System Builder Marathon: $1,250 Enthusiast PC

System Builder Marathon, November 2008: The Articles

Here are links to each of the three articles in this month’s System Builder Marathon (we’ll update them as each story is published).

  • Day 1: The $650 Gaming PC
  • Day 2: The $1,250 Mid-Range PC
  • Day 3: Performance and Value, Dissected


We got a lot of feedback from our last System Builder Marathon concerning the choice of words used to describe that $1,500 machine. A lot of readers just didn’t think a water-cooled box priced at $1,500 could be called "mainstream," so we’ve taken this into consideration and lowered the price range a bit. We’ll also be careful not to reuse that naughty term this time around, since it seems to be such a subjective word. Instead, with this builder’s eye toward great bang-for-the-buck performance coupled with high overclocking expectations, we’re calling it the "enthusiast" system.

With plenty of requests steering us clear from water-cooling and luxury components, like $180 cases, we’ve re-focused on good value-oriented performance parts, spec’d a good air cooler, and decided to leave the luxurious extras to you folks for this mid-range $1,250 machine.

We even went to the forums to get some feedback as to the direction our readers would like to see us take the $1,250 system. So let’s see how this month’s components stack up:

$1250 Mid-Range System Components
Component Model Price (USD)
CPU Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 190
CPU Cooler Xigmatek HDT-S1283 (& ACK-I7751 Retention Bracket) 42
Motherboard DFI LanParty X38-T2R 175
RAM PNY XLR8 2 x 4GB 60
Graphics Powercolor Radeon 4870 X2 529
Hard Drives Western Digital Caviar black 640GB 32 MB cache 85
Sound Integrated 0
Network Integrated Gigabit Networking 0
Case Antec Three Hundred 55
Power Antec Neo 650W 90
Optical LITE-ON 20X DVD±R SATA Model iHAS120-04 24
Total Price $1,250

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  • Anonymous

    The 1 GHZ overclock makes a massive performance leap

    Time to overclock my pathetic amd 4200 and ati x1300 :(
  • Anonymous
    Great work folks, much appreciated.

  • mi1ez
    Much better than last time.
  • ukctstrider
    Is it just me that's sick and tired of these imported articles for the UK site?
    Can we have a system built from parts ordered from UK suppliers with UK prices please!
  • waxdart
    ukctstrider > I don't think they could afford it!.

    Just change the $ to a £ and you'll be about right. (sadly)
  • Anonymous
    Just built a system up from a UK site and price came to £880 inc VAT. The system didn't have an X38 only a P38 however as i couldn't get X38's from this site and the X48's were expensive. The price did however include a Seasonic S12 power supply, 1TB of disc space and a £50 CPU cooler.