What Happens Now

We have the components for both of these systems in house, ready to build, test and review. This will take a couple of weeks, and we’ve chosen a good array of benchmarks to suit most needs while still retaining the focus of the purpose of this round of Build-A-Rig: an $800 back-to-school system. Given the responses from both Silverstone and Crucial, it is clear that Silverstone sees gaming and portability as key factors whereas Crucial have spent more on processing power and fast storage which might be useful in more BTS scenarios. Both systems come with an NVIDIA graphics card, although there is some slight difference here which will also factor into the equation.

We will write up each PC for a full individual review, as well as a build log describing the experience of how the parts fit together. These reviews will be released over the next couple of weeks. We have a new dedicated editor working on each build (Daniel Williams), so any bias coming from doing these interviews is null and void – the reviews will shed light into how building the systems is easy, difficult, or fun to do.

A full run down of both systems is as follows:

Build-A-Rig Round 2 Comparison
Component SilverStone's
Mighty Milo
Ballistix Bantam
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium G3258
(2C/2T, 3.2 GHz)
Intel Core i3-4170
(2C/4T, 3.7 GHz)
Motherboard ASRock
B85N Phoenix-WiFi
Graphics Cards (GPU) Zotac GeForce GTX 960 OC EVGA GeForce GTX 950
Memory (DRAM) Crucial Ballistix Sport XT
2x4GB DDR3-1600 C9
Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer
2x4GB DDR3-1600 C8
Storage (SSD) Crucial BX100 120GB Crucial MX200 mSATA 250GB
Storage (HDD) Western Digital Blue 2.5-inch
1TB 5400RPM 8MB Cache
Seagate Barracuda 3.5-inch
1TB 7200RPM 64MB Cache
Power Supply (PSU) SilverStone ST45SF
450W Bronze SFF
Thermaltake TR2
Chassis SilverStone Milo ML08B-H
(with handle)
Thermaltake Core V1
Extreme Cube
CPU Cooling SilverStone Argon AR06 None
Operating System Microsoft Windows 10 Home
64-bit OEM
Microsoft Windows 8.1
64-bit - OEM
Extras None LG USB 2.0 Portable DVDRW
Total $811.90 $793.90

How to Enter

For Build-A-Rig, we are posting the survey link on each piece so users can enter at any time. The final entry date is listed in the survey, and will most likely be a few days after we post our final round-up later in the month.

For the purposes of the giveaways, we should state that standard AnandTech rules apply. The full set of rules will be given in the survey link, but the overriding implementation is that the giveaways are limited to United States of America (US50), excluding Rhode Island, and winners must be 18 years or older.

With apologies to our many loyal readers outside the US, restricting the giveaways to the US is due to the fact that AnandTech (and more specifically our publisher, Purch) is a US registered company and competition law outside the US is very specific for each nation, with some requiring fees or legal implementations to be valid with various consequences if rules aren’t followed. It’s kind of difficult for the rules of 190+ countries/nations worldwide to all be followed, especially if certain ones demand fees for even offering a contest or tax on prizes. We recognize that other online magazines and companies do offer unrestricted worldwide competitions, but there are specific rules everyone should be following in order to stay on the side of the law. That’s the reality of it, and unfortunately we cannot change on this front, even with the help of Purch.

The survey link is:


Your Thoughts

Not everyone builds a system the same way in the same budget, and it’s all fine and well for us here at AnandTech to reel off a parts list but it seems to be great fun for everyone involved when the manufacturers of the components actually do it instead. Clearly there are disagreements to be had over which case to use, whether this SSD is better than that SSD and all sorts of things.

So do you prefer having two extreme items and upgrading over time, or having a general all-around system every few years? Thoughts and comments on the builds from SilverStone and Crucial are highly recommended. If you would take the $800 back-to-school focused build differently (perhaps AMD, or iGPU only, or a true mini-PC, or even just a UX305 laptop), explain why choosing some parts over others would be an important factor in your decision.

Build-A-Rig R2: Crucial’s ‘Ballistix Bantam’


View All Comments

  • fokka - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    i'm much more torn between those two systems than i was in the first round (accelerator ftw!), but i guess that's not a bad thing.

    on the milo i like the gtx 960, the ram and the bx100, but i think it puts too much money on the slow 2.5" hdd, the psu and maybe even the case and cooler.

    the pentium might not be a bad choice in combination with the 960 and it saves a good deal of money, but in the end i would have a better feeling having an i3 in my system.

    in that sense the crucial rig makes a great start with the i3, but then it falls short in the graphics department, just to save 20 bucks.

    the larger ssd and the faster hdd are very nice to have and i have to say that i like the thermaltake case more than the silverstone, but i think the psu is oversized and i would just go with windows 10 and get rid of the dvd drive.

    i like that crucial saves money by leaving the after market cpu cooler, but i would have liked to see the money go to a gtx 960, instead of an optical drive.

    overall i have to say that the crucial build is more appealing to me, with the one substantial flaw that it's slightly lacking in the graphics department. without the dvd drive, but with a 960 it would be a clearer winner for me.
  • xthetenth - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    Both those cards are probably going to have the same life span to be honest, the 2 GB ones are already starting to have issues with slow frames and low minimum framerates. If either had gone with more VRAM, I'd side with that one in a heartbeat. Past that, the 950 is close enough to the 960 it's still pretty reasonable. Reply
  • fokka - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    sure, it won't be a night and day difference, i'm just saying for only 20 bucks more i would have a better feeling with the 960, plus it would be on par with the competing system. Reply
  • Samus - Wednesday, October 14, 2015 - link

    Realistically the G3258 and GTX960 will last a year or so of AAA gaming at mid-1080P, then as Tony said, given $400 a year from now to upgrade, he'd put $150 toward a CPU and $250 toward a GPU.

    His build has a 120GB SSD and a 1TB HDD which if you sacrificed for a 500GB HDD, you could get a 240GB SSD with the savings since the MX200 250GB is $80.

    That would be the only adjustment I'd make to his build, it is otherwise perfect.
  • rrinker - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    For the purposes of a back to school system, I don't see the optical drive as a waste of money. I'm sure you could find a way to get a DVD or CD to a USB stick if you absolutely had to, but having the drive handy makes it much more convenient. Some things, especially in education, are still strictly on optical media.
    To me, the more capable processor and especially the larger SSD capacity make for a more suitable system for the purpose, especially since it came out cheaper. Plus the somewhat overkill power supply allows upgrading that video card down the road when school is over and it's time to game.
  • fokka - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    you got a point with the dvd drive, but personally i'd still prefer a more capable GPU instead of it. you can always get a drive in a pinch should you really need it, but you won't upgrade your gpu so willy nilly on a new computer.
    i still think a 600w psu is overkill though on a 800$ computer running a 950 and an i3, even if you want to upgrade your gpu somewhere down the road. but i admit that i'm generally more conservative with my psu estimates.
  • Frenetic Pony - Wednesday, October 14, 2015 - link

    I haven't used an optical drive in years and have never needed to in years. Graduated college last summer and never had a use for it, the things are a waste of space and money to me. Reply
  • janisgomez456465 - Wednesday, October 14, 2015 - link

    vantages and disadvantage.
  • coconutboy - Thursday, October 15, 2015 - link

    Regarding the $600 psu in Jeremy's build, I think you've focused too heavily on the wattage instead of the price/quality ratio. That 600w Thermaltake psu is ~$15 cheaper than the 450w Silverstone unit in Tony's build. Compare the reviews of the two and you'll see the end result. The cheaper "600w" has crap reviews, while the better quality 450w looks solid.

    Even though most people these days go overboard in buying a psu that's far in excess of what they actually need, that's still one of the better pc trends over the past decade versus the 90s/early 2k when most power supplies were poorly built with a race-to-the-bottom mentality.
  • janisgomez456465 - Wednesday, October 14, 2015 - link

    my parents inlaw just got an awesome 12 month old Lexus just by parttime work from a computer. you could look here Reply

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