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Written by Vito Cassisi - Edited by Olin Coles   
Sunday, 27 June 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
Enthusiast Custom PC Build Q3-2010
The Battle Plan
The Builds
Enthusiast PC Build Alternatives

The Builds

After careful selection, these are the builds for Q3 – 2010. All prices are from NewEgg. Some items may have rebates which will reduce the overall price further. Be mindful that prices change regularly, and whilst every effort has been made to provide up to date prices, there's no guarantee they'll remain this way. Fortunately, prices tend to go down rather than up. :)

There’s three builds, two Intel and an AMD configuration. The aim is to cater for as many people as possible. Depending on your specific needs, you may wish to remove, change, or add components. No external peripherals or OS have been included.

The X58 Build

CPU: Intel Core i7 930 $290
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R $210
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 F3-12800CL8T-6GBRM $160
GPU: HIS HD 5870 1GB $390
Case: Silverstone Raven RV02-BW $160
DVD-RW: Pioneer DVR-218LBK OEM $25
Heatsink: Thermalright Venomous-X RT $75
PSU: XFX P1-650X-CAG9 650W $100
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB $90
Total: $1500

The X58 platform is Intel's current top tier package, paired with a LGA1366 socket capable of housing the performance king Core i7 9xx CPUs. Motherboards with a X58 chipset feature tri-channel memory capability and increased PCI-e bandwidth for multi-card setups.

Intel's Core i7 930 was chosen for its budget price, insane performance, and equally impressive overclockability. It's not uncommon to get this CPU to 4.2GHz on air cooling, and 4GHz is almost guaranteed. The Thermalright Venomous X was included for this purpose exactly (if you're willing), otherwise you can leave it out and pocket some change!

Ripjaws were chosen for the memory because of their great price and performance. The 1600MHz clock rate makes it effortless to obtain a high CPU overclock, and the CL8 latency is nothing to scoff at.

The GPU is an ATI HD5870 manufactured by HIS. This card is a high end part, suitable for demanding gaming sessions. It can support 3 displays simultaneously via Eyefinity. The reason we opted for such a card is because of its price point, which slots in nicely, and delivers remarkable performance.

Western Digital have been making fast and reliable drives for many years, and this 1TB offering is no exception. Plenty of storage for a good price.

The Silverstone Raven RV02 case houses the build. Its unique motherboard orientation allows for efficient airflow, and the positive air pressure prevents dust build-up inside the case. It's ultra quiet too!

Overall, this build is perfect for those who want the best platform without paying a fortune, or sacrificing features.

The P55 Build

Enthusiast-PC-System-Build-Q3-2010.jpgThe P55 platform was designed for cost effective performance. The LGA 1156 socket allows Intel's i7 860 to slip into the build; a high performance part with great overclocking potential.

4GB of Team Elite memory is provided, which compliments the dual-channel memory controller due to its two stick configuration.

The XFX 5850 card has been included for its great price to performance ratio. Fans of multi-card configurations may opt for 2 x HD5770 instead, which delivers more power, but requires games which scale well to two cards.

Of course, we're going to need a case, and Lian Li's K60 suits the bill nicely. Its great bundle of cooling fans, build quality, and affordable price make it hard to pass up.

Last but not least, the XFX 650W power supply has been included to bring life to the system. The single rail, high efficiency, high reliability design makes it the perfect choice for high-end gear and enthusiast tweaking.

If you're looking for a budget gaming rig, this is the way to go.

The 880G Build

Ahh, good ol' AMD. This setup sports the new Phenom II X6 1090T, the six core powerhouse without the price to match! This is the way to go for people who use multi-core aware applications often. Being a black edition, the multiplier is unlocked too, meaning you're all set to overclock it to within an inch of its life!

Due to the nature of AMDs current platforms, the components are very affordable. This 880G build shares components with both the P55 and X58 setups above. Keep in mind that the 880G chipset doesn't offer CrossFire, so if you plan on running two cards, consider the slightly more expensive Gigabyte GA-890GPA-UD3H, or a Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD5 for full 16x bandwidth on both cards (recommended for high-end cards).



# Exactly 2 months after he dissed the i7-930...Greg 2010-06-27 16:56
...Olin has finally seen the light and acquired one.
More power to him!

IMHO, it's the fastest processor that makes sense to buy right now.
(Micro Center sells it for $200.)
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# Seriously?Olin Coles 2010-06-27 16:59
LOL! I'm not the only person writing for Benchmark Reviews... this was Vito's project!

For the record, I never 'dissed' the i7-930 at all. I'm not even sure where you got that, because our previous discussion was about how more people had the i7-920.
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# These are configurations of PC lenses!Federico La Morgia 2010-06-27 23:20
I guess we just do not, these configurations are for enthusiast gamers, but gamers medium level.
If you want you can benchmark review I propose a configuration enthusiast gamers, since daily selling PCs because of this score:)
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# RE: Enthusiast Custom PC Build Q3-2010Robert17 2010-06-28 04:31
Well done!

I've upgraded continuously for 21 years tossing a few bucks at a time into replacing older components. When the kids were growing up I had three units networked which killed my ability to perform a new build. During those years a new build utilizing higher performance parts such as you list above, all modern and shiney new, would have cost a couple of thousand bucks easily. I recall performing the "dream" exercise a few times with an outcome of $3000 to $5000.

It's remarkable that such "hot rods" are relatively afordable these days. Just goes to show what free markets are all about. Now that the kids have left us empty nesting the upgrades are on a little quicker path and I'm enjoying my hobby with gusto. Thanks for your help, along with a few others, in keeping pace with the rapid changes.
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# NobodyJames the Hamster 2010-07-31 13:52
I have always wanted to do a build using the I7 920, now I think I will use the 930. Appreciate the info, and what I may need to build a decent build.
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# Building Custom PCRob Mills 2010-12-24 05:44
Great guide and packed full of tips - I was going to be attempting a custom build myself recently although it all started to look a little overwhelming when trying to get all the componenets together - I didn't realise that I have recently noticed a number of website systems such as where you can build your own system choosing the parts as you go like CPU, motherboard, graphics card etc so i might end up using something such as this - at least i can select the parts i require/need whilst keeping a close eye on budget as i am building it.

Would you recommend this or do you reckon i should just jump straight in and try building one myself? heh.
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# RE: Building Custom PCOlin Coles 2010-12-25 03:40
I recommend building the computer yourself. It's not very difficult, and there's plenty of instruction available (especially on this website). Plus, you'll be able to repair/upgrade your own system if it's ever necessary.
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