Besides it IS nice to see someone try that and inform us so that we don't repeat the same, or similar, mistakes!


[citation][nom]TheCapulet[/nom] This will be the first month that people sign up hoping to win the 1k machine instead of the 2k.[/citation]
Free is always good! For me, I wish I win the $2000 build, simply because the 2 gfx cards alone worth almost as the mid-priced build ($920 vs $1000)!
 

SpadeM

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I do understand that the staff hears what the community has to say about how the next builds should look like, but really, if you spend money on 2 x 480 and you know beforehand that the performance will be limited by your choice of cpu (since benchmarks of it existed before the build was done)then it's up to you to make that weird combination work. I know, the standard cooling on the mobo wasn't great so NB overclocking was out of the question, but still an after market cooler, a simple fan pointed at the chipset could have made a difference. Just to build a 2000$ system to see it fail isn't being responsible with your money and doesn't make any sense (maybe in the "we told you it would kind of way"). As for the rest, i only have one question ... what were the bios settings for the SpeedStep and C1E on the intel side .. since the x6 had it's C&Q disabled.

All in all this was the most ... weird .. SBM to date.
PS: kudos to Paul Henningsen, his build/review takes the cake this round.
 

sincreator

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In Dirt 2 I get the same results, and I only have 1 HD5870. My 1090T is clocked at 4.2ghz and I have the NB/HT OC'ed as well. 2x GTX480 should of been alot faster, at least thats what I would of thought. At 1920x1080 and above with anti alising I thought the load was more on the GPU/GPUs. Something seems strange to me. What happens when you use one card? Do the FPS stay the same at 2560x1600 with AA also? I'm just curious, that's all. The FPS didn't even go up when you lowered the resolution. Weird stuff for sure.
 

SSBrando

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Why didn't they bump up the Six core Phenom to it's big brother. you get 400 more MHz and an unlocked multiplier. I looked it up on newegg and they could have stayed in the $2000 limit. There's my two cents.
 

Mottamort

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Wow. a few months ago I built a +-$400 equivalent budget-gaming box for someone and I used exactly the same stuff....scary
 

cknobman

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I hope I win the 2000 build!!! Worst high performance build yet on Toms but best situation for whoever wins it.

Strip out the power hungry 480's and sell them for a grand and buy a 5850 or 460 for 300 bucks.

Brand new system and $700 in my pocket, what can be better than that!!!!!!!!
 

Peciura

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THG have test results tat nVidia graphic cards are sensitive to CPU computation power (unlike Radeon). In fact AMD 6 core CPU is of very limited use (if any). General rule is : if you on tight budget buy AMD system if you need high end computer stick to Intel and nVidia.

It would be very interesting to have a tool to compare any 2-3years old SBM systems among themselves with current newegg prices. This way it would be clear that any SBM system is just part of bigger picture and is not necessarily the best choice for the money.
 

plznote

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[citation][nom]cknobman[/nom]I hope I win the 2000 build!!! Worst high performance build yet on Toms but best situation for whoever wins it. Strip out the power hungry 480's and sell them for a grand and buy a 5850 or 460 for 300 bucks.Brand new system and $700 in my pocket, what can be better than that!!!!!!!![/citation]

That was a unit line in WarCraft 3!!
 

Onus

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This was a very interesting SBM series, with lessons to be learned at each price point. Knowing what NOT to do can be as useful as knowing what TO do. I'd love to win any of them, with these results:
1. $2K PC: I'd remove and sell the two GPUs (my games don't need them), and add a single GTX460 or HD5850 and a SSD. Would become my primary system.
2. $1K PC: I'd just add a SSD. Would also become my primary system.
3. $400 PC: I'd toss the junk PSU and install a 380W Earthwatts, and probably add a quiet after-market CPU HSF. I'd probably swap the GPU for my HD4850, add a second larger HDD, then it would become a Christmas gift for my sister's family.
 

vvhocare5

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I for one will be glad when this series is over. I just dont think this effort is relevant to the majority of PC builders - and trying to educate the crowds that are inept is pointless. Any one set of choices leaves questions for the other set of choices not used.

The forums are full of people who cannot figure out how to make a system choice (what speed RAM, what GPU, what CPU, how much to spend, etc) and then once they build it and it doesnt work, are back asking how to make it all work, why is it overheating, why does it crash and so on.

Im not sure what this accomplishes - the ones who can build dont need this series and the ones who cant build will mess it up anyhow - even if you give them a complete parts list.

This site continues to slide backward trying to increase its readership by reaching the lowest person instead of setting a high water mark with compelling articles (like the 2D video acceleration issue with AMD - now that was good).

Peace
 

marraco

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for the next round:

if the cheapest build don't have a decent video card, should spend more.

the midle budget at least need a GTX 460 1GB SLI.

the expensive budget needs SSD.
 

RazberyBandit

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What I don't get is why the budget PC is called "Gaming PC" and still has to go through the non-gaming benchmark suite. The more expensive builds are never labeled "Gaming" at all. The benchmark suite is not strictly a gaming suite. Sure, they're there, but the productivity tests are there too. And without the focus on overall performance, the $400 PC could have focused purely on gaming - an area where 3 faster cores might have offered better performance than 4 slower ones. (Or was the Gamers: Do You Need More Than An Athlon II X3? article simply a fluke?

Anyway, I'd just like to see the productivity and gaming portions separated into two distinct competitions. This would allow users to see each build compared from whichever perspective is more important to them.
 

triculious

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[citation][nom]TheCapulet[/nom]And honestly, it's just plain unbelievable that the builder didn't do his homework.[/citation]

I think mostly it was done as a crowd pleaser... I've seen several posts stating such-and-such build would be so much better if a phenom II X6 was used instead of anything else... it's proven (again) that an AMD hexa-core is not that good for a gaming machine and probably an intel hexa-core is not a very good value either

an ssd wouldn't add any performance benefit yet it still would improve the experience of lower boot times, I personally see it as a frivolity... one which I'll allow myself come December =P

I liked the marathon this time... showing BAD build decisions is very valuable to me as a consumer and gives me reference material to show clients about what makes a good one and what a bad one as well... thanks a lot (now just make the giveaway worldwide available and we'll be cool =P)
 
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