System Builder Marathon, Sept. '09: $1,250 Enthusiast Build

System Builder Marathon, September 2009: The Articles

Here are links to each of the four 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. Keep an eye on this space; this is where we'll post the link to enter the contest for all three systems once the series concludes!

Day 1: The $650 Gaming PC
Day 2: The $1,250 Enthusiast PC
Day 3: The $2,500 Performance PC
Day 4: Performance and Value Dissected

Introduction

I'm fully prepared for the legions of people who will call me crazy for the path I have chosen in this month's $1,250 System Builder Marathon (SBM) build, which addresses the legions of readers who wanted to see a series based on AMD-based platforms. A part of me would have liked to play it safe, but sometimes a hardware reviewer has to do what a hardware reviewer has to do. So, with my colleague Thomas Soderstrom wielding double my budget, I went outside the box a little bit to see if I could work a little magic from my build to keep this little competition interesting.

The heart of this beat remains fairly basic for a $1,250 AMD-based box: there's a nice Phenom II X4 945 CPU, 4GB of low-latency DDR3 memory, a premium 790FX-based motherboard, a solid power supply, and a good case. It's the choice of graphics cards--well, more specifically, the quantity of graphics cards where I left the tried-and-true formula behind:

$1,250 Enthusiast AMD PC Parts Prices
Motherboard

MSI 790FX-GD70
AMD 790FX, AM3

$165

Processor

AMD Phenom II X4 945
Four Cores, 3.0 GHz, 6MB Cache

$170

Memory

Patriot 4GB (2 x 2GB) PVS34G1333LLKN
Dual-Channel Memory Kit

$85

Graphics

4 x Gigabyte GV-R485OC-1GH Radeon HD 4850 in CrossFire
1GB GDDR3-1996 Per Card, 700 MHz GPU

$480

Hard Drive

Western Digital Caviar Black
640 GB, 32 MB cache

$75

Optical

Sony Optiarc AD-7240S-0B
DVD Burner SATA

$33

Case

NZXT Tempest ATX Tower

$100

Power

PC Power & Cooling S75CF, ATX12V 2.2, 80-Plus Certified

$120

CPU Cooler

Xigmatek Dark Knight S1283

$37

 

Total Cost

$1,265


That's right folks, it's not a typo--there are four graphics cards in this $1,250 build. Read on, and I'll explain.

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  • mi1ez
    Quote:
    And remember, these systems are all being given away at the end of the marathon. Keep an eye on this space; this is where we'll post the link to enter the contest for all three systems once the series concludes!


    And remember folks, this competition is NOT open to UK residents!
    0
  • rickbmb
    Nice !
    Interesting choice going with 4 cards, i wonder how much difference you would get with 2 x 4890, i bet it'd be real close to the 4 x 4850.
    0
  • jimishtar
    four cards is simply stoopid. i mean, its 4850, who needs four of them??
    -1
  • broken_sticks
    if i won that machine, i'd swiftly put two of those GPUs to better use...
    0
  • devilxc
    I assume the price for the intel computer was what it was in April and not now? If that is the case; the intel computer is cheaper, better at everything excluding gaming, about the same at gaming and cheaper to upgrade (2 cards instead of 4).

    Just a thought.
    0