System Builder Marathon, June 2011: $1000 Enthusiast PC

Test System And Benchmarks

Since the current and previous $1000 System Builder Marathon PCs use the same CPU and clock rates, we don’t expect to see much difference in many of the processor-bound tests in our suite. The newer system does have a slightly-faster hard drive, but last quarter's system included lower-latency memory.

We will, however, see some differences between the firmware-unlocked Radeon HD 6950 and this quarter's pair of Radeon HD 6850 cards in CrossFire. Will the dual-card configuration rule the roost, or can the Radeon HD 6950’s 2 GB of memory even the odds at high resolutions with anti-aliasing applied?

Current $1000 Enthusiast PC Test Settings
 Standard SpeedOverclocked
MotherboardMSI P67A-G43
LGA 1155, Intel P67 chipset
Unchanged
ProcessorIntel Core i5-2500K
3.3 GHz (3.7 GHz Turbo Boost), Quad-Core, 6 MB L3 Cache
4500 MHz at 1.4 V
MemoryG.Skill Ripjaws 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) DDR3-1333
Dual-Channel Desktop Memory Kit, CAS 9-9-9-22-1T
Unchanged
Graphics2 x Gigabyte Radeon HD 6850
  1 GB GDDR5 @ 1050 MHz
GPU @ 820 MHz
GDDR5 @ 1100 MHz
GPU @ 875 MHz
Hard DrivesWestern Digital Caviar Black 750 GB
750 GB, 7200 RPM, 32 MB cache SATA 3Gb/s
Unchanged
OpticalLG GH22MS70
22x DVD Burner
Unchanged
CaseXclio Nighthawk
Unchanged
PowerCorsair CMPSU-650TX 650 W
ATX12V, EPS12V, 80 PLUS-Certified
Unchanged
March 2011 $1000 Enthusiast PC Test Settings
 Standard SpeedOverclocked
MotherboardASRock P67 Extreme4
LGA 1155, Intel P67 chipset
Unchanged
ProcessorIntel Core i5-2500K
3.3 GHz (3.7 GHz Turbo Boost), Quad-Core, 6 MB L3 Cache
4400 MHz at 1.4 V
MemoryG.Skill Ripjaws 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) DDR3-1333
Dual-Channel Desktop Memory Kit, CAS 7-7-7-20-1T
Unchanged
GraphicsGigabyte Radeon HD 6950
  2 GB GDDR5 @ 1250 MHz
1408-shader Cayman GPU @ 800 MHz
GDDR5 @ 1300 MHz
GPU modded to 1536 shaders @ 880 MHz
Hard DrivesSamsung Spinpoint 1 TB
1 TB, 7200 RPM, 32 MB cache SATA 3Gb/s
Unchanged
OpticalAsus DRW-24B1ST
24x DVD Burner
Unchanged
CaseIn-Win Android
Unchanged
PowerCorsair CMPSU-650TX 650 W
ATX12V, EPS12V, 80 PLUS-Certified
Unchanged


And here's the list of 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
Metro 2033
Full Game, Built-In Benchmark, "Frontline" Scene
Test Set 1: DX11, High, AAA, 4x AF, No PhysX, No DoF
Test Set 2: DX11, Very High, 4x AA, 16x AF, No PhysX, DoF On
Just Cause 2
In-game benchmark: Concrete Jungle
Test Set 1: Medium Details, No AA, 8x AF
Test Set 2: Highest Details, 8x AA, 16x AF
F1 2010
V1.01, Run with -benchmark example_benchmark.xml
Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 8x AA
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunes
Version 9.0.3.15 x64: Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 minutes, default AAC format 
Lame MP3
Version 3.98.3: Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min, convert WAV to MP3 audio format, Command: -b 160 --nores (160 Kb/s)
HandBrake CLI
Version 0.94: "Big Buck Bunny" (720x480, 23.972 FPS) 5 Minutes, Audio: Dolby Digital, 48 000 Hz, Six-Channel, English, to Video: AVC Audio: AC3 Audio2: AAC (High Profile)
MainConcept Reference
Version: 2.0.0.1555: MPEG-2 to H.264, MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2), Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV
Productivity
Adobe Photoshop CS5Version 12.0 x64: Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Autodesk 3ds Max 2010Version 12.0 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, 248 Frames, 1440x1080
WinZIPVersion 14.0 Pro: THG-Workload (464 MB) to ZIP, command line switches "-a -ez -p -r"
WinRARVersion 4.0 Beta 4: THG-Workload (464 MB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"
7-ZipVersion 9.2: THG-Workload (464 MB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5"
ABBYY Finereader
Version 10.0.102.82: Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
Synthetic Benchmarks
3DMark 11Version: 1.0.1.0, Benchmark Only
PCMark VantageVersion: 1.0.1.0 x64, System, Productivity, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks
SiSoftware Sandra 2011Version 2011.1.17.15, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
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69 comments
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    Top Comments
  • whysobluepandabear
    seller417650W is enough power for this rig?

    Well, looking into my tarot cards and crystal ball, I see It peaks at 400W at full load. So yeah, I think 650W may be a bit of an overkill.
    15
  • Other Comments
  • seller417
    650W is enough power for this rig?
    -10
  • kelby0320
    Radeon HD 9950 I want one
    -7
  • whysobluepandabear
    What? 6850 x 2 = $340? Um, I could get TWO 6870's for $350~ EASY. Sure, they have mail in rebates, but who cares.


    Two 6870's would stomp the 6850's, and you would literally spend the same, if not a measly $10 more.
    -10
  • quixilver1
    Why change the cooler from the $200 pc. It is only $5 more and still within the budget.
    1
  • whysobluepandabear
    seller417650W is enough power for this rig?

    Well, looking into my tarot cards and crystal ball, I see It peaks at 400W at full load. So yeah, I think 650W may be a bit of an overkill.
    15
  • quixilver1
    quixilver1Why change the cooler from the $200 pc. It is only $5 more and still within the budget.

    Should read $2000 pc.
    7
  • Tamz_msc
    Overall, its a good build.
    2
  • iam2thecrowe
    whysobluepandabearWell, looking into my tarot cards and crystal ball, I see It peaks at 400W at full load. So yeah, I think 650W may be a bit of an overkill.

    Why would it be overkill? Its the kind of headroom you should have so your not straining the psu. Sure you could get away with less, but for a few dollars more than a 500w unit you can get a 650w. Its perfectly balanced and leaves room for upgrade. Its good to see what 2 6850's can do but i think if I were building this PC i would chose a faster single card and upgrade to dual cards later.
    3
  • akorzan
    seller417650W is enough power for this rig?

    Yes. There is a misconception that rigs need over-sized power supplies. I have a Core i7 875k and a Radeon HD5850 running on a 400 Watt power-supply. Is it pushing it? Yes, if I clock it to 4.2 GHz and run Furmark and Prime95 none stop...
    No if I run Furmark and Prime95 at 3.33 GHz, and definitely no for any realistic workloads.
    Why did I get a 400 watt power-supply? Because it is darn silent and was recommended on Silent PC Review for "budget" power-supplies. (Bare in mind that "normal" are gold SeaSonics)
    3
  • whysobluepandabear
    iam2thecroweWhy would it be overkill? Its the kind of headroom you should have so your not straining the psu. Sure you could get away with less, but for a few dollars more than a 500w unit you can get a 650w. Its perfectly balanced and leaves room for upgrade. Its good to see what 2 6850's can do but i think if I were building this PC i would chose a faster single card and upgrade to dual cards later.


    Because he was asking if 650W was enough, when all he had to do was look at the chart and clearly see the 399W max system (CPU+GPU) load.


    So essentially, for that system, the 650W is more than enough, and ...effectively an "Overkill".
    4
  • Kamab
    Most power supplies run most efficiently around 50-60% max load. That and they tend to not heat up as much at that load, so what you think is "Overkill" might be more reliable, efficient, and less likely to have failing components due to less heat.
    3
  • alikum
    Here's another question. Does it have sufficient power connectors for both cards?
    6
  • buzznut
    alikumHere's another question. Does it have sufficient power connectors for both cards?

    +1
    1
  • quixilver1
    alikumHere's another question. Does it have sufficient power connectors for both cards?

    Yes
    2x 6+2 pci-e connectors
    Card uses 1x 6pin connector each
    2
  • KenZen2B
    If you are going to overclock and spend that amount of money for the CPU, it does not make any sense to go cheap on the cooler. Next time show the difference between this cooler and the high end cooler when overclocking. It may only make sense to go cheap when not overclocking.
    3
  • alikum
    quixilver1Yes2x 6+2 pci-e connectorsCard uses 1x 6pin connector each

    I was under the impression that each requires at least 2 connectors because my toxic version requires 1x 6+2 and 1x 6
    0
  • nitrium
    Most (or even all) of the charts show "March 2010 $1000 system". I was actually confused, since I always skip the preamble, and go straight to the hard numbers.
    2
  • iam2thecrowe
    alikumI was under the impression that each requires at least 2 connectors because my toxic version requires 1x 6+2 and 1x 6

    my powercolour 6850 has 1 connector and so do most of them.
    "I have a Core i7 875k and a Radeon HD5850 running on a 400 Watt power-supply" - wouldnt try that on a diablotek 400w.
    3
  • Stardude82
    quixilver1Why change the cooler from the $200 pc. It is only $5 more and still within the budget.


    My guess is that the $2k cooler couldn't fit in the $1K cooler case. The Nighthawk is an inch narrower and the Loki is an inch shorter. There are still a few good cases which should work with the 120 mm fan.
    2
  • Anonymous
    This build completely killed my video card plans. 2 x Radeon 6850 are $10 cheaper than THE CHEAPEST GTX 570. But what's the better choice!?! Damn you graphics card producers for making this so hard :)
    2