Zotac’s Hey Good Lookin’

Out of the two, Chinny from Zotac sent me her build first and she extensively used the section labelled ‘extras’ in the spreadsheet we sent over. It’s clear that there’s a slightly different tack taken in the Zotac build, going for a more overall component strategy that still offers room to maneuver for the future, if not more so than the Corsair build, and looking good while doing so.

Zotac's Hey Good Lookin'
Component Selection Price
as Chosen
90-Day
Average
Processor (CPU) Intel Core i5-4460 $189.99 $189.85
Motherboard GIGABYTE GA-Z79X-UD3H-BK $139.99 $138.17
Graphics Cards (GPU) Zotac GTX 970 AMP Extreme $369.99 $369.99
Memory (DRAM) Corsair Dominator Platinum
2x4GB DDR3-1866 C9
$99.99 $104.27
Storage (SSD/HDD) Crucial BX100 500 GB SSD $189.99 $188.39
Power Supply (PSU) Rosewill Quark 750W Platinum $139.99 $135.31
Chassis NZXT S340 Black Steel
ATX Mid-Tower
$69.99 $69.99
CPU Cooling Corsair Hydro Series H100i $104.99 $99.85
Operating System Windows 8.1 Full Version $119.99 $119.99
Extras SilverStone Sleeved
6-pin to 6-pin x2
$14.98 $14.98
SilverStone Sleeved
EPS12V 4+4-pin
$7.99 $7.99
SilverStone Sleeved
24-pin
$12.99 $12.99
Samsung USB 2.0
External DVD Drive
$23.99 $23.82
DEEPCOOL RGB LED
Strip with Controller
$16.99 $16.99
Total   $1,501.85 $1,492.58

Processor – Intel Core i5-4460 ($190)

Both companies here have gone with Intel processors, with the i5-4460 here being part of the Haswell refresh line. As mentioned in the interview, Zotac focused on more gaming than overclocking, and by virtue of a non-overclocking CPU and the liquid cooling down below, we might be entertaining a nice quiet build here. The Core i5-4460 sits at a base 3.2 GHz, offering turbo up to 3.4 GHz.

 

Motherboard – GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK ($140, total so far $330)

Despite extensive motherboard coverage at AnandTech, we have not yet had the time to cover GIGABYTE’s new black edition motherboards. The idea is simple – more stringent pre-release testing and design similar to server motherboards in order to sustain motherboard longevity with a black color scheme to boot. The UD3H part of the name means that it sits in the lower half of the Ultra Durable line, though the UD3H models are often some of GIGABYTE’s best sellers.

 

Graphics Cards – Zotac GeForce GTX 970 AMP Extreme Core Edition ($370, total so far $700)

The biggest difference between the builds is the graphics card, showing how each of the companies handles the challenge. In this instance, Zotac has chosen their high end GTX 970 card with a factory overclock 1228 MHz on the core and up to 1380 MHz turbo, while using 1664 CUDA Cores and 4GB of GDDR5 running at 7200 MHz. On paper it will come reasonably close to the GTX 980 Ti that Corsair chose due to the speed bumps, but Zotac’s choice runs at $280 cheaper allowing other components more flexibility.

 

Memory – Corsair Dominator Platinum 8GB (2x4 GB) DDR3-1866 ($100, total so far $800)

The Dominator Platinum range is designed to be the most high profile kits in Corsair’s line up, especially when considering a sleek design. Zotac has chosen a DDR3-1866 C9 kit here, giving a good standard speed for almost everything. The choice of a 2x4 GB kit was a little surprising, as although it takes care of the dual channel nature of the platform, 8 GB might be quickly eroded by an enthusiast on day-to-day tasks (or a reviewer doing research and leaving 100 tabs open to play a game).

 

Storage – Crucial BX100 500GB SSD ($190, total so far $990)

One obvious element where Zotac’s build has a one-up is in the SSD. A 500GB model should be plenty for a gaming user to install an OS, software, and at least four or five large triple-A titles. Kristian reviewed the BX100 here, and the final words for that review stated that the BX100 is a good performer  for all workloads and the overall value is ‘simply outstanding’.

 

Power Supply – Rosewill Quark 750W Modular, 80PLUS Platinum ($140, total so far $1130)

Another on-paper boost for Zotac over Corsair’s build is the power supply, with the 750W Quark having both a higher power rating and migrating 80PLUS from Gold to Platinum, indicating higher efficiency. There are more facets to a power supply than simply power rating and efficiency, although given Zotac’s room to breathe a bit in this build, having a beefier power supply should allow for additional upgrades later on in the build’s life.

 

Chassis – NZXT S340 Black Steel ATX Mid-Tower ($70, total so far $1200)

Here’s a question for you – should a PC just be a thing under the desk, used and not seen, or should it be bling with lights and features? The NZXT S340 is arguably in the middle of both of these binary extremes as the frontage is sleek and offers few indications to what lies within, but the windowed side panel shows off the insides, warts and all. Actually not all, as the power supply is hidden by the base, assisting with how some power cables end up strewn across the platform.

 

CPU Cooling – Corsair Hydro Series H100i ($105, total so far $1305)

Another boost to Zotac is the cooling, with the H100i being a double 120mm radiator design for additional cooling capabilities. This might seem a little odd to be paired with a non-overclocking processor, though it follows Zotac’s mandate of a clean design while still allowing the potential for the system to be quiet. The audible nature of this system then comes down to how the graphics card performs under load.

 

Operating System – Windows 8.1 Full Version ($120, total so far $1425)

Rather than go OEM, Zotac has chosen the full version of Windows 8.1, giving both 32-bit and 64-bit versions on a full license. This means full support from Microsoft in the event of an issue, as well as an upgrade to Windows 10 when it is released.

 

Extras – ($77, total so far $1502)

2x SilverStone PP07-IDE6B Sleeved 6-pin to 6-pin Cable ($7.50 ea)
SilverStone PP07-EPS8B Sleeved EPS12V 4+4-pin Cable ($8)
SilverStone PP07-MBB Sleeved Motherboard 24-pin Cable ($13)
Samsung USB 2.0 External DVD Write SE-208GB/RSBD ($24)
DEEPCOOL RGB LED Strip with Remote Controller ($17)

The sleeved cables Zotac has chosen are direct replacements for the cables for the power supply. These are individually sleeved cables rather than a single bulk cable, giving a look that many enthusiasts seem to enjoy. This goes in hand with the RGB LED strip included, allowing the final owner of the build to select the base internal color of the system against the black of the motherboard/graphics card and silver of the DRAM.

The external DVD drive here adds an interesting dynamic, as Zotac put the reason for including it ‘in order to install an operating system’, which is a fair point. Operating systems are not distributed on USB stick (yet) so an optical drive is required, although we did not state it was in our build requirements. Zotac is thinking ahead, plus the drive can be used with a laptop or other devices around the home.

Overall Build

Zotac's Hey Good Lookin'
Component Selection Price
as Chosen
90-Day
Average
Processor (CPU) Intel Core i5-4460 $189.99 $189.85
Motherboard GIGABYTE GA-Z79X-UD3H-BK $139.99 $138.17
Graphics Cards (GPU) Zotac GTX 970 AMP Extreme $369.99 $369.99
Memory (DRAM) Corsair Dominator Platinum
2x4GB DDR3-1866 C9
$99.99 $104.27
Storage (SSD/HDD) Crucial BX100 500 GB SSD $189.99 $188.39
Power Supply (PSU) Rosewill Quark 750W Platinum $139.99 $135.31
Chassis NZXT S340 Black Steel
ATX Mid-Tower
$69.99 $69.99
CPU Cooling Corsair Hydro Series H100i $104.99 $99.85
Operating System Windows 8.1 Full Version $119.99 $119.99
Extras SilverStone Sleeved
6-pin to 6-pin x2
$14.98 $14.98
SilverStone Sleeved
EPS12V 4+4-pin
$7.99 $7.99
SilverStone Sleeved
24-pin
$12.99 $12.99
Samsung USB 2.0
External DVD Drive
$23.99 $23.82
DEEPCOOL RGB LED
Strip with Controller
$16.99 $16.99
Total   $1,501.85 $1,492.58

When we do a direct comparison to Corsair’s build, the clear indicators of the CPU and GPU are hard to ignore. On paper, the Corsair build should come ahead in performance fairly easily depending on the resolution. But in order to do that, Corsair has had to skimp on certain areas to fit everything in. Most noticeably is perhaps the look, to which end Zotac has produced a system which should mesh together, but also in other day-to-day areas such as storage. Implementing a 500GB SSD allows the winner of the Zotac system room to breathe for software selections, whereas the Corsair winner might have to chop and change titles depending on what they play. This brings up the interesting idea of upgrades, as storage is perhaps a thing first on the Corsair list – in terms of the Zotac build, I might put memory up there as a primary choice as personally 8 GB is barely enough for my ultrabook, let alone a gaming PC.

Build-A-Rig R1: Interview with Chinny Chuang and Buu Ly (Zotac) Build-A-Rig Round 1: What Happens Next, How to Enter
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  • 3ogdy - Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - link

    I loved it! There's one thing I found ironic, though: Chinny Chuang's given her build the name "Hey good lookin'", while using an NZXT S340 case, which is basically a black box with transparent side panel. Ehm.....what? :) She could've used something like this http://goo.gl/tDzmjI and it would've been just about the same and much much cheaper. (basically FREE, for that matter). Reply
  • dakishimesan - Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - link

    I really like the case she chose:

    http://cdn.pcpartpicker.com/static/forever/images/...

    http://oi59.tinypic.com/6430qv.jpg

    http://i.ytimg.com/vi/rexzW3MAulU/maxresdefault.jp...
    Reply
  • Visual - Thursday, July 9, 2015 - link

    She didn't name the config after the case, she named it after herself. You could obviously announce the winner of this round already from the photos on the first page. Reply
  • mr_tawan - Thursday, July 9, 2015 - link

    Well mounting components on the cardboard box could have been more expensive than buying a chasis :-).

    Seriously I think the case is pretty good on showing how the components inside looks, just like a jewel case.
    Reply
  • crimson117 - Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - link

    Can you please post a table of the two configs side by side for comparison? Reply
  • Brazos - Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - link

    2nd that motion Reply
  • Achaios - Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - link

    Although Chinnie is a cutie and I hate to vote against her (sry Chinnie), my vote for the best gaming system goes to Dustin.

    Dustin hit the nail on the head with the 980TI, the k CPU and the 16GB RAM. I think Dustin "gets it".

    Chinnie's errors: Non-K CPU, means no CPU overclocking - 8 GB is insufficient for a gaming rig (I know b/c I am using 8 GB RAM too and I cba to change it which leads to petty inconveniences.) - GTX 970 GPU instead of a GTX 980 or 980Ti. I would avoid a GTX 970 (no need to explain why).

    As for my System Upgrade philosophy: I upgrade motherboard, RAM, CPU and storage every 4-5 years and GPU every 2 years, which means that within the average lifetime of a rig I would upgrade the GPU twice. Cheers.
    Reply
  • Gyro231995 - Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - link

    The 4690k is $50 more expensive than her choice, the 4460. That, with the water cooling, will make a quiet build. The Z97 motherboard will allow for SLI later on.

    The water cooling also looks pretty nice. I would rather a 212 Evo and get the 4690k, but the Evo really isn't a pretty cooler.

    8GB is fine if you don't have a bunch of stuff in the background while gaming.

    Are you still hung up on the 3.5GB thing? Seriously? It's the best she could have gotten on budget; it is easy to suggest a pricier card but it is hard to fit it in budget and keep the general theme.

    I agree that Dustin's build is better but it seems like you are ignoring the theme of Chinnie's. It isn't straight out performance; it is good performance with good looks.

    In a world where value is kind, neither builds are perfect. Fortunately this competition is hardly a locked down, rule burdened competition. It is cool to see both builders explore what can be done in budget.
    Reply
  • Sammaul - Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - link

    Both of you are correct. Point of fact, I see nothing wrong with either of these builds, aside from the fact that both pretty much left out all peripherals....if you were building a new rig from scratch, never having a gaming rig before....proper keyboard, mouse, and controller(if you use one) are a must at minimum. But Chinnie's build is just fine at 1440, and will work with a Rift. Dustin's is without a doubt more future proof... Reply
  • Impulses - Monday, July 13, 2015 - link

    She did waste $50+ in stuff that adds nothing but aesthetics... Not that I hold that against her, I care enough about how my PC looks to match RAM/mobo colors and things like that. I still keep a cold cathode inside it for that matter and I chose a Phanteks HSF over a Noctua largely because of aesthetics (but also a $30 price difference after MIR). I recognize not everyone's gonna care for that but those differences are what's gonna make an exercise like this interesting. Reply

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