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Benchmark Results: Synthetics

System Builder Marathon: $625 Gaming PC


The $625 PC, with its E7300 and high-clocked HD 4850, approaches 8,000 in the performance test. A little better CPU overclock would have easily put us over that mark. Of course, you have to take any synthetic metric with a grain of salt.

Overclocking provided the largest gain in the productivity test and pretty much no improvement in the hard drive test.

The biggest and most frustrating issue we faced during the use of this machine is worth mentioning. PCMark Vantage was our final benchmark for our overclocked system, and two-thirds of the way through, we were booted to the desktop with a "Program is not responding" message that seemed to be related to Internet Explorer 7, which is a requirement for testing. A reboot and attempt to rerun the benchmark resulted in a blue screen. 

Re-installation of Vantage allowed us to complete the benchmark, but now some of the scores were significantly lower than expected.  Various diagnostic attempts did not lead to a solution, and it took a fresh Vista installation in order to properly complete the PCMark Vantage testing.

We close out the testing suite with decent gains in the Sandra benchmarks. At stock clock speeds, this month’s system with its 1,066 MHz FSB has a much higher memory bandwidth score compared to what budget systems in previous months offered with an 800 MHz FSB. Overclocking to a 1,600 MHz FSB yields a 19% increase, while in comparison, the October $500 PC gained a whopping 50% when going from 800 MHz to 1,600 MHz FSB.

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