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Test System And Benchmarks

System Builder Marathon, Q4 2013: $1600 Enthusiast PC
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The following tables include the stock and overclocked settings for this quarter's $1600 machine, along with our previous $1300 enthusiast-oriented build. Under that, you'll find the benchmark settings for reference.

Q4 2013 $1600 Enthusiast PC Test Settings
 Default Configuration
Overclocked
MotherboardAsus Z87-Plus, LGA 1150, Intel Z87 Express
Unchanged
ProcessorIntel Core i5-4670K: 3.4 GHz Base Clock Rate, 3.8 GHz Turbo Boost, 6 MB Shared L3 Cache4.30 GHz @ 1.285 V
Memory8 GB Patriot Viper 3 (2 x 4 GB), DDR3-1600, CAS 9-9-9-24-1T1866 MT/s 9-10-9-27-2T @ 1.5 V
Graphics2 x MSI Gaming N770 GeForce GTX 770, 2 GB 256-bit GDDR5
1085/1137 MHz Base/GPU Boost, GDDR5-7012
1150/1202 MHz Base/GPU Boost, GDDR5-7460
System DriveSamsung 840 Pro MZ-7PD128PW 128 GB SATA 6Gb/s SSDUnchanged
Storage DriveSeagate Barracuda 2 TB, 7200 RPM, 64 MB Cache, SATA 6Gb/sUnchanged
OpticalLite-On iHAS124-04: DVD BurnerUnchanged
CaseNZXT Gamma Black ATX Mid-Tower Computer CaseUnchanged
PowerCorsair TX750 V2 750 W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Bronze-Certified PSUUnchanged
Q3 2013 $1300 Enthusiast PC Test Settings
 Default Configuration
Overclocked
MotherboardGigabyte Z87X-OC, LGA 1150, Intel Z87Unchanged
ProcessorIntel Core i5-4670K: 3.4 GHz Base Clock Rate, 3.8 GHz Turbo Boost, 6 MB Shared L3 Cache4.30 GHz @ 1.25 V
MemoryCorsair Vengeance 8 GB Model CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9R, (2 x 4 GB), DDR3-1600, CAS 9-9-9-24-1T1800 MT/s 9-11-11-28 1T @ 1.535 V
GraphicsGigabyte GeForce GTX 770 2 GB 256-bit GDDR5
1037/1089 MHz Base/GPU Boost, GDDR5-6008
1187/1239 MHz Base/GPU Boost, GDDR5-7500
System Drive
Samsung 840 MZ-7TD120BW 2.5" 120 GB SATA 6Gb/s (SSD)Unchanged
Storage DriveWD Blue WD10EZEX 1 TB, 7200 RPM, 64 MB Cache, SATA 6Gb/sUnchanged
OpticalSamsung SH-224DB/RSBS DVD BurnerUnchanged
CaseAntec GX 700 ATX Mid Tower Computer CaseUnchanged
PowerCorsair 650TX 650 W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Bronze Modular PSUUnchanged

And here are the benchmark details:

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Battlefield 3Version 1.0.0.0, DirectX 11, 90-Second Fraps "Going Hunting"
Test Set 1: Medium Quality Preset, No AA, 4X AF, SSAO
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 4X MSAA, 16X AF, HBAO
The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimVersion 1.6.89.06, Version 1.5.26.05 (June), 25-Second Fraps
Test Set 1: High Preset, No AA, 8x AF, FXAA Enabled
Test Set 2: Ultra Preset, 8x AA, 16x AF, FXAA Enabled
Far Cry 3
Version 1.04, 50-Second Fraps "Ananaki Village"
Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA, Standard Alpha, SSAO
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset,  4X MSAA, Enhanced Alpha, HDAO
F1 2012Version 1.2, Direct X 11, Built-in Benchmark
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality, 8x MSAA
Audio/Video Encoding
HandBrake CLIVersion: 0.98, Video: Video from Canon EOS 7D (1920x1080, 25 frames) 1 Minutes 22 Seconds, Audio: PCM-S16, 48,000 Hz, Two-Channel, to Video: AVC1 Audio: AAC (High Profile)
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)
TotalCode Studio 2.5Version: 2.5.0.10677, 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
ABBYY FineReaderVersion 10.0.102.82: Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
Adobe Photoshop CS6Version 13 x64: Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Autodesk 3ds Max 2012Version 14.0 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, 248 Frames, 1440x1080
7-ZipVersion 9.28, LZMA2, Syntax "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5"
Benchmark: THG-Workload-2012
WinRARVersion 4.2, RAR, Syntax "winrar a -r -m3"
Benchmark: THG-Workload-2012
WinZipVersion 17.0 Pro, Best Method, ZIPX
Benchmark: THG-Workload-2012
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark 11Version: 1.0.1, Entry, Performance, Extreme Suite
PCMark 7Version: 1.0.4, System, Productivity, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks
SiSoftware Sandra 2013Version: 2013 SP5c-1872, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
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  • 4 Hide
    Crashman , December 27, 2013 4:15 AM
    I just wanted to let you guys know before the $2400 PC pops up, that this renewed focus on gaming is a Don and Paul effort. With $2400 on the line, it's easy to improve the entire machine and try to make a clean sweep of every benchmark :) 
  • 1 Hide
    Onus , December 27, 2013 4:45 AM
    This was a good build, if only for the single data point that was the power usage. At stock, you could get away with a good 650W PSU, but overclocked it's probably not a good idea. There weren't really any surprises anywhere else. The one pic was dark; how was cable management in that case? I used one a while back and reviewed it, and I though that was probably its weakest point.
  • 1 Hide
    Onus , December 27, 2013 6:33 AM
    If you would like comments and assistance on a personal build, please start your own thread in the New Builds forum. This thread is for discussions about the System Builder Marathon machines. Thanks.
  • 0 Hide
    Yuka , December 27, 2013 6:36 AM
    I have to say I'm really surprised for the crappy scaling of the GTX770s. Was it a CPU bound issue or maybe a PCIe bottleneck? Driver issue? Profile issue? haha

    I'm really surprised to say the least.

    Cheers!
  • 1 Hide
    blubbey , December 27, 2013 6:43 AM
    !!!IMPORTANT!!!!

    Before commenting about benches, read:

    "Keep this parting thought in mind: we're fully aware that the SBM test suite is showing its age, and we have new benchmark results with more modern games. You're going to see this surface in our Day 4 analysis from Thomas."

    Last page, last paragraph.

    Nice build, hilariously good performance in BF3, In the more modern games, will there be any GPU memory bottlenecks with triple monitor setups? We shall see!
  • 3 Hide
    lp231 , December 27, 2013 7:08 AM
    It seems these sbm have no strict budget limit. Every time these sbm articles, the budget gets higher and higher. A $1,000 enthusiast pc would be more of a real world build, since that is the maximum amount, most people spend these days on their new build.
    What will the budget be for next times enthusiast pc?
    Now it is at $1,600. So next time it will be $2,500 cause getting them 2x GTX 880 in sli is consider as a budget enthusiast pc?!
  • 1 Hide
    Steve Pound , December 27, 2013 7:19 AM
    Who plays Skyrim on PC and not have a membership at Nexus so the most basic improvements can be made? Leading to: why has this site used the game for 2 years and not done that? Maybe FO4 will be more promising.
  • -2 Hide
    jtenorj , December 27, 2013 8:23 AM
    If go go with an optical drive in this price range, it should be a dvd burner. It's not that much more expensive, media prices are coming down(better cost per GB and speed than dvd in some cases) and lets you play blu tay movies without using bandwitdh to download or stream hd video. My 2 cents.
  • 0 Hide
    jtenorj , December 27, 2013 8:24 AM
    Edit: I meant blu ray burner. Also, I don't care for that case(personal preference).
  • 0 Hide
    mjmjpfaff , December 27, 2013 8:50 AM
    @Yuka
    It depends on which resolution you look at. I advise you to go back and look at the higher resolutions where the 770's in SLI can actually show a huge difference over one 770. It almost doubles in FPS over last quarter's build if you look at some 5760x1080 res. graphs.
  • 0 Hide
    Calculatron , December 27, 2013 9:04 AM
    Kudos for using an Enermax cooling solution, though I am sure that hordes will be wondering why a Cooler Master product wasn't used in its place. :\
  • -4 Hide
    ingtar33 , December 27, 2013 9:05 AM
    @yuka

    just because SLi works a lot better then xfire does not mean it's flawless. SLi has had serious scaling issues for a long time, and just like xfire simply doesn't work in a number of titles and screen settups.

    people have forgotten the issues with SLi since xfire is so obviously broken, but they're still there.
  • 1 Hide
    Gurg , December 27, 2013 9:24 AM
    So overclocked the GPUs were cranking 90ºc plus temps (70ºc+room ambients). It would have been curious to see the dbs of the twins 770s fans screaming away to compare with a 290 with a non-reference cooler.
  • 0 Hide
    rolli59 , December 27, 2013 10:34 AM
    Nice build and general similar parts I would choose if I ever spent $1600 on a PC.
  • -1 Hide
    redgarl , December 27, 2013 11:32 AM
    Oh wow, two card are faster than one...

    Seriously, multi-gpu is there to stay. My two 6850 in CF are still rendering anything I give them at 1080p. I honestly didn't see the difference from passing of single gpu to multi-gpu... but it's true that 6XXX series was working really well in CF.
  • -1 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , December 27, 2013 5:07 PM
    Quote:
    Oh wow, two card are faster than one...

    Seriously, multi-gpu is there to stay. My two 6850 in CF are still rendering anything I give them at 1080p. I honestly didn't see the difference from passing of single gpu to multi-gpu... but it's true that 6XXX series was working really well in CF.


    i would beg to differ, i had 6850's in crossfire, they worked well in a few games, more recent games were running out of vram causing major stuttering, unless your happy running medium details and minimal AA to reduce vram usage. Some games stuttered anyway unless you dropped details to get fps up high so the stuttering goes unnoticed. but then your only really getting a second card to get higher fps, without being able to turn up detail settings, which is not what i wanted. For me a single gtx660 was much smoother in all games than crossfire 6850's, despite producing lower average fps.
  • 0 Hide
    g-unit1111 , December 27, 2013 5:31 PM
    Dual GTX 770 - faster than the Titan for less money. Awesome.
  • 0 Hide
    JohnMD1022 , December 27, 2013 5:55 PM
    The case is FUGLY.

    Perhaps slide the HD back to a WD 1 TB rather than a POS Seagate... :) 

    And $7 fans?

  • 3 Hide
    HideOut , December 27, 2013 9:19 PM
    128gig SSD @ 150 when just a couple dollars more you can get a 240/256 class drive thats just as fast? FAIL
  • 0 Hide
    HideOut , December 27, 2013 9:25 PM
    In fact on newegg right now just looking @ 240, 250 and 256 gig SSD's there are 4 drives CHEAPER than yours (although only 3 pertain to this type of use) and a samsung 840 evo 250gig for only 162.99. To waste half the space to save a few dollars is sooooo fail. A 128 gig drive wont hold much in the way of games. Just BF4/CoD Ghost and WoW takes up over 100 gig (including 1 older game on steam) and I have no saved offline games or anything. Factor in an OS install and you are already dead in the water, nevermind saving xx% of your SSD to maintain speed.
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