politbureau Posted December 3, 2008 Posted December 3, 2008 Thought this might interest some. At the very least, it allows me to drink my coffee and avoid working My business partner Paul and I were cruising the web last week when we started seeing all the pre-black Friday marketing collateral start popping up on the web. Whether because of tanking markets, an uncertain consumer economic outlook or simple insanity, we noticed that a lot of the pricing seemed pretty good. Crazy good, in fact. After some deliberation, we decided to take a recently received government tax rebate (good 'ol GST... thanks Tory's), and try to stretch it as far as possible on Black Friday to build the most powerful gaming system possible. We would then give this to our good mate (and our one and only long-suffering employee) Mark. Mark had been squirreling away spare change (whatever his wife didn't get ahold of) to try and save for some semblance of a gaming rig for about 6 months now. The poor bastard had even given up coffee, a precious and highly worshipped commodity at our office, to save money. Plus we figured we owed him a nice bonus, since we've had rather a good year. So it came down to $1400. How many FPS could we jam into a steel box for $1400? Well, let's find out. After spending the better part of 2 days doing little to no work, we had settled on a basic configuration. Antec 900 $70 OCZ EliteXstream 800W $98 EVGA 750i FTW $179 Intel E8500 $229 G.Skill F2-8000C5D-4GBPQ $45 2x BFG GTX 260 $249 each Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme $66 Seagate 1TB $99 LiteON 20X DVD-RW $25 Total: $1060 + 7% GST = 1134.20 Wow. We had no idea this would be so cheap. Bear in mind that some of these prices are net of MIRs, but we figured since we are fairly conscientious, it was fair to include this discount. So we had spent less than $1400. Did we put the mouse down, pocket the change and go buy $5 lattes? Haha, well no, of course not. I mean we did go buy lattes, but we didn't stop there So with $248 before taxes to spend, we wanted to make a change that would achieve either (a) better performance, (b) longevity and future upgradability, or © utter coolness. We figured utter coolness was out, since $248 wasn't enough to make us even remotely hip. So it was down to performance or longevity. Or maybe both? Within budget, we calculated that we could move to a 780i platform and upgrade to Core 216 video cards. This would give us the possibility of tri-SLI down the road, better performance out of the box, and more features. Not bad. Alternatively, we could move to 790i, upgrade to low-end DDR3 and leave the video cards as is. This would certainly be more "future-proof" (we guessed), but it was unlikely performance would jump a lot since we could only afford literally the absolute cheapest DDR3-1333 OCZ RAM we could find. But then Mark could potentially spring for a RAM upgrade at some point in the future, making this a viable platform. Plus the 790i board was only $10 more than the 780i. Would this not make total sense? While we hummed and hawed, we were poking about on the web and found a review of the Reaper kit that was within our DDR3 budget. As it turns out, overclockability on the same board we were looking at seemed pretty good - 1800MHz at 1.8v and 9-9-9 timings wasn't atrocious, afterall. We also stumbled on an article comparing SLI performance of the GTX 260 in regular and Core 216 varieties. The differences were pretty neglible once two cards were enabled. So that sealed the deal. 790i + DDR3 it was. $1369 dollars later, and now all we had to do was build the thing. TBC.... (when I get a fresh coffee) Quote Share this post Link to post Share on other sites More sharing options...
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