Page 1:From CPU To GPU: Shifting The Balance
Page 2:Graphics, CPU, And Motherboard
Page 3:Memory And Storage
Page 4:Case, Cooling, And Power
Page 5:Building Our $2,000 PC
Page 7:Benchmark And System Configurations
Page 8:Benchmark Results: 3DMark And PCMark
Page 9:Benchmark Results: SiSoftware Sandra
Page 10:Benchmark Results: Battlefield 3 And DiRT 3
Page 11:Benchmark Results: Skyrim And StarCraft II
Page 12:Benchmark Results: Audio And Video Encoding
Page 13:Benchmark Results: Productivity
Page 14:Power, Heat, And Efficiency
Page 15:Does This Quarter's Build Beat Our Previous Effort?
Building Our $2,000 PC
Even though our case is designed to allow easy CPU cooler installation, we had an even easier time getting everything set up out in the open. A support plate mounted behind the motherboard spreads the load of Cooler Master’s Hyper 212 Evo cooler.
Four standoffs inserted from the motherboard’s top side are secured to its underside via a quartet of nuts, holding the support plate in place prior to heat sink installation.
Attached with two clip-on brackets, removing the Hyper 212 Evo’s fan gives us access to the mounting bracket's screws. Each screw is held into bracket holes with a clip and two springs, and pulling a screw outward allows it to be slid into a different mounting position.
The Storm Enforcer’s 2.5” drive cage blocks half of our power supply's cable ends, making the feature appear as though it was added simply to pad the enclosure's specifications sheet without regard to its usefulness. Secured by two screws and two slide tabs, we simply remove it.
The case includes one 3.5” adapter, as does Mushkin’s SSD. We used the one that came with the SSD, along with two of its included screws.
Optional screw holes in Cooler Master’s drive rails lack recessed holes. So, we put the screws on the inside of the tray. With the screws now acting as locating pins, the enclosure's drive cage holds the rails firmly against the adapter tray.
Another set of holes in the adapter tray would have allowed it to be installed forward, placing its SATA connector on the same vertical plane as that of a 3.5” drive. We instead favored mechanical support near the mounting rail latches, as shown in the photo above.
Cooler Master’s Storm Enforcer holds our high end configuration with little room to spare, as MSI’s 11” Radeon HD 7970s push the limits of compatible card length.
An LED-equipped fan lights the front of our finished build in red, making it impossible to hide this case in a power user’s office. Although this wasn’t our intent, the combination of powerful graphics and playful aesthetics make this a gaming machine that can also do productive work, rather than vice versa.
- From CPU To GPU: Shifting The Balance
- Graphics, CPU, And Motherboard
- Memory And Storage
- Case, Cooling, And Power
- Building Our $2,000 PC
- Benchmark And System Configurations
- Benchmark Results: 3DMark And PCMark
- Benchmark Results: SiSoftware Sandra
- Benchmark Results: Battlefield 3 And DiRT 3
- Benchmark Results: Skyrim And StarCraft II
- Benchmark Results: Audio And Video Encoding
- Benchmark Results: Productivity
- Power, Heat, And Efficiency
- Does This Quarter's Build Beat Our Previous Effort?