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?
Case, Cooling, And Power
With much of our budget blown on performance-oriented parts, we're left to split $280 among the system’s case, cooling, and power supply. Overclocking headroom was a big concern, so we started with our favorite $50 cooler and a high-value, high-quality power supply. That left only $85 for the case.
Case: Cooler Master Storm Enforcer
An $85 case budget didn’t mean we had to be cheap, though. Nor did it force us to choose between build quality and cooling. Indeed, we already found a case priced at exactly $85 that surpasses the minimum level of quality and cooling required to make this system a true high-end build.
Although we would have preferred an unassuming black box for our highest-priced build, we simply couldn’t argue against the value of Cooler Master’s gaming-themed Storm Enforcer.
Cooling Surprise: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo
We selected a top-performing $50 CPU cooler for a build sheet that totaled $2,000, only to watch Newegg deactivate its listing before we could buy it. That's probably for the best if you wouldn't have been able to follow our lead a month later, anyway.
Nevertheless, we contacted the manufacturer to find out when Newegg might be getting more supply, only to discover that Scythe USA would no longer be selling CPU coolers. International customers like Newegg might be able to get theirs from Scythe Taiwan, but not in time to make our deadline.
Receiving a modest evaluation in Big Air: 14 LGA 2011-Compatible Coolers For Core i7-3000, Reviewed, Cooler Master’s Hyper 212 Evo was the next-best sub-$50 cooler Newegg had available. Using it trimmed $15 from our tally.
Power Supply: Corsair HX750
The reason many enthusiasts recommend oversized power supplies is that many cheaper units can't deliver their full rated output stably or efficiently. But why would anyone want a mediocre power supply? Corsair’s HX750 continuously shows itself capable of reliably supplying its rated capacity, even after several generations of improvements.
Those improvements have primarily focused on efficiency, and the unit now comes with an 80 PLUS Gold rating that compelled us to choose it over similarly-capable, less-efficient competitors.
- 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?