System Builder’s Guide: R18k comparison with Tom’s Hardware

In my last two comparisons, it looked like Tom’s Hardware’s lab team had gone nuts, pairing the most unconventional builds together and choosing the worst chassis on the market. While they don’t cover the kinds of price points I do, we do meet up on some line and that’s where our train stops this month with my R18,000 listing to their $2000 build, which works out to roughly R16,500.

Granted, looking at their component lineup its obvious that things over in the States are very different. It is a little hard to compare component builds across the sea when you realise how different our economies are. Their build this month comes closer to R14,000 with a few items trimmed off and its considerably faster than what I had set up for my R13,000 price point. So if you’re in the States anytime soon, or buying components through MyUS, some of what I’ve recommended applies to any country but we’re still nowhere near what they can build.

Compared to my choices, we line up in the processor and motherboard segments. I went instead for ASUS’ Maximus range because overclockers will better appreciate the scope of BIOS options and the rock-solid stability those motherboards allow. Asrock’s comeback has cemented them in the staple build lists all around the world and the company is enjoying very good growth numbers this year. Moving along they managed to squeeze in a SSD and a 2TB hard drive, along with a GTX680 and a 750w power supply. There’s also a powerful air cooler and a nice chassis from Antec – all in all, a build worthy of their regular guide. How did it perform?





Its going to be a bit of a smash comparing builds because I’ve “spent” more than Tom’s this month. Perhaps in the next round they’ll match my choices but for comparison their build would come in a little more than 10% faster than the R13,000 build. My two GTX670s in comparison would eclipse their achievements easily in all of their benchmarks. Tom’s didn’t do any wide-screen gaming tests at 5760 x 1080p but two GTX670s would run games at least twice as fast as a single GTX680. All through their tests comparing their builds, you’ll notice that the Q1 buid doesn’t trail very far. It seems that the HD7970 they used last time still has more than enough power for any game at any resolution. Both of their builds show big performance improvements once overclocked, suggesting that the Core i7-3770K would even provide enough bandwidth for two GTX690s in SLI.

Finally, check out the power consumption figures. If you’re running two GTX670s in SLI, you’d be hitting roughly 480w from the wall if you’re using a power meter to measure everything. Take a look at Tom’s Q1 2012 build – with a single HD7970, it consumes just over 500w of power while it would be eclipsed in both power and performance figures by the SLI pairing. Which is really weird considering that they spent $2500 on their older rig.

In the end, what does this all mean? In a way, both builds here from opposite ends of the Atlantic end up achieving roughly the same thing – playable gaming performance at the highest resolutions possible. Both are capable workhorses and are great value for money.

Mine’s just better, for now.

Source: Tom’s Hardware

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