Page 1:Bring On The High-End Graphics
Page 2:CPU, Motherboard, And Cooler
Page 3:Video Cards, Power Supply, And Case
Page 4:Memory, Hard Drives, And Optical Drive
Page 5:System Assembly And Overclocking
Page 6:Test System And Benchmarks
Page 7:Results: Synthetics
Page 8:Results: Media Transcoding
Page 9:Results: Rendering And Productivity
Page 10:Results: Adobe Creative Suite
Page 11:Results: Compression Tools
Page 12:Results: Battlefield 3 And The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Page 13:Results: F1 2012 And Far Cry 3
Page 14:Power And Temperature
Page 15:Two GeForce GTX 770s In SLI Are, Obviously, Fast
System Assembly And Overclocking
The last time I used NZXT's Gamma ATX case, it was 2010. While I remember it being a sturdily-built budget-oriented enclosure, I was really curious to see if it still compared favorably to today's inexpensive chassis. After three years, I expected to be reminded why I spoke so fondly of the Gamma.
And it stands the test of time well, particularly in light of the $35 I spent getting it back into my lab (though Newegg's sale appears to be over and this product is back up to $50). It still comes with one 120 mm fan, so I remedied the Gamma's lack of airflow with an Apevia 140 mm blower to help exhaust heated air from up top, plus a Rosewill 120 mm intake fan to cool the storage up front. Each fan cost me an extra $7.
The build process went smoothly for me, and NZXT's case proved adequately large for MSI's two GeForce GTX 770s. My main critique is that I'd like more space behind the motherboard tray for cable management. Also, a mount for the SSD would have come in useful, though the fact it's missing on such an old chassis isn't surprising. I worked around this omission by mounting Samsung's 840 Pro on the side of the floppy drive cage.
Otherwise, the Gamma remains a solid choice, again, especially considering its price.
Unlike Paul and Thomas, both of whom put a lot of optimization into their overclocks, I prefer to keep the process simple when it comes to my System Builder Marathon machines, replicating what a novice might achieve at home. Consequently, I limit the process to increasing CPU voltage and tweaking the multiplier.
While I had some success booting to 4.5 GHz, I ultimately dialed back to 4.3 GHz for stability at 1.285 volts. That's exactly the same overclock achieved in my previous mid-range build, so you should expect many of the benchmark results to look similar.
As for system memory, Asus' board defaulted to 1600 MT/s at 9-9-9 timings, so I triggered the XMP profile for 1866 MT/s at 9-10-9 timings in my overclocked configuration.
If you've overclocked graphics cards in SLI, then you already know that maximum headroom becomes more limited. I was only able to squeeze an extra 65 MHz out of the core and 112 MHz (448 MT/s effective) from the GDDR5 memory.
- Bring On The High-End Graphics
- CPU, Motherboard, And Cooler
- Video Cards, Power Supply, And Case
- Memory, Hard Drives, And Optical Drive
- System Assembly And Overclocking
- Test System And Benchmarks
- Results: Synthetics
- Results: Media Transcoding
- Results: Rendering And Productivity
- Results: Adobe Creative Suite
- Results: Compression Tools
- Results: Battlefield 3 And The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- Results: F1 2012 And Far Cry 3
- Power And Temperature
- Two GeForce GTX 770s In SLI Are, Obviously, Fast