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Test System And Benchmarks

System Builder Marathon: $1,250 Mid-Range PC
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Now that we’ve looked at our choices and justifications in detail, let’s recap our components one more time before getting into the benches and compare them to last month's $1,250 enthusiast PC against which we'll benchmark this month's machine:

December $1,250 Enthusiast System Test Configuration
ComponentBase SettingsOverclock Setting
CPU Intel Core i7 920
2.66 GHz, QPI-2429, 8 MB Cache
3.7 GHz (20x 185 MHz), QPI-1330
1.32 V Core, QPI/VTT 1.3 V, IOH Core 1.2 V
CPU CoolerStock Unchanged
Motherboard Gigabyte EX58-DS4
Intel X58, BIOS F3 (11/12/2008)
RAM 3.0 GB PNY XLR8
3x 1024 MB, DDR3-539, CL 7-7-7-20 at 1.50 V
3x 1024 MB, DDR3-555, CL 8-8-8-21 at 1.50 V
Graphics Powercolor Radeon 4870 X2
2x AMD 4850 GPU, underclocked 575 MHz
2x 1,024 MB GDDR3 900 MHz
575 MHz GPU, GDDR3 (1,060 MHz)
Hard Drives Western Digital Caviar black 640GD
640 GB, 7,2000 RPM, 32 MB Cache
Unchanged
Sound Onboard
Unchanged
Network Integrated Gigabit Networking Unchanged
Power Corsair 650TX
ATX 12 V2.2, 52A on a single 12 V Rail
Unchanged
Optical LG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner SATA Model GH20NS15 Unchanged
Software and Drivers
Operating System Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit, SP1 Unchanged
Graphics Driver Catalyst 8.10 32-bit Edition Unchanged

November $1,250 Enthusiast System Test Configuration
ComponentBase SettingsOverclock Setting
CPU Intel Core 2 Duo E8500
3.16 GHz, FSB-1333, 6 MB Cache
4.25 GHz (9.5x 448 MHz), FSB-1792
1.3 V Core
CPU Cooler Xigmatek HDT-S1283 Xigmatek HDT-S1283
Motherboard DFI Lanparty X38
Intel X38, BIOS 6.00 (10/03/2008)
Northbridge Voltage : 1.30 V
RAM 4.0 GB PNY XLR8
2x 2,048 MB, DDR2-800, CL 4-4-4-12 at 1.80 V
2x 2,048 MB, DDR2-896, CL 5-5-5-14 at 1.90 V
Graphics Powercolor Radeon 4870 X2
2x AMD 4870 GPU , 750 MHz
2x 1,024 MB GDDR5 (Per Card) 900 MHz
777 MHz GPU, GDDR5 (950 MHz)
Hard Drives Western Digital Caviar black 640GD
640 GB, 7,2000 RPM, 32 MB Cache
Unchanged
Sound Onboard
Unchanged
Network Integrated Gigabit Networking Unchanged
Power Antec Neo 650W
ATX 12 V/EPS 12 V, 57A between three 12 V Rails
Unchanged
Optical LITE-ON 20X DVD±R SATA Model iHAS120-04 Unchanged
Software and Drivers
Operating System Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit, SP1 Unchanged
Graphics Driver Catalyst 8.11 32-bit Edition Unchanged

You now know the hardware and the overclock, so let’s have a detailed look at the benchmarks and settings before we scrutinize the results.

3D Game Benchmarks and Settings
Crysis Version: 1.2.1, Video Quality: Very High Details, Demo: CPU-Benchmark + Tom’s Hardware Tool
Supreme Commander
Forged Alliance
Version: 1.5.3599, Video Quality: Highest Settings, Demo: WallaceTX_006_006, Benchmark: Fraps 2.9.4 - Build 7037
Unreal Tournament 3 Version: 1.2, Sound and DirectX10, Texture Details: 5, Level Details: 5, Demo: vCTF-Reflection_bot, Time: 12/60
World in Conflict Version: 1.0.0.9, Video Quality: Very High details, Demo: Game-Benchmark

Audio Benchmarks and Settings
iTunes Version: 7.7.0.43, Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 min, Default format AAC
Lame MP3 Version: 3.98 Beta 3 (05-22-2007), Audio CD ""Terminator II SE, 53 min, wave to MP3, 160 Kb/s

Video Benchmarks and Settings
TMPEG 4.5 Version: 4.5.1.254, Import File: Terminator 2 SE DVD (5 Minutes), Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
DivX 6.8.3 Encoding mode: Insane Quality, Enhanced Multi-threading, Enabled using SSE4, Quarter-pixel search
XviD 1.1.3 Display encoding status = off
Mainconcept Reference 1.5.1
Reference H.264 Plugin Pro 1.5.1
MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264), MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2), Audio: MPEG2 (44.1 kHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kbp/s), Mode: PAL (25 FPS), Profile: Tom’s Hardware Settings for Qct-Core

Application Benchmarks and Settings
Autodesk 3D Studio Max 9 Version: 9.0, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)
Adobe Photoshop CS 3 Version: 10.0x20070321, Filtering from a 69 MB TIF-Photo, Benchmark: Tomshardware-Benchmark V1.0.0.4, Filters: Crosshatch, Glass, Sumi-e, Accented Edges, Angled Strokes, Sprayed Strokes
Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus 8 Version: 8.0.134, Virus base : 270.4.5/1533, Benchmark: Scan 334 MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files
Winrar 3.80 Version 3.70 BETA 8, WinZIP Commandline Version 2.3, Compression=Best, Dictionary=4,096 KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)
Winzip 11 Version 11.2, Compression=Best, Benchmark: THG-Workload (139 MB)

Sythetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark Vantage Version: 1.02, GPU and CPU scores
PCMark Vantage Version: 1.00, System, Memory, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks, Windows Media Player 10.00.00.3646
SiSoftware Sandra XII SP2 Version 2008.5.14.24, CPU Test=CPU Arithmetic/MultiMedia, Memory Test= Bandwidth Benchmark
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