System Builder Marathon, March 2012: $1250 Enthusiast PC

System Builder Marathon, March 2012: The Articles

Here are links to each of the five articles in this quarter’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, including the Bonus Customer Choice PC, which we picked out using the highest-rated components in Newegg's feedback system.

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

Day 1: The $650 Gaming PC
Day 2: The $1250 Enthusiast PC
Day 3: The $2600 Performance PC
Day 4: Performance And Value, Dissected
Day 5: Bonus Newegg Customer Choice PC


Up until now, we've used Intel’s Core i5-2500K in our mid-range enthusiast builds without ever having been disappointed. We gave AMD’s lower-priced FX-6100 a chance last time around, but that build wasn’t very successful. Despite its impressive graphics subsystem (a powerful pair of Radeon HD 6950 cards in CrossFire), it just couldn't compete.

I suppose we could crawl back to the Core i5-2500K, begging for forgiveness. It's the safe bet, after all. But we're tired of making it, and we're never going to learn anything new if we go down that road again.

No. This time we’ll try something a little different, and we’ll give up some of the processor and platform budget to make room for a shiny new Radeon HD 7970. We think the result has the potential to be a very capable gaming machine.

$1250 Enthusiast System Components
MotherboardASRock P67 Pro3 SE
LGA 1155, Intel P67 Express PCH
ProcessorIntel Core i5-2400
3.1 GHz (3.4 GHz Max Turbo Boost), Quad-Core, 6 MB Shared L3 Cache
CPU Cooler
Cooler Master Hyper TX3$20
MemoryMushkin Enhanced Redline 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) 240-Pin DDR3-1600 Kit
Dual-Channel Desktop Memory Kit
GraphicsPowerColor Radeon HD 6970
  3 GB GDDR5
Hard DriveCrucial m4 64 GB SATA III SSD
64 GB, SATA 3Gb/s
Hard DriveHitachi Deskstar 750 GB
750 GB, 7200 RPM, 32 MB Cache SATA 3Gb/s
OpticalSamsung TS-H353C OEM
DVD Burner
CaseApevia X-Trooper Junior
PowerCorsair TX650 V2 650 W
ATX12V, EPS12V, 80 PLUS-Certified
 Total Cost$1263

Prices haven't changed much between the time we ordered our parts and now, though Priced haven’t changed much since we ordered the system, although Crucial’s m4 SSD did go up by $5. The original price of this box ducked in just over our $1250 budget. Now we're slightly north of $1260.

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  • naveenk
    Why is it mentioned PowerColor Radeon HD 6970 in the specs list, but 7970 in rest of the article.....Bad typo
  • 13thmonkey
    so you crippled the build to save £18 on the processor, although I suppose it meant you could choose a P67 mobo. doesn't seem to be a good move.