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’
POST A COMMENT

93 Comments

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  • DanNeely - Wednesday, October 14, 2015 - link

    It's a lot easier to avoid pinching on specs if you have an extra $100 to play with by not buying an OS. Reply
  • jaydee - Wednesday, October 14, 2015 - link

    Without including OS, you're playing by different rules... Reply
  • gamer1000k - Thursday, October 15, 2015 - link

    I understand your point, but nowhere in the rules does it say that you have to spend $100 on the OS. There's plenty of ways to legally get Windows for free (especially if you're a student) and even failing that, there's always Linux or a Hackintosh. Anyone who is willing to build a PC (as opposed to buying prebuilt where the vendor got windows practically for free) is likely to be able to take advantage of one of the free OS options.

    That said, if the $100 OS was a strict requirement, I would drop down to 8GB RAM (single DIMM, not 2x4GB) and an i3 or a lesser GPU (Radeon R7 370 4GB) depending on the use case for the PC.
    Reply
  • bliq00 - Friday, October 16, 2015 - link

    Not all of us are in school so you can't really omit the Windows license. Reply
  • gamer1000k - Friday, October 16, 2015 - link

    This is a "back to school" PC (it says so right in the title) so I felt that would be a fair assumption to make. Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    Will there be another mITX build-off in the future without such a limiting budget? I'd love to see builds that are limited by the form factor rather then the budget. :) Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    I'd expect them to keep going up/down the budget curve as long as the articles are generating enough interest to pay their way; but after the way a large chunk of the commentariat trashed the Zotac build last time around for going for anything other than raw power I'm afraid we'd end up with two virtually identical boxes consisting of an i7 and Titan in a big enough it might as well be mATX case to avoid either broiling their guts or sounding like a heavily loaded fighter screaming off the carrier deck on full afterburner. Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    Hmm, you could be right about unlimited budgets. Still, something that pushes the limits a little would be nice. Maybe a $1500 build? You could still get an i7 and a nice GPU in a shoebox case for that, but the monster cards would be priced out so as not to turn into hair dryers. Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    $1500 was the first build. A lot of people flamed the Zotac build for going for a well balanced system and putting money into aesthetics, while the Corsair assembled the rest of their build around a GTX 980 Ti. While I didn't fully agree with all the details of their build; I did agree that at the $1500 pricepoint a GTX 970 was the more reasonable option unless you already had a >=1440p display. Even there, if you can't add a few hundred more to your budget, having a slightly underpowered GPU for two years is a reasonable tradeoff for having a better balanced system in other aspects for the next 6. (Assuming a 2 year useful GPU lifespan, and replacing the whole system when it ends up on the upswing in the failure bathtub curve.) Reply
  • fokka - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    haha, you're right, it did get a bit ugly in the comments. but i also remember a surprising number of users who preferred the zotac build, so it wasn't all bad. Reply

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