System Builder Marathon, June 2011: Value Compared

Here are links to each of the five articles in this month’s System Builder Marathon (we’ll update them as each story is published). And remember, these systems are all being given away at the end of the marathon.

To enter the giveaway, please fill out this Google form, and be sure to read the complete rules before entering!

Day 1: The $2000 Performance PC
Day 2: The $1000 Enthusiast PC
Day 3: The $500 Gaming PC
Day 4: Performance And Value, Dissected
Day 5: Tom's Hand-Picked SuperCombo

Much of the hardware in our previous few System Builder Marathon machines is pretty stagnant, and it has been since the end of last year. AMD still offers the best value in graphics and Intel still sells the the fastest CPUs.

AMD’s value in the low-cost CPU overclocking market remains unchallenged as well, and that’s where this round’s big surprise happened: Paul Henningsen picked a locked, low-end Intel CPU for his $500 build. Anyone who lives for change might have seen this move as confrontational. But a few gaming wins and a significant efficiency improvement at least partly vindicated his component choices.

Don Woligroski’s $1000 build lost its Radeon HD 6950 and gained a pair of Radeon HD 6850s, while this editor’s $2000 PC gave up some Blu-ray burn speed and CPU cooling to gain Quick Sync via Z68 Express and a more glamorous case.

June System Builder Marathon Components MotherboardASRock H61M-VS
LGA 1155, Intel H61 ExpressMSI P67A-G43
LGA 1155, Intel P67 chipsetASRock Z68 Extreme4
LGA 1155, Intel Z68 ExpressGraphicsSapphire 100315L
Radeon HD 6850 1 GB2 x Gigabyte GV-R685OC-1GD
Radeon HD 6850 1 GB, CrossFire2 x MSI R6970-2PM2D2GD5
Radeon HD 6970 2 GB, CrossFireProcessorIntel Core i3-2100 LGA 1155
3.1-3.1 GHz, 3 MB CacheIntel Core i5-2500K LGA 1155
3.3-3.7 GHz, 6 MB CacheIntel Core i7-2600K LGA 1155
3.4-3.8 GHz, 8 MB CacheMemoryCrucial CT2KIT25664BA1339
DDR3-133 C9, 2 GB x 2 (4 GB)G.Skill F3-10666CL7D-4GBRH
DDR3-1333 C7, 2 GB x 2 (4 GB)G.Skill F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM
DDR3-1600 C8, 4 GB x 2 (8 GB)System DriveSeagate ST3500413AS
500 GB, 7200 RPM HDDWestern Digital WD7501AALS
750 GB, 7200 RPM HDD2 x A-Data S599
64 GB MLC SSDStorage DriveSamsung F3 HD103SJ
1 TB, 7200 RPM HDDOpticalAsus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS
24x DVD±R, 48x CD-RLG GH22NS70 DVD-RW
22x DVD±R, 48x CD-RLG WH10LS30 BD-RE
10x BD-R, 16x DVD±RPowerAntec EA380D 380 W
ATX12V v2.3, 80 PLUS BronzeCorsair CMPSU-650TX 650 W
ATX12V v2.2, 80 PLUSSeasonic SS-850HT 850 W
ATX12V v2.31, 80 PLUS Silver

Will incremental changes in each builder’s system value add up to a surprise in our final comparison?

View the original article here


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