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
Ballistix Bantam
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium G3258
(2C/2T, 3.2 GHz)
Intel Core i3-4170
(2C/4T, 3.7 GHz)
Motherboard ASRock
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
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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  • Michael Bay - Monday, December 7, 2015 - link

    Crying about "stupid Windows tax" is beyond stupid, as it literally enbles all of relevant gaming.
    It`s just as indispensable as your CPU.
  • pugster - Friday, December 4, 2015 - link

    Crucial and Silverstone work with Anandtech to make a system around their components. Of course it will cost more. I'm sure that some "value shoppers" wait until there's a sale on parts and wait until you get almost all the parts and you can probably build your own computer for 25% or less than what you would've paid above. Also, does the systems you build account for Windows 10 OS which cost $100?
  • tipoo - Thursday, December 3, 2015 - link

    'Grats to both of you. Also *grumble grumble canadian dollar*, that 800 dollar rig would end up costing closer to 1300 here, converted and taxed. Stupid CAD.
  • Retired Budget Gamer - Thursday, December 3, 2015 - link

    Those are both ridiculously bad deals. I also went Intel and Nvidia this is what I came up with for under $450 all new parts 3 months ago:
    i5-4590, 4X4GB 1600 DDR3, GTX 960 STRIX 2GB OC, XONAR DG 5.1, 250GB BX100, 500GB WD RED, 1TB Toshiba 5400 HDD and rounded off the build with other cheap and necessary components in a nice rolled stell micro ATX case.
  • Retired Budget Gamer - Thursday, December 3, 2015 - link

    Forgot prices. i5-4590 $130, 4X4GB 1600 DDR3 $60, GTX 960 STRIX 2GB OC $100, XONAR DG 5.1 $10, 250GB BX100 $50, 500GB WD RED $40, 1TB Toshiba 5400 HDD $30
  • Mikemk - Thursday, December 3, 2015 - link

    $100 for a 960? You sure about that?
  • Zap - Thursday, December 3, 2015 - link

    How about adding the cost of a case, PSU, Windows and SSD? Why? Because the builds above all included those items.
  • wolfemane - Thursday, December 3, 2015 - link

    Good for you, but your costs are BS. You lucked out, but those prices are not going to be available to the general masses.

    cheapest online price new:
    i5-4560 - $200
    cheap 4x4gig - $85
    GTX 960 - $180
    win8.1/win10 -$100

    I'm not going to bother to continue. These prices are for the average user. Even on teh extreme side of black friday/cyber mondays deals weren't THAT good. You lucked out on getting some great parts at dirt low prices either from ebay, second hand, one time deals, mail in rebates, or through some other means that's not going to be accessible for the general masses (just a select few at the right place/right time). You comments on these builds are pretty much irrelevant.

    Thanks for trolling though. Had to take the bait.
  • jasonelmore - Friday, December 4, 2015 - link

    yeah your prices are all black friday deals or something.. that i5 is $200, 960 is at least $175 on sale, RAM is at least $80 for 16GB on sale.. i question your prices sir
  • genekellyjr - Thursday, December 3, 2015 - link

    I just designed a computer for about $800. Windows was free from the school /cause it's back to school/.
    Case Corsair Obsidion 750D - $100 w. rebate
    PSU SeaSonic SSR-650RM - $60 w. rebate
    GPU Sapphire Nitro R9 390 - $275 w. rebate
    Mobo Asus M5A99FX Pro R2.0 - $80 w rebate (reason for AMD)
    CPU FX-8320 - $120
    CPU Cooler - Hyper 212 Evo - $20 w. rebate
    SSD 850 Evo 250 GB - $78
    HDD Seagate 2 TB 3.5" - $65
    RAM G.Skill 2400 MHz 8 GB - $32

    Total was $845, Windows on a trade site would add maybe $20-30 bucks. W/o rebate $945. If that 750D case was replaced with a cheaper case it would come in at $800 w/ rebate. There's no corners cut and the FX-8320 is not horrible for modern gaming (esp. after OC that the higher quality mobo allows).

    I think the ruiner of this was including Windows as most uni's give out Windows for free. An extra $100 and they could have gotten to a 970/R9 390. Or acknowledged the trade price of Windows that can be had that is less than $100.

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