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Test System And Benchmarks

System Builder Marathon, August 2012: $1000 Enthusiast PC
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We expect the new build to punish our previous Core i5-2400-based effort, particularly when it's overclocked, thanks to its 1 GHz advantage. The previous system's result, overclocked, may be able to pace today's stock configuration. In GPU-bottlenecked games, performance should be pretty similar since the GeForce GTX 670 and Radeon HD 7970 are competitive. However, when the CPU gums up frame rates, our overclocked Ivy Bridge-based part should facilitate an easy win.

Current $1000 Enthusiast PC Test Settings
 Default Configuration
Overclocked
MotherboardASRock Fatal1ty P67 Performance, LGA 1155, Intel P67 Express chipsetUnchanged
ProcessorIntel Core i5-3570K (Ivy Bridge), 3.4 GHz (3.8 GHz Turbo Boost), Quad-Core, 6 MB L3 Cache4.6 GHz @ +0.1 V
MemoryMushkin Enhanced Blackline 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600
Dual-Channel Desktop Memory Kit, 1333 MT/s CAS 9-9-9-24-1T
1866 MT/s 9-9-9-24-1T @ 1.6 V
GraphicsGigabyte GeForce GTX 670 GV-N670OC-2GD
  2 GB GDDR5 @ 6008 MT/s, GPU @ 1058 MHz boost
GDDR5 @ 6504 MT/s,
GPU @ 1241 MHz boost
Power @ 121%, +1 mV
Hard DriveSeagate Barracuda 750 GB
750 GB, 7200 RPM, 32 MB Cache SATA 6Gb/s
Unchanged
OpticalSamsung SH-222BB/BEBE 22x DVD BurnerUnchanged
CaseRosewill Redbone
Unchanged
PowerCorsair CX600 V2 600 W
ATX12V, EPS12V, 80 PLUS-Certified
Unchanged
June 2012 $1000 Enthusiast PC Test Settings
 Default Configuration
Overclocked
MotherboardGigabyte GA-P67X-UD3-B3, LGA 1155, Intel P67 Express chipsetUnchanged
ProcessorIntel Core i5-2400 (Sandy Bridge), 3.1 GHz (3.4 GHz Turbo Boost), Quad-Core, 6 MB L3 Cache3.6 to 3.8 GHz @ +0.1 V
MemoryAMD Performance Edition 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) 240-Pin DDR3-1600 Kit
Dual-Channel Desktop Memory Kit, CAS 8-9-8-24-1T
Unchanged
GraphicsSapphire Radeon HD 7970 OC
  3 GB GDDR5 @ 5500 MT/s, GPU @ 1110 MHz
GDDR5 @ 6500 MT/s, GPU @ 1243 MHz, Power @ +20%
Hard DriveSeagate Barracuda 750 GB
750 GB, 7200 RPM, 32 MB Cache SATA 6Gb/s
Unchanged
OpticalLG GH22NS90B OEM DVD BurnerUnchanged
CaseLogisys Optimus II
Unchanged
PowerCorsair CX600 V2 600 W
ATX12V, EPS12V, 80 PLUS-Certified
Unchanged


And here's the list of benchmarks:

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Battlefield 3Campaign Mode, "Going Hunting" 90-Seconds Fraps
Test Set 1: Medium Quality Defaults (No AA, 4x AF)
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Defaults (4x AA, 16x AF)
DiRT 3V1.01, Run with -benchmark example_benchmark.xml
Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 8x AA
Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimUpdate 1.4.27, Celedon Aethirborn Level 6, 25 Seconds Fraps
Test Set 1: DX11, High Details No AA, 8x AF, FXAA enabled
Test Set 2: DX11, Ultra Details, 8x AA, 16x AF, FXAA enabled
StarCraft IICustom map "Tom's Hardware Guide V2", 60 seconds Fraps
Test Set 1: High Details, High Quality
Test Set 2: Ultra Details, Extreme Quality
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunesVersion 10.4.1.10 x64: Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 minutes, default AAC format 
Lame MP3Version 3.98.3: Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min, convert WAV to MP3 audio format, Command: -b 160 --nores (160 Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion 0.95: "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 ReferenceVersion: 2.2.0.5440: MPEG-2 to H.264, MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2), Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, Two-Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV
Productivity
Adobe Photoshop CS5Version 12.1 x64: Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Autodesk 3ds Max 2012Version 12.0 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, 248 Frames, 1440x1080
WinZipVersion 15.5 Pro: THG-Workload (650 MB) to ZIP, command line switches "-a -ez -p -r"
WinRARVersion 4.1: THG-Workload (650 MB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"
7-ZipVersion 9.22: THG-Workload (650 MB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5"
ABBYY FineReaderVersion 10.0.102.82: Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark 11Version: 1.0.1.0, Benchmark Only
PCMark 7Version: 1.0.4 x64, System, Productivity, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks
SiSoftware Sandra 2011Version 2011.10.17.80, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
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Top Comments
  • 23 Hide
    alchemy69 , August 21, 2012 4:30 AM
    Bring on the usual motley crew of those who could have done it so much better.
  • 20 Hide
    wildkitten , August 21, 2012 6:13 AM
    mayankleoboy1i love how much difference a few months had on the performance.Just want to mention : i dont see the use of including an optical drive in 2012. i cant remember the last time i used an optical drive. And with digital sales outselling physical discs, i dont see why it is included. Its not about saving $15. Its about buying a part that you will be using less than a couple of times in an year.probably lesser.

    I think there is still a place for optical drives. I just finished a new tower build myself, an i5 3570k myself with the same video card on an Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe. I put in a Blur Ray burner that was only $90. With almost all new phones doing 1080p video, I can burn discs for friends and family of personal videos. People also still have CD players in cars and honestly, on a price per GB bases, it's still the best form of backup.
  • 19 Hide
    lighter17 , August 21, 2012 4:47 AM
    What's going on with the processor price. The i5-3570k is $230 not $300. Then there's no mention of the CPU cooler in the price list.

    And you're pairing an Ivy Bridge CPU with a P67 motherboard to save a few dollars?

    Does anybody proofread these articles?
Other Comments
  • 23 Hide
    alchemy69 , August 21, 2012 4:30 AM
    Bring on the usual motley crew of those who could have done it so much better.
  • 19 Hide
    lighter17 , August 21, 2012 4:47 AM
    What's going on with the processor price. The i5-3570k is $230 not $300. Then there's no mention of the CPU cooler in the price list.

    And you're pairing an Ivy Bridge CPU with a P67 motherboard to save a few dollars?

    Does anybody proofread these articles?
  • 4 Hide
    lunyone , August 21, 2012 4:51 AM
    ^^^ Just noticed and was starting to type that same mistake too :) 
    +1 for the p67 and not a maybe a B75 based mobo like:

    or

    Z77 based mobo for ~$95 shipped??


    Just a though on the mobo situation....

  • -2 Hide
    lunyone , August 21, 2012 4:55 AM
    ^^^ Links didn't work, trying again below:

  • -5 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , August 21, 2012 5:15 AM
    i love how much difference a few months had on the performance.

    Just want to mention : i dont see the use of including an optical drive in 2012. i cant remember the last time i used an optical drive. And with digital sales outselling physical discs, i dont see why it is included.
    Its not about saving $15. Its about buying a part that you will be using less than a couple of times in an year.probably lesser.
  • 10 Hide
    cangelini , August 21, 2012 5:51 AM
    lighter17What's going on with the processor price. The i5-3570k is $230 not $300. Then there's no mention of the CPU cooler in the price list. And you're pairing an Ivy Bridge CPU with a P67 motherboard to save a few dollars?Does anybody proofread these articles?

    Good catch. Not sure what was up with Don's pricing, but his CPU was way off, and he forgot to include the cooler in his price list. I've updated it, and it's only $7 bucks off his original quote, so we're still in good shape. Appreciate the sharp eye, guys!
    Chris
  • 20 Hide
    wildkitten , August 21, 2012 6:13 AM
    mayankleoboy1i love how much difference a few months had on the performance.Just want to mention : i dont see the use of including an optical drive in 2012. i cant remember the last time i used an optical drive. And with digital sales outselling physical discs, i dont see why it is included. Its not about saving $15. Its about buying a part that you will be using less than a couple of times in an year.probably lesser.

    I think there is still a place for optical drives. I just finished a new tower build myself, an i5 3570k myself with the same video card on an Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe. I put in a Blur Ray burner that was only $90. With almost all new phones doing 1080p video, I can burn discs for friends and family of personal videos. People also still have CD players in cars and honestly, on a price per GB bases, it's still the best form of backup.
  • -1 Hide
    blackball3242 , August 21, 2012 7:05 AM
    The asrock professional series is shown whereas the actual motherboard being used is the performance series.

    I almost thought the motherboard had 3 pcie slots for only $100- that would have been a steal!
  • 5 Hide
    nathcarter , August 21, 2012 7:11 AM
    Any particular reason for P67 over Z77? Is it purely cost-based, or are there significant performance benefits?
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , August 21, 2012 7:35 AM
    Looks promising except for the UEFI issue. What motherboard would you recommend for someone who doesn't happen to have a spare Sandy Bridge processor around to update the UEFI?
  • -5 Hide
    simonmodule , August 21, 2012 7:44 AM
    I thought the ivy bridge wasn't that good in overclocking as sandy bridge, cause of the whole intel hd graphics being bigger and all the overheating?
  • 7 Hide
    sterimar , August 21, 2012 7:47 AM
    In my opinion, you should stick to the budget, Tom's. Part of the fun (and the reality of the situation for most people) are the tradeoffs you have to deal with when assembling your PC. And no, it wasn't the extra memory or the SSD that pushed you over budget since you say those are compulsory components. It was the 670 that you wanted so much. If you can't fit it under $1,000, then just don't get the 670, get something worse or get a cheaper CPU with the 670. I understand going over budget by a few bucks, but $57, that's a pretty significant lapse in budgeting, in my mind.
  • 15 Hide
    Fokissed , August 21, 2012 8:10 AM
    mayankleoboy1i love how much difference a few months had on the performance.Just want to mention : i dont see the use of including an optical drive in 2012. i cant remember the last time i used an optical drive. And with digital sales outselling physical discs, i dont see why it is included. Its not about saving $15. Its about buying a part that you will be using less than a couple of times in an year.probably lesser.

    Because it's needed. Need it to install Windows and certain software. Sometimes you can't avoid using the optical drive.
  • 0 Hide
    Fokissed , August 21, 2012 8:12 AM
    sterimarIn my opinion, you should stick to the budget, Tom's. Part of the fun (and the reality of the situation for most people) are the tradeoffs you have to deal with when assembling your PC. And no, it wasn't the extra memory or the SSD that pushed you over budget since you say those are compulsory components. It was the 670 that you wanted so much. If you can't fit it under $1,000, then just don't get the 670, get something worse or get a cheaper CPU with the 670. I understand going over budget by a few bucks, but $57, that's a pretty significant lapse in budgeting, in my mind.

    But the SSD and RAM don't have much effect on the benchmarks preformed in the marathon. Those optional components are dead weight when it comes to the comparisons.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 21, 2012 8:44 AM
    FokissedBut the SSD and RAM don't have much effect on the benchmarks preformed in the marathon. Those optional components are dead weight when it comes to the comparisons.

    exactly. i get a few thumbs down from people that think a 60 gb SSD is worth it.

    well what does it do?
    boots windows faster thats it; a complete waste of $60 in terms of performance.

    if its an advantage to install an SSD a minimum would be 120 gbs so at least all applications and games can be installed.
  • 8 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , August 21, 2012 8:48 AM
    any PC built today needs an SSD. depending on your budget, choose the capacity. A PC cant be fast without removing the biggest bottleneck.
  • -5 Hide
    sarinaide , August 21, 2012 9:00 AM
    Again a build that is over limit and greedy, I regard $1000 as the basic enthusiast build and this doesn't reflect it adequately;

    1] Fixation on 'k' chips is insane, the fact that I can run BF3 on a stock Thuban at well over 70 FPS with maxed presets is enough to suggest that $50 for the overclocking is actually not really needed.

    2] Ivy bridge on a P67 setup, just to get a pretty board on a dead chipset, not only are you crimping the IB features you can settle on a Z77 UD5H from Gigabyte a far superior board.

    3] GTX 670, a HD7850 can max out a game at HD res around 1080P why spend more?
  • 0 Hide
    dragonborn , August 21, 2012 9:20 AM
    I don't know how someone could put such components in a crappy case like this !
  • 8 Hide
    sarinaide , August 21, 2012 9:23 AM
    For this tier the 7870/660ti/7950B should have been the criteria, that is a price range from $270 to $330 total savings of $70-130 which is more than sufficient.
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