System Builder Marathon, June 2012: The Articles Here are links to each of the four articles in this quarter sSystem Builder Marathon (we ll update them as each story ispublished). And remember, these systems are all being given away atthe end of the marathon. To enter the giveaway, please fill out this SurveyGizmo 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 Introduction Halving our System Builder Marathon budgets each day makes it easyto compare value. We can say things like “twice as fast for fourtimes the money,” and often be accurate without a lot of mentalmath. ABL Laminated Tube
On the other hand, small changes to our cheapest PC s budget getmultiplied by four by the time they reach our high-end build. Whilethe $500 machine slowly climbed to $600 out of necessity, therereally wasn’t any good reason to add $400 to our flagship (evenconsidering events like last year’s spike in hard drive prices).So, our top-end machine eventually reached $2600 before Paulrealized that he no longer needed the extra $150 to create a reallysolid list of parts. So, we collectively punched the reset button. But then something almost magical happened in the meantime: Intellaunched its Ivy Bridge architecture, and Nvidia launched itsGeForce GTX 680. Toothpaste Tube
Whiplash-inducing game performance no longerrequired a pair of cards or a stupidly-large (and expensive)dual-GPU part. And Intel s new CPU technology gave us a perfectchance to ditch its pricey six-core Sandy Bridge-E and glorifiedP67 chipset. Using the latest hardware, we thought we might be able to constructa machine boasting equal-or-better performance in most applications for less money. The finished build looks eerily similar to a gaming PC, and that snot by mistake. Flat Oval Tube
Many of the parts in this high-end build werepicked in response to reader feedback. While former $2000+ machineswere designed to be multipurpose transcoding machines that couldgame well, the lighter-duty processor in this system started usdown the path of a gaming machine able to handle content creationin a passable way.