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System Builder Marathon, December 2010: $2000 PC
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We’re comparing today’s build to our September 2010 Hand-Picked Build, which was the follow-up to September’s original $2000 PC.

Test Hardware Configurations
 Current $2000 PCPrevious $2000 PC
Motherboard
(Overclock)
Gigabyte X58A-UD3R
Intel X58 Express, ICH10R
O/C to 189 MHz BCLK
Gigabyte X58A-UD3R
Intel X58 Express, ICH10R
O/C to 188 MHz BCLK
Processor
(Overclock)
Intel Core i7-950
3.06 GHz, Four Physical Cores
O/C to to 4.35 GHz, 1.40 V
Intel Core i7-970
3.2 GHz, Six Physical Cores
O/C to to 4.0 GHz, 1.30 V
Memory
(Overclock)
6 GB Mushkin DDR3-1333
CAS 9-9-9-24, U/C at 1.60 V
to DDR3-1133 CL 7-6-7-18
6 GB Mushkin DDR3-1333
CAS 9-9-9-24, O/C at 1.60 V
to DDR3-1400, CL 8-8-8-24
Graphics
(Overclock)
2 x EVGA GeForce GTX-470
607 MHz GPU, GDDR5-3348
O/C to 702 MHz, GDDR5-3404
2 x EVGA GeForce GTX-460
763 MHz GPU, GDDR5-3800
O/C to 845 MHz, GDDR5-4200
Hard Drive2 x A-Data S599 SSD, Striped
64 GB x 2 (128 GB Combined)
MLC, SATA 3Gb/s 
Samsung F3 HD103SJ
1 TB, 7200 RPM
32 MB Cache, SATA 3Gb/s 
OpticalLite-On iHBS112 Blu-ray Drive, 12x BD-R, 16x DVD±RLite-On iHAS124, 24x DVD±R, 48x CD-R
CaseSilverStone Fortress FT02BAntec Three Hundred Illusion
PowerSilverStone ST85F-P 850 W
850 W, 80 PLUS Silver
Seasonic SS-850HT
850 W, 80 PLUS Silver
CPU CoolerProlimatech Megahalems Rev.B,
Delta AFC1212D-PWM Fan
Scythe Mugen 2 Rev. B
(SCMG-2100)
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
GraphicsNvidia Forceware 260.99Nvidia Forceware 258.96
ChipsetIntel INF 9.1.2.1007Intel INF 9.1.2.1007


We haven’t added any new benchmarks to address hard drive performance and program startup times, but have instead added a chart that shows the measured performance from several of PCMark’s individual hard drive tests. PCMark measures how long it takes to retrieve a group of files, including seek time and transfer time. Rather than report completion time, it divides the combined file size by completion time and reports the result in MB/s.

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2Campaign, Act III, Second Sun (45 sec. FRAPS)
Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AA
Test Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x AA
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Very High Quality, 8x AA
DiRT 2Run with -benchmark example_benchmark.xml
Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 8x AA
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of PripyatCall Of Pripyat Benchmark version
Test Set 1: High Preset, DX11 EFDL, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Preset, DX11 EFDL, 4x MSAA
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunesVersion:9.0.2.25 x64
Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 minutes
Default format AAC
HandBrake 0.9.4Version 0.9.4, convert first .vob file from The Last Samurai (1 GB) to .mp4, High Profile
TMPGEnc 4.0 XPressVersion: 4.7.3.292
Import File: Terminator 2 SE DVD (5 Minutes)
Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
DivX Codec 6.9.1Encoding mode: Insane Quality
Enhanced multithreading enabled using SSE4
Quarter-pixel search
XviD 1.2.2Display encoding status = off
MainConcept Reference 1.6.1MPEG2 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)
Productivity
Adobe Photoshop CS4Version: 11.0 x64, Filter 15.7 MB 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 334 MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files
WinRAR 3.90Version x64 3.90, Dictionary = 4,096 KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)
7-ZipVersion 4.65: Format=Zip, Compression=Ultra, Method=Deflate, Dictionary Size=32 KB, Word Size=128, Threads=8
Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.0.1, GPU and CPU scores
PCMark VantageVersion: 1.0.1.0 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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  • 0 Hide
    amk09 , December 13, 2010 4:13 AM
    The link to enter the giveaway doesn't work!

    I would love to be first to enter :) 
  • 2 Hide
    micr0be , December 13, 2010 4:18 AM
    i think im gona get a revo 2 drive ssd to upgrade my current build.... all thanks to santa !!
  • 7 Hide
    Tamz_msc , December 13, 2010 4:31 AM
    Its good to know that choosing the wrong memory can affect performance in such a way.
  • 7 Hide
    fstrthnu , December 13, 2010 4:49 AM
    I'm pretty surprised we didn't see Geforce GTX 570s in this build, I guess they got released too late to make it here.
  • 2 Hide
    fstrthnu , December 13, 2010 4:57 AM
    >> First time in recent memory
    "Cough Cough" Lame Pun
  • 2 Hide
    jerreece , December 13, 2010 5:01 AM
    Wow that Mushkin memory really jacked up this benchmark.
  • -1 Hide
    kkiddu , December 13, 2010 5:10 AM
    Most perfect build ever ? Just read the configs yet, and I think that's a possibility.

    Now don't skin me if the config proves to be a flop in the coming pages. Just read the first page and couldn't resist a comment.
  • -5 Hide
    hemburger , December 13, 2010 5:16 AM
    Why not replace the two ssd's with a single intel 120gb... same price and now on 35nm
  • -1 Hide
    kkiddu , December 13, 2010 5:17 AM
    I think this one can be trimmed to a very good $1500 build as well. Change the CPU to i5 760, remove one of the cards, one of the SSDs, and you'll need lower capacity PSU for that, let's slash $30-$50 there, you get a very good PC for $1500.
  • -1 Hide
    kkiddu , December 13, 2010 5:23 AM
    And oh, cheapen the case as well. There's no free lunch. You gotta sacrifice some silence to gains some frame rates.
  • 6 Hide
    duk3 , December 13, 2010 5:44 AM
    Get rid of MW2 in benchmarks for Battlefield Bad Company 2 and add in Starcraft 2 in my opinion. Nice computer, that's too bad about the memory.
  • 7 Hide
    gti88 , December 13, 2010 6:12 AM
    Having $2000, I would take i5 760 + 2 x gtx580
  • 1 Hide
    barmaley , December 13, 2010 6:15 AM
    I agree with the people above who mentioned i5 760 and GTX 570. I was thinking the same thing when I saw the config. IMO, $2000 would give you far better performance in games, especially with high resolution and quality:

    GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD3 LGA 1156 - $125
    Intel i5 760 - $205
    Scythe Mugen 2 - 47
    Cooler Master HAF 932 - $140
    GTX 570 2x SLI $700
    Samsung F3 1TB - $70
    Crucial 128GB C300 - $275
    CORSAIR XMS 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 - $125
    Antec TruePower Quattro TPQ-1000 1000W - $170
    Lite-On iHBS112 Blu-ray Drive: 12x BD-R, 16x DVD±R - $120
    Total: $1977

    All prices without rebates included. The $23 left over can be used to pay for the shipping where applicable. Also, an SSD can be replaced for a cheaper one to save a little money, if that's your thing.
  • 1 Hide
    styrkes , December 13, 2010 6:19 AM
    But isn't this worse than the previous $2000 PC?
  • -1 Hide
    Tamz_msc , December 13, 2010 6:27 AM
    @barmaley
    Everything is fine except the motherboard and here's why:
    http://www.hardware-revolution.com/p55-motherboards-crossfire-sli-performance-problem/
  • 1 Hide
    nyrychvantel , December 13, 2010 6:34 AM
    why is single intel 120GB better than 2x 64GB RAID 0? I thought the later twice the speed than a single SSD?
  • 2 Hide
    gti88 , December 13, 2010 6:44 AM
    $2000 config with TWO gtx 580:
    ASUS Maximus III Formula LGA 1156 - $179
    Core i5-760 - $205
    Noctua NH-U12P - $75
    Kingston DDR3 4gb - $56
    ENERMAX REVOLUTION85+ 920W - $200
    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 2Tb - $100
    COOLER MASTER CM690 II Advanced Black Steel - $80
    GTX580 x2 (SLI) - $1100

    Total price: $2005
  • -1 Hide
    barmaley , December 13, 2010 6:52 AM
    This build with 2 GTX 580 is nice. The only thing is that a lot people would have a problem paying $2000 and not getting blue ray and SSD. Not that it affects gaming in a big way as much as a good graphics card does, but it still counts.
  • 1 Hide
    nevertell , December 13, 2010 7:08 AM
    gti88$2000 config with TWO gtx 580:ASUS Maximus III Formula LGA 1156 - $179Core i5-760 - $205Noctua NH-U12P - $75Kingston DDR3 4gb - $56ENERMAX REVOLUTION85+ 920W - $200SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 2Tb - $100COOLER MASTER CM690 II Advanced Black Steel - $80GTX580 x2 (SLI) - $1100Total price: $2005

    Good for gaming and nothing else.
  • 3 Hide
    SpadeM , December 13, 2010 7:10 AM
    Probably one of the most balanced (and i mean that in a good way) build i've seen in a while. (though i do miss the exotic 4x4850 from Don a while back, and i do hope u bring that back some day)
    Tamz_mscIts good to know that choosing the wrong memory can affect performance in such a way.

    And yes +1 for that and for Thomas, i'm looking forward to a follow-up article on that specific issue.
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