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Benchmark And Overclocking Configurations

System Builder Marathon Q4 2013: System Value Compared
By

Like it or not, Intel’s XMP technology provides overclocking modes for DRAM. Don left his system at its unconfigured defaults (SPD values) for baseline measurements and enabled XMP as his overclocked mode.

But unlike other overclocking options, XMP modes are part of the module’s rated performance. Paul and I chose to enable this feature for baseline measurements, and I was able to put my memory performance even higher using manual O/C methods.

Test Hardware Configurations
 $800 Gaming PC$1600 Enthusiast PC$2400 Performance PC
Processor
(Overclock)
Intel Core i5-3570: 3.4 - 3.6 GHz, Four Physical Cores, O/C to 3.8 - 4.0 GHz 1.26 VIntel Core i5-4670K: 3.4 - 3.8 GHz, Four Physical Cores, O/C to 4.30 GHz, 1.30 VIntel Core i7-4930K: 3.4 -
3.90 GHz, Six Physical Cores
O/C to 4.4 - 4.6 GHz, +140 mV
Graphics
(Overclock)
Gigabyte R9 280X: 1100 MHz GPU, GDDR5-6000, O/C to 1115 MHz GPU, GDDR5-64002 x MSI GTX 770: 1089 MHz GPU, GDDR5-6008, O/C to 1212 MHz GDDR5-75122 x Asus R9 290: 947 MHz GPU,  GDDR5-5000
O/C to 1100 MHz, GDDR5-5600
Memory
(Overclock)
8 GB Team Vulcan DDR3-1600 CAS 9-9-9-24, No O/C8 GB Patriot DDR3-1600 CAS 9-9-9-24 1T, O/C to DDR3-1866 CL 9-10-9-27, 1.50 V16 GB G.Skill DDR3-1866 CAS 9-10-9-28, O/C to DDR3-2133 CL 10-11-10, 1.585 V
Motherboard
(Overclock)
ASRock Z75 Pro3: LGA 1155, Intel Z75 Express
Stock 100 MHz BCLK
Asus Z87-PLUS: LGA 1150, Intel Z87 Express
Stock 100 MHz BCLK
ASRock X79 Extreme4:
LGA 2011, Intel X79 Express
Stock 100 MHz BCLK
OpticalLite-On iHAS124-04: 24x DVD±R, 48x CD-RLite-On iHAS124-04: 24x DVD±R, 48x CD-RPioneer BDR-208DBK: 15x BD-R
CaseXigmatek CCC-AE37BS-U02NZXT GAMA-001BKFractal Design Define R4 Black Pearl
CPU CoolerIntel Boxed CoolerEnermax ETS-T40-TBThermaltake CLW0217 Water 2.0 Extreme
Hard DriveWestern Digital WD10EZEX: 1 TB SATA 6Gb/s HDDSamsung MZ-7PD128BW: 128 GB, SATA 6Gb/s SSDSanDisk SDSSDHP-256G-G2 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s SSD
PowerEVGA 100-B1-0500-KR: 500 W, ATX12V v2.3, 80 PLUS BronzeCORSAIR TX750 V2: 750 W, ATX12V v2.3, 80 PLUS BronzeSeasonic SS-850AM: 850 W, 80 PLUS Bronze
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 8 Pro x64
GraphicsAMD Catalyst 13.11 Beta  9.4Nvidia GeForce R331.93 BetaAMD Catalyst 13.12
ChipsetIntel INF 9.4.0.1017Intel INF 9.3.0.1026
Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Battlefield 4Version 1.0.0.1, DirectX 11, 100-Sec. Fraps "Tashgar"
Test Set 1: Medium Quality Preset, No AA, 4X AF, SSAO
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset,  4X MSAA, 16X AF, HBAO
Grid 2Version 1.0.85.8679, DirectX 11, Built-in Benchmark
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality, 8x MSAA
Arma IIIVersion 1.08.113494, 30-Sec. Fraps "Infantry Showcase"
Test Set 1: Standard Preset, No AA, Standard AF
Test Set 2: Ultra Preset, 8x FSAA, Ultra AF
Far Cry 3V. 1.04, DirectX 11, 50-Sec. Fraps "Amanaki Outpost"
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA, Standard ATC, SSAO
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality, 4x MSAA, Enhanced ATC, HDAO
Adobe Creative Suite
Adobe After Effects CS6Version 11.0.0.378 x64: Create Video which includes Three Streams, 210 Frames, Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously
Adobe Photoshop CS6Version 13 x64: Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Adobe Premeire Pro CS6Version 6.0.0.0, 6.61 GB MXF Project to H.264 to H.264 Blu-ray, Output 1920x1080, Maximum Quality
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunesVersion 11.0.4.4 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: 0.99: Video from Canon EOS 7D (1920x1080, 25 FPS) 1 Minutes 22 Seconds
Audio: PCM-S16, 48,000 Hz, Two-Channel, to Video: AVC1 Audio: AAC (High Profile)
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 10.0.102.95: Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
Adobe Acrobat XVersion 11.0.0.379: Print PDF from 115 Page PowerPoint, 128-bit RC4 Encryption
Autodesk 3ds Max 2013Version 15.0 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, 248 Frames, 1440x1080
BlenderVersion: 2.67b, Cycles Engine, Syntax blender -b thg.blend -f 1, 1920x1080, 8x Anti-Aliasing, Render THG.blend frame 1
Visual Studio 2010Version 10.0, Compile Google Chrome, Scripted
File Compression
WinZipVersion 17.0 Pro: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to ZIP, command line switches "-a -ez -p -r"
WinRARVersion 4.2: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"
7-ZipVersion 9.28: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5"
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark 11Version: 1.0.3, Benchmark Only
PCMark 8Version: 1.0.0 x64, Full Test
SiSoftware Sandra 2013Version: 2013.01.19.50, Processor  Arithmetic,
Cryptography, Memory Bandwidth Benchmarks
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  • 5 Hide
    swordrage , December 31, 2013 1:29 AM
    Since it appears that the 4930k is such a great "value", if one can put it into proper use, that 2400 pc with a single gpu seems to be a good idea. That way, one can upgrade the gpu after 2 or 1.5 years or get a second one after 6 months or so if he feels the need, while the cpu will still be going really strong. Comparing the pace of cpu vs gpu progress, I would always second the idea of getting a really good cpu and 2nd or 3rd fastest gpu. Also the 40 pcie lanes make it even more future proof. But of course for tripple monitor setups or 4k dual is the way to go, at least for now.
  • 7 Hide
    Crashman , December 31, 2013 1:43 AM
    Quote:
    Since it appears that the 4930k is such a great "value", if one can put it into proper use, that 2400 pc with a single gpu seems to be a good idea. That way, one can upgrade the gpu after 2 or 1.5 years or get a second one after 6 months or so if he feels the need, while the cpu will still be going really strong. Comparing the pace of cpu vs gpu progress, I would always second the idea of getting a really good cpu and 2nd or 3rd fastest gpu. Also the 40 pcie lanes make it even more future proof. But of course for tripple monitor setups or 4k dual is the way to go, at least for now.
    I would have no problem recommending the system with a different graphics configuration, even a single GTX 780 Ti with room for later SLI upgrades.

  • 5 Hide
    Amdlova , December 31, 2013 4:15 AM
    put the same graphic card on these 3 system and show to us the results
  • 1 Hide
    Yuka , December 31, 2013 6:49 AM
    Thanks for another great SBM, but I want to ask if there's a way to include some metrics in a gaming context for SSDs or RAID configs so they weight more for the overall system value.

    The first one I can think of, being kind of boring as it might be, its the most obvious one to have: loading times. There are games that load a bazillion things on the fly and are some-what storage sensitive (MMOs basically) and we all hate waiting for everything to load, right? It can be clocked with a 10% error margin (thinking it usually takes around 200ms for human response).

    I'm asking this, because RAID0 could become important if we see the value it adds to our builds. I know they're nowhere near SSDs, but Steam + other games take a LOT of space. My own Games folder racks up 410GB, where Steam is 300GB alone. You could slap 2x500GB HDDs in RAID 0 for half the value of a 240GB SSD if memory serves right and 2x1TB HDDs are just a tad more expensive. You can even use notebook HDDs if you want, haha.

    Cheers!
  • -2 Hide
    redgarl , December 31, 2013 8:00 AM
    The problem with these Marathon is that they rely too much on the budget and refuse to show us what we really want. In this case, two R290X with non-reference cooler. The overclocking is not what we know this card can accomplish.

    Also, I would have cut the memory by half and remove the SSD for getting these 2 cards. Also... you really needs to change your SBM... it is ridiculous at this point.
  • 1 Hide
    redgarl , December 31, 2013 8:04 AM
    Yuka, If you have simple games, putting on your HDD instead of your SSD will make barely any difference. If you are like me and have some indie games, then save your space on your SSD for the big titles. I don't know many people can claim not having enough space with 256GB of SSD due to the amount of games they have.
  • 5 Hide
    doomtomb , December 31, 2013 8:34 AM
    All benchmark results below 1080p should be excluded and discontinued. What gamer is going to buy or build one of these monsters and play on a 19" 1600x900
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , December 31, 2013 8:52 AM
    @redgarl: There are exactly two non-reference 290X cards listed on Newegg right now, one of which is out of stock. The one that's available wasn't there when we ordered parts for the SBM, but even if it was, it sells for $650. Two of them at $1300 aren't even an option for two of these three builds.
  • 3 Hide
    jlanger , December 31, 2013 9:02 AM
    Problem with SSD's is that the big titles are getting massive. BF3 took up nearly 65g of my HDD, and BF4 is already at 58gb. I have a 240gb SSD coming and with Windows 8 and BF4 I'm not going to ahve much alternative room left!
  • 1 Hide
    Crashman , December 31, 2013 9:11 AM
    Quote:
    The problem with these Marathon is that they rely too much on the budget and refuse to show us what we really want. In this case, two R290X with non-reference cooler.
    They weren't available when the cards were ordered.
    Quote:
    The overclocking is not what we know this card can accomplish.
    Au contraire, this is EXACTLY what THESE cards could accomplish with good cooling. I know that by the temperatures, but I understand that the temperature charts are easily overlooked.

  • 0 Hide
    poik , December 31, 2013 12:48 PM
    If you have an SSD and are not using compression you're losing/wasting a lot of space.
  • 0 Hide
    coolitic , December 31, 2013 2:09 PM
    I strongly disagree with the choices made for the 2400 one.
  • 1 Hide
    Crashman , December 31, 2013 2:30 PM
    Quote:
    I strongly disagree with the choices made for the 2400 one.
    I'm actually very happy you didn't just throw out a bunch of gaming machine specs with that statement. So, keeping in mind that:
    1.) The $2400 PC was built with the entire benchmark set in mind, not just games
    2.) The graphics cards were $400 at the time and nobody knew that they'd be capped in Far Cry 3
    3.) Top-mounting the radiator would have further boxed-in the voltage regulator sink
    4.) The NH-D14 had been found slightly-insufficient in the previous high-end build

    What would you have liked to see changed?

  • 0 Hide
    TheOnlyPenguin , December 31, 2013 3:15 PM
    I enjoy these articles, but since am not into gaming as much as others I personally would like to see one along the lines of a workstation build off. Not really sure what the budget ranges would be, etc. But I feel it could be a nice change up from the norm on the site.
  • 1 Hide
    spentshells , January 1, 2014 7:06 AM
    Interestingly, 800 dollars will get you ultra settings @ 1080P 60 fps for 90% of games.
  • 1 Hide
    rolli59 , January 1, 2014 7:13 AM
    My favorite series on here and really there is a build for everyone though I believe we should still have an Entry level build in the $500-650 range included!
  • 0 Hide
    brenro , January 1, 2014 7:14 AM
    Just curious. Why don't we test at 2560X1600 any more? I'm sure a lot of us doing a $2400 build have a big monitor to go along with it.
  • 1 Hide
    spentshells , January 1, 2014 7:22 AM
    I must agree with Rolli 500-600 is a popular build price. certainly more so than mid priced build.
  • 1 Hide
    SessouXFX , January 1, 2014 2:14 PM
    Quote:
    Problem with SSD's is that the big titles are getting massive. BF3 took up nearly 65g of my HDD, and BF4 is already at 58gb. I have a 240gb SSD coming and with Windows 8 and BF4 I'm not going to ahve much alternative room left!


    Compression, dude! It's your best friend in digital gaming. And if all else fails, get an external drive. They're still pretty useful and cheap...

    And I think the only thing I can disagree with the $1600 build is the case. OMG!! My eyes! Ughhhhh!
  • 0 Hide
    jasonelmore , January 1, 2014 3:56 PM
    Compression is not your friend, it adds overhead to the CPU and SSD. Honestly if these guys would have bought ASUS boards on these systems, RAM DISK is a solution to look at.

    Whatever popular game your playing at the time, load it into the ram disk, when you grown tired of the game, unload it from RAM disk and back onto the HDD. Speed when you need it, storage when you dont.
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