System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: System Value Compared

Results: File Compression

The $800 and $1,000 builds trade blows in file compression, with the $800 machine wining WinRAR and the $1,000 machine zipping ahead in our OpenCL-accelerated WinZip benchmark. Hardware similarities mean that differences here can be credited to, or blamed on, minor configuration differences between builders.

The $600 PC trails closely behind.

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  • thymanbearpig
    You would think with an extra $200 you can get a noticeable difference in fps..
  • plasmaj12345
    thymanbearpigYou would think with an extra $200 you can get a noticeable difference in fps..


    The only real difference between the $800 and $1000 PC is that the $1000 has an SSD. They both have the same CPU, RAM, and GPU. Gaming should be about the same on both.
  • saxplayingcompnerd
    @thymanbearpig They use the same GPU, most games are GPU bottle-necked. That's how they get nearly the same FPS.
  • mayankleoboy1
    Something i posted last quarter too :

    Why would all the machines have same percent emphasis on games and productivity apps ? Why would a $600 gaming PC be evaluated similarly to a $800 enthusiast PC ? The percentwise distribution of each metric should be based on what usage the build was meant for.

    Something like : games, apps, storage.

    $600 build : 85%, 15% . (cheapest, best gaming. Very few apps. Doesnt need fast storage. )
    $800 build : 55%, 35%, 10% (slightly better games over apps. Great apps. fast storage for OS + apps OR games)
    $1000 build. : 42.5%, 42.5%, 15% (equally good games and apps. fast storage should be plenty for OS+apps+games)
  • Crashman
    ankit0x1still waiting for 2000$ build
    How about building up the $1000 machine into a dual-GPU added-storage $1600 PC?
  • mayankleoboy1
    can we have a chart of the combined totals of :
    1) FPS in games
    2)time taken in apps
    for each build?

    so that we may draw our own conclusions from the data? I am not entirely satisfied with the conclusions you have drawn.
  • System Builder Marathons should use a $600, $1200, and $1800 dollar standard.
  • Crashman
    mayankleoboy1can we have a chart of the combined totals of :1) FPS in games2)time taken in appsfor each build?so that we may draw our own conclusions from the data? I am not entirely satisfied with the conclusions you have drawn.
    Percentages are just as accurate, you'll find those on Page 13 along with power numbers.
  • bdizzle11
    For next SBM how about a $800, $1200, $1600. A little bit higher but more spread. I think that would better determine the sweet spot...
  • atomicWAR
    Honestly i would like to see an up-graders marathon. With price points of 600, 800, 1000, 1300, 1600, 2000 covered all using the same case, CD/dvd, and mech HDD (not included in cost). Those are the most common carry over parts besides my water-cooling that carries over build to build. I believe it would be a very useful and realistic application of funds many of your readers could relate to.
  • Crashman
    bdizzle11For next SBM how about a $800, $1200, $1600. A little bit higher but more spread. I think that would better determine the sweet spot...
    I like that idea too! But the $800 PC...would that be the $600 PC with GPU upgrade and an added SSD? Because the $600 PC topped the charts this time.
  • Crashman
    atomicWARHonestly i would like to see an up-graders marathon. With price points of 600, 800, 1000, 1300, 1600, 2000 covered all using the same case, CD/dvd, and mech HDD (not included in cost). Those are the most common carry over parts besides my water-cooling that carries over build to build. I believe it would be a very useful and realistic use of funds many of your readers could relate to.
    That's an awesome idea too! We could get some old-fashioned Chieftech Dragon (or similarly-popular) cases, maybe some older 700W power supplies and hard drives, match everything and just change the platform. Anyone else think this is a good idea?
  • mayankleoboy1
    edit.
  • lunyone
    I would too like to see a system built with the Case/PSU/HD/DVD not included in the price, since most people building their own builds would most likely transfer those parts over (but I would probably upgrade the PSU, because it might be 4-5 yrs. old). So if we just didn't include the Case/HD/DVD into the cost than we could actually subtract about ($35 case/$50 HD/$20 DVD) $100-110 from the build costs on these SBM's. This would leave us with $500/$700/$900 build options, if we would like to consider those price points. I myself would like to see $400/$650/$900 builds with the above mentioned parts left out. This would get us a similar results, unless one would use a different GPU from the $650 to $900 build. One could possibly upgrade the GPU and get a 120/128gb SSD to fit within the $250 difference in price.
  • _Pez_
    maybe avoiding the same hardware between setups would be a better system comparison.

    I think that there is no point of comparison between the last two setups.... I would have picked an amd setup just to change things...
  • atomicWAR
    lunyoneI would too like to see a system built with the Case/PSU/HD/DVD not included in the price, since most people building their own builds would most likely transfer those parts over (but I would probably upgrade the PSU, because it might be 4-5 yrs. old). So if we just didn't include the Case/HD/DVD into the cost than we could actually subtract about ($35 case/$50 HD/$20 DVD) $100-110 from the build costs on these SBM's. This would leave us with $500/$700/$900 build options, if we would like to consider those price points. I myself would like to see $400/$650/$900 builds with the above mentioned parts left out. This would get us a similar results, unless one would use a different GPU from the $650 to $900 build. One could possibly upgrade the GPU and get a 120/128gb SSD to fit within the $250 difference in price.


    yeah i think the PSU is one always worth updating as it is the heart of any system.

    so maybe a psu/cpu/mobo/ram/cooling/graphic +what ever extras you can afford on said budget.
  • agnickolov
    I'd suggest stepping the budget up by $200 for the next SBM - $800, $1000, $1200.
  • agnickolov
    And a comment on the Visual Studio results - the $1000 machine's lead is almost exclusively due to the SSD, not the faster memory. C++ compilation has lots of disk I/O that dwarfs memory access. Speaking as a professional C++ developer myself.
  • Crashman
    _Pez_maybe avoiding the same hardware between setups would be a better system comparison.I think that there is no point of comparison between the last two setups.... I would have picked an amd setup just to change things...
    BS :) Seriously, if you think there's no point in comparing two similar systems, you're completely missing THE point. Two builders were given full license to build anything they wanted within their budgets, and you ended up with two of the same CPU and GPU because those parts were the parts that made the most sense from a value perspective.

    You're saying that these builds should have been coordinated, rather than competitive, and that a builder should have "took one for the team" by using inferior hardware? This was a competition, that's the point.
  • chesteracorgi
    I think the spread between the builds was too small to show a significant difference. I suggest that you increase the spread with $600/$900/$1200 or $700/$1100/$1500 targets. It would give the builders a better chance to differentiate their hardware.
  • pauldh
    ChesteracorgiI think the spread between the builds was too small to show a significant difference. I suggest that you increase the spread with $600/$900/$1200 or $700/$1100/$1500 targets. It would give the builders a better chance to differentiate their hardware.

    6/9/12 was another we had considered. The thing is, we've assumed $800 was the sweet spot, and $1000 was the reigning champ, so 6/8/10 was tha natural starting point.
  • pauldh
    CrashmanBS Seriously, if you think there's no point in comparing two similar systems, you're completely missing THE point. Two builders were given full license to build anything they wanted within their budgets, and you ended up with two of the same CPU and GPU because those parts were the parts that made the most sense from a value perspective.You're saying that these builds should have been coordinated, rather than competitive, and that a builder should have "took one for the team" by using inferior hardware? This was a competition, that's the point.

    Yes, this! Excellent reply, agree 100%!
    CrashmanI like that idea too! But the $800 PC...would that be the $600 PC with GPU upgrade and an added SSD? Because the $600 PC topped the charts this time.

    I’m game! And we continue to think alike. After what we have learned here, that is exactly what you will get from me at $800… The $600 PC + Tahiti LE (assuming these don’t disappear), 8GB RAM, slight power bump (mostly so I don’t need a molex adapter) and a 64-128GB (maybe a bit of a cheat, but a practical real-world use of an SSD on the cheap). If there are a few bucks left, then a bump in the case with USB 3.0 and an intake fan, (you got us there for sure). But prior to this experiment, I would have ended up right in Don’s camp, treating the SSD as a luxury and seeking an i5 K-series and big graphics.

    Nice write-up BTW, and I totally agree with the three winners analysis! We traded blows, (yet the irony, the non-K-series on boxed cooling, loses stock but wins overclocked!? lol) and Don’s was indeed the best "gaming rig" of the bunch. Pop Core-i3 into his, lose the $15 cooler, maybe shed some from the mobo, and IMO you get an affordable gaming beast! (edit: but of course, one that get's smoked in this competition.)
  • shadowhammer
    I think you have hit the sweet spot for value oriented builds. $600 to $1000 is a spot in the chain. Only $400 separates the builds from lowest to highest and the value ends up being close.

    This gives people witrh a lower budget the ability to game without breaking the bank while providing those with higher budgets the ability to add extras.

    I think that you forget a sweet spot is not looking for an exact dollar amount. It is looking for a spot or a range within which to work. That spot for value oriented builds looks to be between $600 and $1000.
  • matagilis
    Lower the cheap machine's price!

    It's amazing how much gaming performance you can get for not much, and many of us have very tight budgets