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Power, Heat, And Overall Performance

System Builder Marathon, Q3 2013: $2550 Performance PC
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The new build uses a two-generation-old CPU architecture, but more cores and cache, along with a trio of enthusiast-class graphics cards to improve 3D performance potential. So far, the added GPUs have barely proven themselves more potent than Q2’s dual-GPU GeForce GTX 690 (a $1000 option), but we can already guess that they're going to hurt our power consumption measurements.

According to its 80 PLUS test sheet, a 981 W input pushes the current PC to its 850 W output limit. My concerns about a better overclock in the face of lower heat can now be laid to rest, since the better cooling needed to support higher voltage and CPU frequencies would have pushed the power supply past its rated ceiling anyway.

The new build runs hot, always near the point of thermal throttling when overclocked and loaded. Given the power numbers we saw, it’s probably best to leave this one at stock frequencies.

On the flip side, today's setup also performs best in every benchmark discipline except storage. I needed to remove Intel’s enterprise-oriented RSTe storage driver in order to correct that deficiency in its overclocked configuration.

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