Although we were afraid of the results, this time around we decided to try something new, forgoing the Core i5 in favor of a dual-core Core i3 CPU in our build. Can the higher clock rate compensate for the loss of two physical cores in our $1000 system?
System Builder Marathon, December 2010: The Articles
Here are links to each of the four articles in this month’s System Builder Marathon (we’ll update them as each story is published). And remember, these systems are all being given away at the end of the marathon.
To enter the giveaway, please check out this Google form, and be sure to read the complete rules before entering!
Our mid-range enthusiast systems have been a little predictable over the past year. The Core i5-750 and Core i7-920 proved themselves to be ideal starting points in the $1000-$1500 price range. And while we’ve been able to demonstrate some specific areas of success with Phenom II X3 and X4 alternatives, the quad-core Intel lineup continues to shine as the sweet-spot.
But what about Intel’s Core i3 lineup? Can a dual-core Hyper-Threaded processor deliver Core i5- 750-class performance with higher clock speeds? Is there superior overclocking potential to be exploited? Is the Core i3 a viable alternative for someone who wants to save a few dollars on the CPU now and upgrade to a Core i5 or i7 later? Can the money saved be better spent on other components?
Those are questions we try to answer in this month’s $1000 enthusiast system, and here are the components we are using to do that:
|$1,000 Enthusiast System Components|
|Motherboard||Asus Sabertooth 55i|
LGA 1156, Intel P55 chipset
|Processor||Intel Core i3-550|
3.2 GHz, Dual-Core, 4 MB L3 Cache
|CPU Cooler||Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus||$30|
|Memory||GeIL Black Dragon 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3-1333|
Dual-Channel Desktop Memory Kit
|Graphics||2 x ECS NBGTX460|
GeForce GTX 460 SLI configuration, 1 GB GDDR5 per card
|Hard Drives||WD Caviar Black 750 GB|
750 GB, 7200 RPM, 32 MB Cache SATA 3Gb/s
|Optical||LG 22x DVD – GH22LS50 OEM|
22x DVD+R, 8x DVD+RW, 48x CD ROM
|Fans||2 x APEVIA CF12S-BK 120 mm||$8|
|Power||Corsair CMPSU-650TX 650 W|
ATX12V, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Certified
- Let's Give Core i3 A Chance
- CPU, Motherboard, And Cooler
- Video Cards, Power Supply, And Case
- Memory, Hard Drive, And Optical Drive
- Assembly And Overclocking
- Test Systems And Benchmarks
- Benchmark Results: Synthetics
- Benchmark Results: Media Encoding
- Benchmark Results: 2D And 3D Graphics
- Application Benchmarks: Productivity
- Benchmark Results: Crysis
- Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
- Benchmark Results: DiRT 2
- Benchmark Results: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of Pripyat
- Benchmark Results: Power And Temperature