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
Crucial's
Ballistix Bantam
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium G3258
(2C/2T, 3.2 GHz)
Intel Core i3-4170
(2C/4T, 3.7 GHz)
Motherboard ASRock
H97M-ITX/ac
GIGABYTE
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
600W
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:

http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2382250/AnandTech-Newegg-Build-A-Rig-Challenge-Round-2-Sweepstakes

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’
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93 Comments

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  • jgarcows - Wednesday, October 14, 2015 - link

    I can't believe the SSD he picked for the first system. For $20 more, he could have had the 250 GB version of the BX100. That would have let him drop the 1TB HDD (why bother with the hassle of a second drive for so little additional storage) and given him $40 more to spend somewhere else. Reply
  • cknobman - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    Two excellent builds!!

    I am torn as well since both have distinct advantages and disadvantage.

    Good thing is neither build has a crippling disadvantage.

    Great case choices too :)

    Crucial has the storage and processor advantage.
    Silverstone has the gaming advantage.

    I'd be happy to own either one but if I absolutely had to pick one it would be the Silverstone and I would probably put it in my media room and hook it up to my plasma TV.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    More or less how I feel; with the caveat that by going equally far over budget Crucial could match Silverstone in the gaming dept.

    If I was going to tweak either design, I'd probably dump the HDD and go with a budget 512GB SSD as my sole storage. As long as you're not collecting TV/Movie rips it's plenty of space, and having done it in the past I really don't like the idea of having to deal with split storage again. Even with an SSD big enough to handle everything but media files it was still a hassle.
    Reply
  • fokka - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    good points. i agree that the crucial build should have gone with the 960, while still not costing more than the silverstone rig. but of course the builders didn't know their respective hardware choices, so pitfalls like this aren't surprising.

    i like your idea with the 512gb ssd. personally i need more than 256gb of storage, but i don't really need more than 512gb. omitting the hdd would be a good way to save a couple of bucks so you can upgrade the ssd and have a simpler setup with better performance. you also save some power and have less vibrations, but i guess that's not that big of a deal in a gaming system.
    Reply
  • coconutboy - Thursday, October 15, 2015 - link

    Good summary Dan. I'm really like that Milo case (Thermaltake Cube isn't bad either), but it'd be tough to argue against Jeremy's build if he had a 512GB ssd and a gtx 960.

    Too bad the deadline was so far back, because in the past 3 weeks or so, there have been a number of 500GB+ Crucial/Samsung ssds for $130-150. Given that option, I wonder if Tony/Jeremy would have ditched their hdds and gone all in on ssds?
    Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    Like fokka said, this is a much closer call than the higher budget systems (though I really preferred Hey Good Lookin :) between those two). Each of these systems has distinctive advantages and they both show thought and care in component choices. Milo has some future-proofing with respect to CPU upgrades, a really nice case, and a bit more GPU. Bantam's got a solid CPU, lots more solid state storage, and includes a DVD drive -- something a lot of us still can't quite escape needing once in a while. So yeah, I can't outright favor one or the other. They're both excellent builds within their budget constraints.

    On a side note, I've really enjoyed these build-a-rig articles just in general. While the heart of it is building a system within a budget and comparing it, the interviews that go along with it are an enjoyable read. I hope Anandtech continues to run these sorts of things on occasion as technology changes.
    Reply
  • jaydee - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    I like the case, SSD, CPU of the Crucial build, not much of a gamer, so GPU isn't a big deal to me. 600W is total overkill though for a 54W CPU and 90W GPU. This system isn't going to max out higher than 200W, so you're always in the sub-optimal range for this power supply, so I believe that is a poor choice. I'd much rather see a SFF 300-400W PSU like FSP or Silverstone. Reply
  • fokka - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    i agree. many people seem to buy 600w PSUs "just to be save", but i think on a custom build like this a 3x oversized psu can almost be considered a poor choice. but as always, to each their own. Reply
  • zero2dash - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    Assuming the Intel Microcode update doesn't remove the Silverstone build's ability to OC like it has with a lot of other boards - I'd much rather have that build, because I think you come out ahead in performance CPU+GPU especially if you can OC, vs. the i3 with the weaker GPU. Reply
  • fokka - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    the question is how much ahead? you're saving on the cpu, but spending more on the board and the cooler, just to have the "hassle" of overclocking. i'm not saying it doesn't make any sense but personally i would prefer the i3 and be set. Reply

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