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  • stefmalawi - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    I was quite literally just looking for this article right now (having thought that it was already posted) when it popped up. Cheers! Reply
  • trifecta88 - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    The flooding in Thailand and the tsunami in Japan have nearly tripled mechanical hard drive prices this year... to think that if you built this same build next year when factories recover you could put the extra ~100 (pre-flood 1TB price ~50) into GPU/monitor/etc or your wallet. If you are considering building a computer, you should probably dig up an old drive from another computer and use that until prices dip again. Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    Yeah, I bought a WD 500GB drive 3 months ago for $49. Today, that exact same drive is $109. Reminds me of RAM prices back in 1995. Reply
  • Flunk - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    Actually what you just described is the pricing from 2007, I bought 2 500GB 7200RPM drives back int he summer of 2007 for about $100 each.

    They didn't even have 500GB drives back in 1995.
    Reply
  • kmmatney - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    Comprehension fail Reply
  • twhittet - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    Well his name is Flunk Reply
  • BSMonitor - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    overpayed Reply
  • Mathieu Bourgie - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    Zach,

    Here are some things that I noticed while going through the builds. Simply trying to help here, so please don't take this the wrong way :)

    I wanted to point out that the Llano system requires an extra SATA cable: The ASUS F1A75-M PRO/CSM motherboard includes two of them and the system will need three, for the DVD Burner, SSD and HDD.

    Also, the Antecn NEO ECO 400C 400W PSU doesn't include a power cord.

    Most of us will have spares cables/power cords, but it's still good to know this.

    Speaking of the Llano system, I'm left unimpressed by it.

    First of all, why limit yourself to a Micro-ATX motherboard when you could have gone full-size ATX instead? Now, if you decide to add a dedicated video card, you won't be able to add a dedicated PCI-Express sound card, since the PCI-Express 1x slot will be blocked by the most likely double-width video card.

    The A8-3850 + ASUS F1A75-M PRO/CSM + 1866MHz 8GB G.Skill ends up costing $310

    Here's a simple alternative build that will offer much superior gaming performance, as well as the possibility to upgrade the CPU to higher-end Sandy Bridge offerings for a similar price:

    $130 Core i3-2120,
    $75 motherboard: ASRock H61M/U3S3 with USB 3.0, SATA 6.0Gbps
    $80 (less with a MIR) Radeon HD 6670
    $35 8GB DDR3 1333MHz Gskill
    Total: $320

    All of which are compatible with the rest of your suggested build.

    Power consumption? The Core i3-2100 draws about 17W less at load than the A8-3850 according to the Bench, for CPU load only and the Radeon HD 6670 has a 66W TDP according to Ryan's review on AnandTech. So roughly 50W more if you don't consider the power draw of the GPU within the A8-3850 during gaming and assume that the 6670 pulls 66W, which is unlikely. The Antec ECO NEO 400W will have no problem handling that.

    Sure, the A8-3850 will come ahead in a few multi-threaded programs, but it's not like the 3.3GHz dual-core + Hyper-Threading Core i3-2120 will be far behind, while the i3-2120 and Radeon HD 6670 will trounce the A8-3850 when it comes to gaming performance. The Core i3-2120 will also come far ahead with any program that is mostly single-threaded.

    Decide to get a more potent video card with either system and the Core i3-2120 system will still come ahead, due to its superior gaming performance when matched with a dedicated video card.

    Best of all? You can upgrade the Core i3-2120 system to a Core i5-2xxx or i7-2xxx down the road if you want to.

    SSD wise, you could also consider a Samsung 830 series 64GB, which costs $10 less, offers similar if not even better performance and reliability.

    Moving on to the $1000 Intel Core i5-2500K System:
    You can pick up a Radeon HD 6870 for only $10: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    For the A8-3850 system, you recommend the Crucial M4 64GB, because it is very reliable, but then go on to recommend an OCZ Vertex 3 SSD, one of the worst SSD when it comes to reliability, for the $1000 System? What the? Better stick with a Crucial M4 or a Samsung 830 series SSD for performance and reliability here.

    You mention adding a second 6850 for Crossfire. However, the recommend Biostar TZ68A+ motherboard second 16x PCI-Express slot is limited to 4x.

    Other than that, your recommendations are sound. Thanks for the article and your hard work on it.

    For the $1200 build, just want to point out that the Corsair A70 CPU Cooler is a whole lot cheaper at Amazon.

    Also, I'd personally go with a Crucial M4 128GB instead of the Intel 320 series. Crucial M4 SSDs offer great reliability and performance is way higher than the 320 series.

    "AMD's HD 7000 series should come out in the not-too-distant future, but we can't share any details" - Looking forward to that ;)

    My 2 cents,
    Mathieu
    Reply
  • aznofazns - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    100% agree with the alternatives you listed. Llano A8 is ill-suited to midrange systems housed in midtower cases. It's a better solution if you're looking to build a mATX or mini ITX PC in which conserving space is more important and performance is less important.

    The i3-2120 will give the A8-3850 an ass-whoopin in the majority of tasks. Media creation still favors the quad-core A8, but not by a lot. See here: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4476/amd-a83850-revi...

    Entry level HD6670 will also destroy the GPU on the A8, but it doesn't end there. Since the HD6670 has its own DDR3 (or even quad-pumped GDDR5) VRAM, you won't need to spend an extra ~$30 on the faster 1866MHz DDR3 RAM to improve graphics performance. Your average DDR3 1333 will provide plenty of bandwidth to the i3.
    Reply
  • bji - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    I think "ass-whoopin" is very overstated. It is true that the i3 is 20% - 30% faster in about 75% of Anand's benchmarks, the majority of which are single threaded or (likely) optimized specifically for Intel processors. The A8 comes out ahead on many of the multithreaded benchmarks (although by a much smaller margin than it loses by on the others).

    I don't consider this an "ass-whoopin". That would be considerably faster (50% or more) on all benchmarks. The i3 isn't even close to that.

    I have found that 20% to 30% better performance on single threaded tasks is typically not even noticeable. I have also found that for my most important workloads (parallel software compiles) more cores is the most important factor, and I believe that the most demanding applications are heavily multithreaded which makes the i3's advantage in single threaded apps less significant.

    One place where the i3 clearly shines over the A8 is gaming performance (assuming that both systems are using dedicated cards, which really isn't fair to the A8 since its integrated graphics are so good), but seriously, who even cares about gaming performance of PCs anymore? There is a reason that graphics card development has slowed: consoles drive the technical requirements of games, so better gaming performance of a PC is, for most people, completely irrelevant.

    I don't want to say that the A8 is a better chip than the i3, but I don't want to hear overblown conclusions about the i3 giving the A8 an "ass-whoppin" either. The A8 for many users can be a better chip, and for others the i3 can be better. It depends on workload and for most casual users, the differences would never be noticed anyway.
    Reply
  • aznofazns - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    "I don't consider this an "ass-whoopin". That would be considerably faster (50% or more) on all benchmarks. The i3 isn't even close to that."

    You're entitled to your definition of the term, but I consider anywhere from 25-50% better IPC an ass-whoopin. Take a look at Cinebench, Mediaespresso, and Photoshop benchmarks results (not just on Anandtech, but other reviews too).

    In the multi-threaded situations in which the A8 takes the lead, it only wins by 10-15%. If you primarily use your PC for these types of workloads, the A8 may be worthwhile. But I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume the majority of users this build is designed for will gladly trade 10-15% multi-threaded performance for 25-50% higher IPC.

    "One place where the i3 clearly shines over the A8 is gaming performance (assuming that both systems are using dedicated cards, which really isn't fair to the A8 since its integrated graphics are so good), but seriously, who even cares about gaming performance of PCs anymore?"

    Tell that to all the hardcore PC gamers out there. With recent titles like BF3 and Skyrim, PC gaming is still very relevant. If you're not breaking that magical 60fps barrier in most games, you will notice. Also, with 120Hz monitors becoming more prevalent, don't you think gamers would find it worthwhile to invest in a faster CPU?

    "It depends on workload and for most casual users, the differences would never be noticed anyway."

    This is completely true, but what percentage of casual users would be spec-ing out and building a custom desktop like this in the first place? The argument that "you wouldn't notice anyway" doesn't justify spending the same amount of money on a CPU that performs worse in most situations.
    Reply
  • bji - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    Your points are all good and well taken. I personally happily trade per-core IPC for greater multithreaded efficiency because I have no single-threaded tasks that I need better performance on, but do have multithreaded tasks (parallel compiles of large software) that benefit immensely from multi core. But not everyone has the same needs as me, which was kind of my point; you can't say that one chip is objectively better than the other, it depends on your workload.

    I think that perhaps the real problem here is that there is some inconsistency between the concept of a build-it-yourself low-end system and the target audience.

    Only enthusiasts are qualified to take the advice of a build-it-yourself article, and enthusiasts almost always will have requirements that take them out of the low-end system market.

    And those enthusiasts who actually do need a low-end system probably have a better idea of the specific requirements that would guide their decisions on topics such as CPU choice better than the article writer ever could, so trying to create a one-size-fits-all CPU choice for the enthusiast is an exercise in futility.
    Reply
  • aznofazns - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    You definitely have a point here. Enthusiasts probably would not build a low-end machine like this to serve as their primary PC. And a "one-size-fits-all CPU" is definitely an exercise in futility, as you mentioned.

    I still like to think that *most* enthusiasts looking to build a budget rig like this (for basic gaming, HTPC, whatever) will be more satisfied with the i3 Sandy Bridge + HD6670 configuration.

    It's always down to the individual user, but I think the Llano A8 chip would serve a better purpose in a slightly different type of system, like a low-profile mini-ITX HTPC.

    Regardless, I think your arguments are valid, and your comment on the target audience is one that didn't really cross my mind.
    Reply
  • xgrifter - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    The A8 beats the i3 in gaming should just look at the article at pc perspective http://www.pcper.com/news/Graphics-Cards/Video-Per... Reply
  • aznofazns - Thursday, December 08, 2011 - link

    That's looking at the integrated graphics performance of both chips. Pair each one with a mid to high end GPU and the picture changes completely. Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    For a lower level system mAtx makes a lot of sense; except that it should've been bundled with an mAtx case as well if not at a half width SFF one. It's target audience is unlikely to ever use an expansion card at all, except perhaps if they decide to go with internal wifi so they don't have to worry about the USB dongle falling off. Less space on the desk OTOH is always a bonus. Reply
  • FATCamaro - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    I like your opinions & alternatives. You should write some articles yourself. Reply
  • medi01 - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    It's funny to read about "superior gaming systems" without discrete graphic card.

    For this review to be honest, it had to include A3850 + discrete graphic card configuration. (which would still be cheaper than Intel config).

    AMD motherboard costing more than Intel's look strange, to say the least.
    Reply
  • Z Throckmorton - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    Hi Mathieu - Thank you very much for your thorough, informative, and polite post! I very much appreciate it.

    I recognize that an i3-2100+6670 combination is in many ways superior to the A8-3850 I outlined in the guide. However, having assembled many of both systems, for the average user, it really is, in my opinion, a wash. Especially if you're not using a 1080P monitor, as I mentioned in the text of the guide. In my experience the i3 is better under lighter usage scenarios but the A8 wins in more involved multitasking scenarios. This isn't something that can be illustrated with benchmarks, it's really something you have to experience in person performing a familiar workflow. That, and the fact that the A8 idles and loads at a lower power draw are the primary reasons I gave it the nod in the guide. While the upgradeability of an i5 or i7 is definitely a bonus for an i3 rig, the primary intent of this article was to outline systems that will last for five years as they are described. And while enthusiasts have no trouble swapping CPUs and such, adding components as I mentioned in the other builds is always easier than swapping parts.

    I do disagree with your assertion that a PCIe x4 slot will bottleneck a 6850. Poke around online and there are numerous articles illustrating that it will not.

    Your point about mentioning where additional cables are necessary is appreciated - I've forgotten that in a previous guide - hopefully it won't take more than twice for me to learn my lesson.

    Thanks again for your comments!
    Reply
  • fmofmofmo - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    But according to this site, Liano is more then 39x faster then core i3-2100

    http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2011/07/just-realized...

    I'm bit sarcastic to post this link because the site is so amd-biased that it's funny.

    AMD FX 8150 clearly beats Sandy Bridge i7-2700K
    http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2011/11/amd-fx-8150-c...

    AMD FX does frag Sandy Bridge after all
    http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2011/10/amd-fx-does-f...
    Reply
  • cjs150 - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    Got admit I like the 2500K system.

    Anyhow I like Micro-atx boards, I just cannot think what to include in a normal build which needs all the slots of a full ATX board.

    If you want the dubious pleasures of SLI/Crossfire fine (but why not use a single card with dual GPUs).

    Would be more happy when the old PCI slots are fazed out and only PCIe slots are in.

    As a water cooling fanboy I am intending to use the Fractal cases for next build so I definitely approve
    Reply
  • TerdFerguson - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    Great comment. You're the guy I"d want building my machine. For that matter, you're the guy I'd want writing the articles. THanks Reply
  • slippyrocks - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    llano cpu is equal to an ancient athlon ii x4
    llano cpu is smoked by the $70 sandy bridge pentium would that not make more sense on the low end
    gfx w/ hdmi are included on-chip sandy bridge
    or HD 6450 cost $40 right now for more fps
    $20 ar corsair CX400v2 will power most any setup
    go with the cheapest ssd c400 or vertex 3 they are both good and proven
    cheaper mechanical drives can still be found on sale <$80 1TB
    llano never made sense to me outside of laptops your are paying more for less
    Reply
  • shivoa - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    On the 2500K system you specified a 60GB SSD and back-up spinning drive (as games hit 20GB installs the advice to only put OS and apps on the SSD makes sense). Obviously these aren't being budgeted as totally gaming focussed boxes (maybe there is a case for waiting for a die shrink on buying a gaming box right now, unless the mainstream well priced cards take a while to release or hit these value prices for great performance) but I think no mention of SRT is amiss here.

    Unless there are details I haven't read about, then SRT seems like an ideal option for a light gaming rig with a 60GB SSD to provide those 50%+ faster load times in games that the Anand benchmarks indicated when looking at what a basic 40GB SSD could do with SRT. The OS and common apps should be picked up by the caching and so be close to SSD speeds for any large reads and as the i7 rig is the one designed for processing intensive tasks the low write speeds probably wouldn't be a major issue. My experience with SRT is rather positive for a gaming focussed machine.
    Reply
  • Calin - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    "You might also have noticed that we skipped out on keyboards,"
    I'm still using at home a AT keyboard (with adapter), so decent keyboards do indeed last a long time (and in many cases, old keyboards feel better than many new ones)
    Reply
  • WiZARD7 - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    There is no VGA in the 1200$ system? Reply
  • WiZARD7 - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    I can't read, it writes:
    "You lose the ability to game as this PC has no discrete video card (and the integrated Intel graphics are not gaming-level). "

    sorry.
    Reply
  • Bty - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    AMD's HD 7000 series should come out in the not-too-distant future, but we can't share any details on where those will rank right now.

    ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!
    Reply
  • antef - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    Yeah, does this mean they do know where they will rank but just can't share it yet? Reply
  • Mathieu Bourgie - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    Well, AMD did announce that they would launch the 7xxx this year and with less than 3 weeks before Christmas, the launch could any day now.

    Usually, reviewers get several days, if not 1-2 weeks+ to test products, so Ryan could very well be testing some Radeon HD 7xxx cards as I write this ;)

    Thing is, all reviewers who get products before launch have to sign a NDA (Non disclosure agreement), which prohibits them from talking about any specifics/performance regarding the product.

    Assuming that he is, the question here is: Which 7xxx cards is it? The higher-end ones (a la 6950/6970), mainstreams ones (a la 6850/6870) or lower-end ones?

    Only time will tell. Hopefully sooner than later :D
    Reply
  • Will Robinson - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    I agree a good SSD makes a big difference to the feel and function of the rig.
    I recently installed a Patriot Wildfire SSD 120GB running Win 7 64-bit and it is impressive.
    Great bang for the buck.
    Reply
  • demonbug - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    Definitely agree, my 64 GB SSD has made a world of difference. It provides plenty of space for OS and applications; games go on my spinning drive.

    It can be a pain to manage manually, though, as even if you tell Windows to put all your documents etc. on the HDD there are a lot of programs that will ignore this and automatically put things on your SSD (they seem to assume that your document folders are in the standard location and don't bother checking or asking where you want to put user data). This is probably where the Z68 method of using the SSD as a cache drive would be really nice (I put my system together about a year before Z68 came out), just to save you the trouble of managing things by hand when software companies are idiots (biggest issue I ran into was actually Amazon's downloader - not only does it prevent you from selecting a download location, once it downloads it also unpacks without asking you where to put it; when the program you are downloading is 10 GB [BF3], meaning you actually need 20 GB+ free on a 64 GB SSD, this is an issue).
    Reply
  • stanwood - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    Some of the geeks who read your site don't game. But we do use our computers for work. So I really appreciate the high-end "worker" build.

    One question. My current setup chokes in RAW image processing in Adobe Lightroom 3. Is HT in the 2600K likely to help here? (does LR3 make good use of multi-threading?)
    Reply
  • Z Throckmorton - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    Hi Stanwood - I do a bit of image processing in Lightroom 3, and when rendering previews, LR3 pegs all eight 'cores' of my i7-2600K. So it is worth considering springing the extra $100 on the 2600K vs the 2500K. If nothing else, you can always buy both chips, compare them, and then sell the chip you don't end up keeping. The 2500K and 2600K hold their values very well and you'd likely only end up losing out $20-30. Reply
  • LeftSide - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    Stanwood, it would help to know what your current hardware is. My old system would stutter while editing, viewing, and processing raw images. It was a q6600 with 4gb of ram.
    My new system is a an 2500k with 8gb of ram, and it runs smooth. I think the ram was my biggest bottle neck, although I now edit my RAWs on a separate hard drive that has no programs installed on it. I can see how you could choke down a system if windows, lightroom, and the raw files are all on the same HD.
    Reply
  • stanwood - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the response Zach! I will go with the 2600K.

    LeftSide, currently I have no desktop system. Only a T61 notebook that I dock into a nice big Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP display. The Thinkpad runs Win7pro 64 on a C2D T9300 @ 2.5GHz with 4GB ram and an NVidia Quadro NVS 140M with 128MB . I run LR3 in 64-bit.

    For most work this system has been great. And of course I can move easily to the couch. But once I started to take pictures in RAW and process them I noticed the limitations. It works (choke was really an exageration) but life is a bit slow. Also ripping DVDs to put onto my HDD for travel takes a while.

    My work issued laptop is a newer T410 but has a comparable processor. And it can really slow down when I have lots of PPT and XLS files open, plus running Emacs, Exceed, Lotus Notes and Lotus Sametime. For work my system seems to be CPU and RAM limited.

    So I'm thinking to build myself a more powerful desktop system and use it for work, photo processing, and ripping DVDs. A SB system on Z68 with HD3000 graphics seems like a good start. I can spend my money on CPU cores, RAM, and an SSD. And I get access to Quicksync. I don't game but I may later try out a retail dGPU and see it it helps. If not I'd return it.

    I can always couch surf on my T61 and there's an excuse to start eyeing tablets . . .
    Reply
  • Achilles97 - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    Is it really worth spending $140 on a case in a $1000 build? That's 14%. What about a $60 Antec 300 Illusion? Reply
  • tsnorquist - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    I'm with you. Get a cheaper case and invest in a video card. Reply
  • erple2 - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    Normally, I'd agree with you. However, that $140 case will last you as long as you want it to, probably through several "builds". And that's where the niceness of the $140 case comes into play.

    If you plan on throwing everything out on the next "upgrade", then case prices don't really matter all that much. But I can tell you that I've enjoyed working on my Antec P182 case for the past 3 builds I've made for it. It's more than paid for its $140 price tag IMO.

    Had I only made a single build, and trashed it for the next one, I'd agree with you. So, if you intend to reuse as much as you can for the "next" build (which, by the wording in the article seems to be "2016"), maybe that doesn't matter that much. But then again, saving 80 dollars over 7 years is only about 12 dollars per year. Is that worth it? Particularly if the cheaper cases are more difficult to live with? I dunno.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    Depends how often you upgrade your systems. Cases from 5 years ago often won't hold modern full length GFX cards, are generally lacking in PSU mounts with external intake, won't have behind the board cable management, and will have obsolete front panel connectors. I don't know what to expect over the next 5 years; but I do assume our current state of the art cases will be found lacking in multiple must have feeatures for a good enclosure. Reply
  • shivoa - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    My Lian Li PC-60 is a great ATX case from 11 and a half years ago. Thank God we never migrated to BTX or I might have had to worry about buying a new box to put my PC in.

    It has no concerns with the current length of PCI-E cards, has a fully removable back and motherboard tray design that makes working with it a pleasure, and the dual 80mm front, single read + PSU exhaust isn't the most cutting edge design but it can still do the job (and over the years I've done some refinement of the air flows to help the case keep cool and quiet). Yes, the PSU it top mounted so the design is a bit more top heavy but the general design is just fine and shows what a long term purchase a good case can me.

    Will we still be using ATX in 11-12 more years? I doubt it, but you can't look at the past and say it invalidates purchasing a case with a long term view.
    Reply
  • Ananke - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    Get a Lian Li. Very few, if any, can compare.
    For a workstation, I would recommend PC-90. For a budget choice PC-9F or K9.
    intel 2500k is good for Adobe and video processing, if you have the money get the 2600k and Z68 Asus board. Get 16GB RAM, it is cheap anyway. More RAM is better for RAW files postprocessing.
    Reply
  • kmmatney - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    It would be real useful if the Anandtech GPU Benchmark app included on-board graphics, as well as older cards. It's a pain to try and see if the Llano GPU will be better than an old Radeon X850, or how it compares to an HD4830. Reply
  • mrjoltcola - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    Agree; for that matter it would help if GPU bench would allow comparison across all cards, old and new. I frequently think in terms of "8800GTX" performance when comparing something new, and frustingly I cannot do that in GPU Bench. Reply
  • Burticus - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    Interesting read... but I could put together that A8 system for under $500 compared to your $800 just by glancing at the online sales today. But I understand this is a guideline and you can't reflect sale prices in realtime.

    I would not go the $140 case/power supply route with that one though. A8 is screaming "bargain power" and as such I'd be looking at a smaller/cheaper case. Microcenter has the Thermaltake V3 for $28 after MIR.. this is a very nice small case. Add a 500 watt Thermaltake TR2 power supply for $35 after MIR. That is a nice small case with a decent power supply for $63. Just one example of many....

    One more thing... why not include a Phenom II x4 / x6 "going out of business" option? Retailers are practically giving them away now. Microcenter has Phenom II X4 850 for $59 and X6 1055T for $119 (with a free mobo).

    It's a bad time to be buying mechanical hard drives, but for the budget systems I don't feel SSD is the answer. You can still score a 500gb 7200rpm sata drive for $75ish or cheaper if you get refurb/reconditioned. That price is over double what it should be, but still compared to a $80 64gb SSD offers better value.

    Just my opinion.
    Reply
  • Dug - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    The Intel system could of used the same power supply and case that you used in the AMD build, bringing the price even closer.
    You don't mention any overclocking, so you could save another $30 on the cpu.

    And I can't imagine recommending the OCZ. Just get a Crucial M4.
    The power supply you recommend is also on the shit list on Newegg for doa and failures.
    Reply
  • frozentundra123456 - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    Just cant see spending 800.00 for a Llano system when 200.00 more can get a much superior CPU and GPU. If using Llano I would want the system to be much cheaper. I still think that the graphics, while good for an integrated unit are just too mediocre for an 800.00 system. I mean, my 2 year old 9800GT that I got on sale for 70.00 is probably faster. But I am looking at the system from a gaming standpoint. If you dont game, I suppose the APU is good enough, but if you dont game, even the HD Sandy Bridge graphics and an i3 2120 might be good enough. Reply
  • bhima - Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - link

    Sure, you'll boot up faster and programs will load faster but for those that actually want to game on their system, an SSD does literally NOTHING for their gaming experience. I'd rather have an extra $100 to spend on a better video card, like a 6950 or 560 ti. SSDs are nice, but if you are on a budget, and you like to game, the SSD is much less important than a strong video card. Reply
  • antef - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    You said...

    "AMD's HD 7000 series should come out in the not-too-distant future, but we can't share any details on where those will rank right now."

    Does this mean you have details but can't share them due to NDA, or are you just saying you don't yet know where those will rank just like the rest of us. The timing of the release of those cards really makes the difference about whether I build over the holiday or not.
    Reply
  • cjmurph - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    You state the $1000 build as suitable for CAD work. Not happening. Two 1080p monitors running microstation and intelligence graphics turn to water, flickering and arrifacting like mad.Any chappy dedicated card will fix it, but it won't work as it is. Reply
  • cjmurph - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    Damn auto correct. Reply
  • duploxxx - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    Would there be ANY reason why to take the crucial which cost 110$ while at the same time for the higher end design you take an OCZ for 100$ with 20$ rebate...

    also for a budget Liano design there is not a single reason to buy the Asus PRO, the normal version has just a few less USB ports (not needed more) and costs again less

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    but on the 2500 you take the cheapest mobo just to be able to squeze in the budget of the 1000$ with rebates

    balance and compare designs, it's like the systems have been put together by different people
    Reply
  • vigeeta - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    is it just me .. or.. there is no video card on the 2600k system? and no price? Reply
  • miyomiyochan - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    Ya, where is the GPU in the 2600k system? Reply
  • spigzone - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    Your 3850 component choices are weird.

    A $100 computer case for a low power NON gaming dedicated computer for why? when an Antec 300 goes for $50 - HALF the price.

    1866 RAM when 1333 RAM goes for HALF the price. Wtf does a Llano build need 1866 RAM for?

    Why not get a 120GB SSD and wait for the prices on TB drives to drop back down?
    Reply
  • PVitty - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    Good article... I compared your build with my i5-2500K setup and it's pretty similar except for the GPU... I have a Radeon 6570. Here's my full spec list. I think I did good :)

    Component Amt Paid (after Rebate)

    i5-2500K + Gigabyte Z68AP-D3 $238
    Antec 300 Mid-Tower ATX $40
    OCZ ModXStream 600W PSU $40
    24x Lite-On DVD+/-RW $15
    Corsair XMS3 8GB DDR3 1600Mhz $30
    Gigabyte Radeon 6570 DDR3 $40
    Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus $22
    Intel 320 Series 120GB SSD $110
    Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB $80
    Additional Case Fans (3) $10
    Rosewill RC-103 USB Adaptor $10

    Total $635
    Reply
  • anirudhs - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    I would drop the i5-2500K and go with the i3-2105 because it has HD3000. I would then drop the Radeon 6850 and go with an audio card from HT | Omega (Hope I got that right). i3-2105 and A8-3850 is perhaps a more equal comparison. Reply

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