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Test System And Benchmarks

System Builder Marathon, March 2010: $1,500 Enthusiast PC

We'll compare our new build to the Core i5-750 system we put together for our last SBM in late 2009. It's important to note that the graphics card overclocks were almost identical, but the CPU overclocks are quite different. The Core i5-750 made it to 3.612 GHz on stock cooling, whereas the Core i7-920 made it to 3.9 GHz with a Rosewill Fort 120 cooler.

As usual, we always try to keep our benchmarks updated at Tom's Hardware, so a few of the tests have been swapped or run with newer builds of the software. In most cases this shouldn't affect comparison results, but it is something to keep in mind.

The segment most affected is gaming. Firstly, we've swapped the 1920x1200 resolution for 1920x1080, as 1080p seems to be the prevalent resolution for both monitors and televisions. As for game changes, we've dropped Far Cry 2, World in Conflict, and Fallout 3 in favor of more recently released titles such as DiRT 2, Call of Duty: MW2, and Stalker. Crysis remains in the benchmark suite because it still can bring modern hardware to its knees. Even though World in Conflict has been dropped, I've included these results to compare against the previous SBM build.

$1,500 Enthusiast PC Test Settings
 Standard SpeedOverclocked
MotherboardASRock X58 Extreme LGA-1366
Chipset: Intel X58 Express
ProcessorIntel Core i7-920 2.66 GHz
4 Cores, 8MB L3 Cache
3.9 GHz, 195 MHz Base Clock 
MemoryCrucial 6GB (3x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3-1333
533 MHz (1,066 MHz DDR), CAS 7-7-7-59
DDR3-1560, CAS 8-8-8-18
Graphics2x Radeon HD 5850 (CrossFireX)
1GB GDDR5-4000 Per Card
Radeon HD 5870 GPU at 725 MHz
775 MHz GPU
Hard DrivesWestern Digital Caviar Black 750GB
7,200 RPM, 32MB Cache SATA 3.0 Gb/s
OpticalSamsung SH-S2232C
22x DVD+R, 8x DVD+RW, 16x DVD ROM, 48x CD ROM
CaseCooler Master CM 690
PowerCorsair CMPSU-750TX 750W
ATX12V, EPS12V, 80-Plus Certified
$1,300 Enthusiast PC (From Previous SBM) Test Settings
 Standard SpeedOverclocked
MotherboardGigabyte P55-UD4P LGA-1156
Chipset: Intel P55 Express
ProcessorIntel Core i5-750 2.66 GHz
4 Cores, 8MB L3 Cache
3.612 GHz at 1.15V,
172 MHz Base Clock
Memory2x A-Data 2.0GB DDR3-1333 Kit
2x 2.0GB (4.0GB Total), CAS 9-9-9-24
DDR3-1376, CAS 9-9-9-24
Graphics2x Radeon HD 5850 (CrossFireX)
1.0GB GDDR5-4000 Per Card, Radeon HD 5870 GPU at 725 MHz
775 MHz GPU
Hard DrivesWestern Digital Caviar Black 640GB
7,200 RPM, 32MB Cache SATA 3.0 Gb/s
OpticalSamsung SH-S2232C
22x DVD+R, 8x DVD+RW, 16x DVD ROM, 48x CD ROM
CaseNZXT M59
PowerCorsair CMPSU-750HX 750W
ATX12V, EPS12V , 80-Plus Certified

And now for the benchmarks:

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Very High Quality, No AA
DiRT 2
In-game benchmark
Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 8x AA
Call of Duty:
Modern Warfare 2
Campaign, Act III, Second Sun (45 sec. FRAPS)
Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AA
Test Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x AA
Call of Pripyat
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of Pripyat benchmark version
Test Set 1: High Preset, DX11 EFDL, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Preset, DX11 EFDL, 4x MSAA
World in ConflictPatch 1009, DirectX 10, timedemo
Test 1: Very High Details, No AA / No AF
Test 2: Very High Details 4x AA / 16x AF
Audio/Video Encoding
Version: x64
Audio CD ("Terminator II" SE), 53 min
Default format AAC
Handbrake 0.9.4Version 0.9.4, convert first .vob file
from "The Last Samurai" (1.0GB) to .mp4
High Profile
TMPGEnc 4.0 ExpressVersion:
Import File: "Terminator 2" SE DVD (5 Minutes)
Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
DivX 6.9.1Encoding mode: Insane Quality
Enhanced multithreading enabled using SSE4
Quarter-pixel search
XviD 1.2.2Display encoding status = off
MainConcept Reference 1.6.1
MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264), MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec
28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2)
Audio: MPEG2 (44.1 KHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s)
Mode: PAL (25 FPS)
Adobe Photoshop CS4 (64-bit)Version: 11.0 x64, Filter 15.7MB TIF Image
Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Autodesk 3ds Max 2010Version: 11.0 x64, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)
Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus 9.0Version: 9.0.663, Virus base: 270.14.1/2407
Benchmark: Scan 334MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files
WinRAR 3.90Version x64 3.90, Dictionary = 4,096KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334MB)
7-ZipVersion 4.65: Format=Zip, Compression=Ultra,
Method=Deflate, Dictionary Size=32KB, Word Size=128, Threads=8
Benchmark: THG-Workload (334MB)
Synthetic Benchmarks
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.01, GPU and CPU scores
PCMark VantageVersion: x64, System, Productivity, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks
SiSoftware Sandra 2010Version 2010.1.16.11, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
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