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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  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    Straight up Team Tony Ou and SilverStone over here, and I think you'd find that sentiment to be pretty common in the case/cooling/PSU side of Corsair.

    I like Tony's build better. While it's true, the Pentium's lack of hyper-threading may cut its legs off down the road, Tony's build just feels more classy and balanced, and the components are a bit higher quality. There's also just more you can do with it; I'm a sucker for an overclockable system.

    My hat's off to both, but I'm calling this one for Tony and SilverStone. ;)
    Reply
  • frenchy_2001 - Friday, October 16, 2015 - link

    I also really like it.
    The ML08 is everything I was looking for in a thin mITX case: small and thin while allowing for full graphic card and would fit great as an HTPC.
    I would argue that for a BTS build, I may have gone for more CPU and less graphics, but both builds are fairly balanced. I love the SSD+HDD storage, reflecting realistic needs for BTS (opposite of the previous builds with high end components, but little storage).
    I could live and use either system, but points for style to Silverstone.
    Reply
  • TallestJon96 - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    Both good builds, but I think a lentil, with a cooler will lose to an i3. Reply
  • TallestJon96 - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    Pentium* where is that darn edit button... Reply
  • jaydee - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    Take the Crucial build, trade the B85 board for ASRock H97 board and save $20. Trade the mSata SSD for Crucial BX100 and save $40. Take that $60 in savings and trade the i3-4170 for an i5-4460. Reply
  • fokka - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    makes sense. and who could resist an i5 when we're competing with pentium and i3? Reply
  • gamer1000k - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    Just for fun, here's my build. Note that it doesn't include an OS since you can get Windows for free through most schools.

    Name: Budget Beast
    CPU: Intel i5-4430 $185
    Mobo: AsRock H97M-ITX $84
    RAM: G.SKILL Aegis 16GB DDR-3 1600 $74
    GPU: Zotac GeForce 960 ZT-90308-10M 4GB $215
    SSD: Samsung 850 EVO 500GB $169
    Case: Rosewill Neutron $40
    PSU: Corsair CX430 430W $40

    Lots of little things that could be changed on here (could drop down to an i3 to upgrade something else or halve the RAM to free up some cash) but I wanted to make sure that the PC would have what it needed for the next few years and not cheap out too much on the core components (I hate being stuck with old components after upgrading, I would rather leave empty slots I can fill later). The case has room for 3.5" drives if you need more storage later, and also supports 5.25" optical drives if you need them.
    Reply
  • gamer1000k - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    Edit: Total Price: $806

    Anandtech, you really need to update your post system to support standard features like preview/edit and such...
    Reply
  • coconutboy - Thursday, October 15, 2015 - link

    ++

    it's 2015, being able to edit, even if it's only within a short time frame, is the norm. Not having it, especially on well-known tech site is just bizarre.
    Reply
  • fokka - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    i'm starting to like the user builds more and more! i5/16gb/500gb ssd/960 4gb instead of pentiums, puny SSDs, slow HDDs and optical drives? yes please!

    and i agree with your sentiment: i'd rather get the cornerstones right from the beginning, i can always add more storage and optical drives later.

    can't you also get windows for free if you always install the preview builds? omitting the cost of the os seems a bit unfair of course, but with the hardware you have listed up there it's kinda hard not to cheat. ^^
    Reply

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