Our Build-A-Rig project is a place where PC hardware manufacturers (memory companies, case companies, GPU, CPU, power supply, storage et al.) are given an imaginary budget and a rough guideline on what system they should build fo that budget. Then we at AnandTech, with our partners Newegg, get the components in, build the system, interview the person that provided the spec list, give a run down of the components, test the system and then offer it as a giveaway to our readers.

This iteration was our second round, featuring Tony Ou from SilverStone Technology and Jeremy Mortenson from Cruicial Memory. The goal for this round was a Back-to-School build for $800. Both systems focused on different areas of CPU power, GPU grunt, storage and form factor.

Follow these links to read the interviews with Tony and Jeremy, as well as the component rundowns for SilverStone's Mighty Milo build and Crucial's Ballistix Bantam. We then built both the SilverStone and Crucial machines, then gave them a good run down in our test suite.

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

After sifting through the entries of what has been another successful round for our Build-A-Rig project, we are ready to announce the winners. This time around each of our winners is receiving one of the two systems. The winners are as follows:

Both winners will be contacted shortly for their shipping details at the email address provided.

Build-A-Rig Round 3 is currently on hold due to external factors beyond our control, but we have plenty of ideas in the running when we're ready to get going again. Congratulations to our two winners, and thanks to all who participated.

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  • leopard_jumps - Friday, December 4, 2015 - link

    with AMD CPU

    PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/6xMzQ7
    Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/6xMzQ7/by_merchant/

    CPU: AMD FX-8320E 3.2GHz 8-Core Processor ($122.99 @ NCIX US)
    Motherboard: ASRock 970M PRO3 Micro ATX AM3+/AM3 Motherboard ($59.98 @ Newegg)
    Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($39.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($49.98 @ OutletPC)
    Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 970 4GB Video Card ($319.99 @ Micro Center)
    Case: Enermax ECA3253-BW ATX Mid Tower Case ($40.00 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($55.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Total: $688.92
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-12-04 19:00 EST-0500
    Reply
  • wolfemane - Friday, December 4, 2015 - link

    Awesome, thank you! Reply
  • tmr3 - Sunday, December 6, 2015 - link

    Decided I'd give this a go, converting $800 to A$1092, I jumped on PCPartPicker and threw together something. My assumptions for this are:
    - Free Windows 10 due to education
    - Gaming is nice to have but not a priority - overall system speed trumps outright gaming performance.

    CPU: Intel Core i5-6500 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($295.00 @ Centre Com)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H170-HD3 ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($155.00 @ IJK)
    Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4-2133 Memory ($79.00 @ CPL)
    Storage 1: Samsung 850 EVO_Series 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($129.00 @ PLE)
    Storage 2: Seagate Barracude 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($99.00 @ Centre Com)
    Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon R9 270X 2GB WINDFORCE Video Card ($215.00 @ Scorptec)
    Case: Deepcool TESSERACT BF ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ MWave)
    Power Supply: EVGA 500W 80+ Bronce Certified ATX Power Supply ($72.00 @ CPL)
    Total: $1093.99

    This build could be cheaper - I've seen Sapphire 270X OC cards going for around $170 on clearance, but they're harder to get a hold of now that they've been replaced by the 370/380, despite the 270X fitting nicely in between (and for less money than the 370).
    If I were to build a new system these days an SSD is an automatic inclusion, and a 250GB+2TB combo would mean storage issues are almost non-existent. The i5-6500 was chosen for it's four true cores and its decent clock speed, meaning overall system performance should be very good.
    A locked processor means that Z170 is a bit pointless, but many of the cheaper boards only support DDR3. This is the biggest toss up, there's lots of room for change with the motherboard.
    The case and power supply were chosen simply to fit the budget - the Tesseract is a decent case but nothing spectacular, and the EVGA supply at least fits 80+ Bronze certification. The money saved from searching out a good deal on a 270X could go towards a slightly higher wattage/more efficient power supply. For gaming this build targets 1080p on at least high settings, which it should achieve for the most part.
    Reply
  • geniekid - Monday, December 7, 2015 - link

    Basically what I learned from reading the comments is that not a single person has been able to present a better build unless they assume Windows is free (so they're working with an extra $100) or they shop for at least one component outside of Newegg (against the rules).

    I'm not saying it's impossible to put together a better build than Tony or Jeremy did, but so far no one has presented one while working within the same limitations.
    Reply
  • wolfemane - Monday, December 7, 2015 - link

    intel i3-6320 2 cores 4 threads $169.99 @ newegg.com
    (http://ark.intel.com/products/90733/Intel-Core-i3-...

    ASRock H170M-ITX/ac Mini ITX LGA1151 $99.99 @ newegg.com
    G.Skill Sniper Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-2400 $64.99 @ newegg.com
    Toshiba 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM $89.99 @ newegg.com
    EVGA SuperNOVA NEX 650W 80+ FULL Modular $54.99 @ newegg.com
    Thermaltake Core V1 Mini ITX $42.99 @ newegg.com
    PowerColor Radeon R9 390 8GB PCS+ $269.99 @ newegg.com
    shipping $2.99

    Total: $795.92 w/shipping System includes Wifi
    Reply
  • angrypatm - Monday, December 7, 2015 - link

    I would also like to see an HTPC build, but defined as HTPC, not Gaming HTPC--movies and music--audio quality often being overlooked. An a10 with fast ram with a good sound card and quiet would work, with JRIVER Media Center or maybe XBMC, and a blu ray. In a case that would look correct in an entertainment center, no odd dimensions please, and FRONT sd card reader and usb ports especially are really not optional. And no half height cards, they are very limiting and just a pain in the @ss in general. Reply
  • drzzz - Tuesday, December 8, 2015 - link

    So since it was said no one was meeting the rules of all from newegg I took the challenge.

    CPU Intel i5-6500 4C/4T 3.2Ghz 204.99
    Gigabyte GA-Z170-HD3P MB 99.99
    G.Skill 8GB (2x4GB) DDR4-3200 59.99
    Seagate SSHD 1TB 66.99
    EVGA GTX950 02G-P4-2951-KR 159.99
    Enermax ECA3321B-BT Case 39.99
    XFX 550W 80+ Power Supply 68.99
    Windows 10 OEM 99.99

    Total 801.92

    It is not a power house but it is a true 4 core CPU, cost $800, all parts are from newegg and it includes a full OEM version Windows 10. It is not the machine I would build for myself but it does allow gaming and provides a solid CPU to build up around. I included a SSHD vice a SSD/HDD or pure HDD storage option. The SSHD has better response in certain use cases and at 1TB it can be transitioned to a pure storage drive later when an SSD is purchased. The case is bottom of the line and that was where I could save the most for other stuff. The power supply could be cheaper but this is not a place to cut deeply on cost.

    So there is my $800 build staying as close as I could to the rules.
    Reply
  • Gnarr - Wednesday, December 9, 2015 - link

    How about:
    Intel i5-6400 Quad-Core 2.7GHz
    ASRock H170M Pro4
    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970
    G.Skill Ripjaws 8GB
    Transcend MTS600 M.2 64GB SSD
    Western Digital 1TB 7200rpm SATA2 HDD
    Thermaltake TR2 430W PSU
    HEC 6K28BB8F Black Chassis
    Intel Retail CPU Cooler
    OS of your choice
    and a total of $818.46 (which could be squeezed down to $798.46 if you would take i3-6320 Dual-Core 3.9GHz CPU)

    https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDeta...
    Reply
  • nagi603 - Wednesday, December 9, 2015 - link

    Seriously, a 650W PSU? Talk about overkill... I'm still running an i7/290X combo on my Seasonic X-400.... An i3/pentium with a 950 won't tax even a 400W PSU. Reply

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