NAG Online > Technology > System Builders Guide: August R20,000 to R30,000

System Builders Guide: August R20,000 to R30,000

System-builders-600-x-272

Dun da dadadadada, dan da dadadadada, dan da dadadadada dan. DAAAAN DAAAAN DAAAAN DAN DA DAAAAAAN, DAAAN DA DAAAAAAN. DAAN DAAN DAAAN DA DADAAAN DAN DADAAAN. DUUN DUUN DUUUN DA DADADA DUN DUN, DA DADADA, DUN DUN DUN DA DAAN, DUN DA DAAAAAN. Yeah, you know that this is the new hotness edition of the System Builders Guide. Jump in and see what I’ve got in store for you! If you’ve got a pile of money burning a hole in your pocket and want a new rig, this is a good place to be right now.

R20,000 Budget – Kicking In To High Gear

5760 x 1080p with Ultra details and 4x AA, UltraHD 4K with High details and 4x AA
Processor Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5-3.9GHz Unlocked LGA1150 R2845
CPU Cooler Corsair Hydro H75 All-In-One water cooler R1005
Motherboard MSI Z97 Gaming 5 LGA1150 R2465
Memory Kingston HyperX Fury Black 8GB DDR3-1866 R1266
Graphics MSI Gaming Radeon R9 290X 4GB GDDR5 R7176
Power supply Cooler Master V650W 80Plus Gold Modular R1232
Chassis NZXT Source 530 Full Tower R1299
Optical drive
Hard drive Seagate Barracuda 3TB 7200RPM R1347
Solid state drive Crucial MX100 256GB SSD R1495
Total (Rands): R20,130

Let’s start off with some familiarity. I decided that with the price hikes this month affecting all of the other editions of November’s guide, some common sense needed to creep in to the high-end builds. Dropping the Core i7-4770K for the Core i5-4690K was not one taken lightly – bumping up to Intel’s hyper-threaded eight-core monster would have required eating into the budget for the graphics card, which wasn’t going to change up from the Radeon R9 290 with the i7 in place. Four unlocked Haswell cores are still more than enough for gaming loads and even a lot of productivity use.

A few other changes took place as well. I replaced ASRock’s Z97M OC Formula for MSI’s Z97 Gaming 5. It’s one of the few boards out there that support three-way SLI or Crossfire without requiring a PLX bridging chip and it still offers M.2 connectivity, boosted on-board audio and SATA Express support. The only thing it really lacks is a Thunderbolt header, but that’s not any great loss to us.

Graphics capability jumps up with an upgrade to the MSI Gaming R9 290X. It offers GTX780 Ti-class performance for a lot less money and packs a big punch for a price just past R7000. All this kit gets to live in a bigger home thanks to the NZXT Source 530, one of the cheapest full-tower chassis available locally. Its not Lian-Li levels of build quality, but it’ll more than do.

Because we’re playing with a lot more cash this time around, storage was bumped up to include a 3TB hard drive for storing media and game backups as well as other games and programs that you don’t need sitting on your SSD. Even at the high-end, a lowly MX100 still more than does the job for a decent SSD and there’s not much need for a faster one at this point in time.

R24,000 Budget – Hurting That Wallet!

5760 x 1080p with Ultra details and 8x AA, Ultra HD 4K with high details and 4x AA
Processor Intel Core i7-4790K 4.0-4.4GHz Unlocked R4098
CPU Cooler Corsair Hydro H100i All-In-One water cooler R1399
Motherboard MSI Z97 Gaming 5 LGA1150 R2465
Memory Avexir Blitz Gaming Dragon 2x4GB DDR3-1600 R1599
Graphics MSI Gaming Radeon R9 290X 4GB GDDR5 R7176
Power supply Corsair RM750 750W 80Plus Gold Modular R1675
Chassis NZXT Source 530 Full Tower R1299
Optical drive
Hard drive Seagate Barracuda 3TB 7200RPM R1347
Solid state drive Crucial MX100 512GB SSD R2967
Total (Rands): R24,025

The R24k build this month ends on a pretty damn neat note – a colour-coded system! Because investing in a X79 or the upcoming X99 platform would require a dip in graphics prowess, this build was instead about fleshing out the budget and going to whatever can be considered the maximum sane amount of money to spend on a full rig. We’ve bumped ourselves up to the Core i7-4790K along with the Corsair H100i water-cooling system with a 240mm radiator because we’d really like to be able to overclock it as much as possible.

Adding to the frills, I’ve switched the RAM to Avexir’s Gaming Dragon RAM, which was designed in conjunction with MSI to match their Gaming series boards. Hey, the money was there and it’s not like we needed it for something else, right? If we’re going with the Gaming board and GPU, we might as well stick to the theme. Although the kit starts at 1600MHz, I’ve seen reviews where they can clock up to 2133MHz.

Because this build also prepares us for the road ahead, I’ve upgraded to Corsair’s RM750 power supply. This allows us to shove in a second Gaming R9 290X at a later date, improving performance almost two-fold thanks to AMD’s work in their driver to make things better in recent years. Scaling in Crossfire is not quite 100%, but it’s far better than it used to be.

Adding in 512GB of SSD storage space was a no-brainer. Who says no to a drive this big that has write speeds of over 500MB/s? I certainly wouldn’t. As for alternative AMD builds, there’s nothing much out there. Even if the FX-9370 was available and you found a decent board under R3000 to plop it in to, it still consumes a massive 200W at stock speeds without any overclocks added. The FX-9000 series may be AMD’s best Vishera cores ever made, but they’re a far cry from what Haswell is capable of.

R30,000 Budget – You (Hypothetically) Paid How Much?

UltraHD 4K with maximum details and 4x AA
Processor Intel Core i7-5820K 3.3-3.6GHz Unlocked R4739
CPU Cooler Corsair Hydro H100i All-In-One water cooler R1399
Motherboard [insert random product name] X99 motherboard LGA2011-3 R3500
Memory Crucial Ballistix Sport DDR4-2133 4x4GB R3040
Graphics Gigabyte Radeon R9 290 Windforce3X 4GB GDDR5 in Crossfire R11378
Power supply Corsair RM750 750W 80Plus Gold Modular R1675
Chassis NZXT Source 530 Full Tower R1299
Optical drive
Hard drive Seagate Barracuda 3TB 7200RPM R1347
Solid state drive Crucial MX100 512GB SSD R2967
Total (Rands): R31,344

Finally, we end off with a build that will become a reality in the next two months. Intel’s Haswell-E platform is just around the corner and prices are starting to pop up and give us hope that this generational hop won’t be as expensive as the last one. The Core i7-5820K, for example, is only around R700 more expensive than the Core i7-4790K and it manages to cram in more L3 cache and an extra two cores with hyper-threading, as well as another 12 PCI-E 3.0 lanes. That’s really not a bad deal. That’s like paying for one lap dance and getting three at the same time.

With that, there should be a decent selection of X99 motherboards starting from R3000 that provide some overclocking headroom and a good feature set. These boards aren’t expected to be much more expensive than a high-end Z97 or X79 motherboard, so it’ll easily fit in thanks to the R3500 I’ve left in for it.

Whats really going to chew into the budget is the DDR4 memory modules and it’s not a pretty sight – 4GB DDR4-2133 for R760 isn’t a nice price at all. Getting four modules for quad-channel action puts the budget a little north of R3000, a crazy amount of money when you realise that it’s possible to buy 16GB of dual-channel DDR3-1600 for almost R1000 less.

With Haswell-E, you really want to reserve using the platform for high-end computing and dual-GPU solutions and in this case we’ve shoved in two Radeon R9 290 cards in Crossfire. This will provide enough horsepower to kick Nvidia’s GTX Titan Z in the shins and it’s almost, but not quite, as powerful as the Radeon R9 295X2. If you’re planning to game at 4K or with any sort of high-end multi-monitor solution, AMD’s Hawaii GPU family provides incredible power for the price you pay for it. Not even the cheapest Geforce GTX780 on the local market can compete with that.

That’s all we have time for this month, folks. Next month is the Laptop Buyer’s Guide and we’ll be back with the System Builders Guide in the month after that, which is also when rAge takes place!

Until next time. BYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

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  • Kikmi

    In all honesty, i would run SSD’s in raid 0 and separate the magnetic drives in intervals of 3 for raid 5. All this kit and no redundancy or over the top performance boosts makes jack a very sad geek indeed :P

    • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wesley-Fick/184346154999538 Wesley Fick

      Yeah, but there’s never enough budget to go mad on the storage. :-(

  • Delano

    You had me at DAAAAN DAAAAN DAAAAN DAN DA DAAAAAAN, DAAAN DA DAAAAAAN.

  • Kikmi

    Also sis, not one nvidia. I’d much rather give up a drive or two in lieu of

    • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wesley-Fick/184346154999538 Wesley Fick

      I should add those in later, though the only option is a 3GB GTX780. A GTX780 Ti is on average on par or better than the R9 290X, but it’s much more expensive.

  • Kikmi

    And something i have noticed, with these types of builds, there seems to be an NZXT case put into the build list, but never anything substantial like the corsair obsidian cases or the HAFs from CM. Much better cases for housing kit that needs to breath.

    Perhaps my alliances are dated

    • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wesley-Fick/184346154999538 Wesley Fick

      NZXT’s been doing a lot of work on improving their thermal performance and the Source 530 is an excellent chassis. Pretty flexible too, which is what I really wanted for these builds anyway. Obsidians scale just a bit too high on price to make it in these budgets. Not sure what’s happening to the HAF brand either as Cooler Master isn’t updating it at all except with those weird Stackers.

      Antec stock seems to be low all-round as well. Meh.

      • Kikmi

        Never been a supporter of Antec, it just seems liek a brand that doesnt exactly know where its going, I mean the lanboy for instance, wtaf

        • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wesley-Fick/184346154999538 Wesley Fick

          The original LANBoy was god-like for mATX builds back in the day, but they did indeed lose their way for a bit. The Three Hundred Two and Ninteen Hundred are a return to form though. They have always been a better high-end brand thanks to the legendary P180.

  • Pulseofthe Maggot

    I’m trying to figure out if the DA DUNS are the Sith theme

    • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wesley-Fick/184346154999538 Wesley Fick

      Close, it’s the Imperial March. :-)

  • Pieter

    “Whats really going to chew into the budget is the DDR4 memory modules and it’s not a pretty sight – 4GB DDR3-2133 for R760 isn’t a nice price at all.” shouldn’t that be “4GB DDR4-2133″?

    Cant wait for the new X99 boards

    • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wesley-Fick/184346154999538 Wesley Fick

      Thanks, fixed. I’m also really exited to see what changes Intel’s made to Haswell-E. The X99 boards look spiffy too.

  • Antonio Mendes

    FX-7370 WTF? Get me one…I give you 10K for it.
    Lol…never mind.

    • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wesley-Fick/184346154999538 Wesley Fick

      You got that cash on you? :P Fixed.

      I don’t even know anyone who would have paid R10k for a Vishera processor. The i7-5960X would murder it.

  • James
  • Roland Theron

    Can you add a GTX970 into this build. I heard that it is more efficient and cheaper

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