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Benchmark Results: Synthetics

System Builder Marathon, May '09: $1,300 Enthusiast PC
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First up, 3DMark Vantage. We’re seeing some impressive scores from this Micro-ATX system. There’s clearly a lot of gaming power in this little box, which is no surprise since it’s hosting a Core i7 CPU and two GeForce GTX 260s in SLI.

Note that since the CPU is really carrying the overclocking scores, its advantage practically disappears as resolution is increased to 1920x1200, as part of the Extreme preset. This is where a high graphics card overclock would have had a chance to show itself.

PCMark is showing us strong scores, but surprisingly little gain for the ~800 MHz CPU overclock, with the aggregate system test score only jumping 4%. The productivity score shows us a higher performance increase in the realm of 10%. 

The new version of SiSoft’s Sandra changes the way this benchmark rates performance, but the relative results are the same. In this case, the overclocked system is delivering about a 30% performance increase over the stock-clocked system, which we’d expect in CPU- and memory-intensive benchmarks. Sandra will practically ignore any graphics card performance.

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  • 17 Hide
    ohim , May 26, 2009 8:20 AM
    This article would be great if you could do : what you can buy for 1300 Intel parts and what you can by for 1300 AMD parts ... and put the 2 PCs to compeat to eachother :p  it would be a more interesting article than just buy a pc and ... show what ?
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    jtnstnt , May 26, 2009 6:22 AM
    It looks like you guys have a fetish for silverstone sff cases, and small motherboards. You guys probably like other small things...
  • 1 Hide
    one-shot , May 26, 2009 6:48 AM
    Was the peak power draw measured from the wall? If so, do you know the efficiency of the PSU to determine the approximate power draw from the components at a given level of output? Overall, great article. I hope my 650Watt PSU with 3 X 19A 12V rails can handle another GTX 260 Core 216.
  • -3 Hide
    serifus , May 26, 2009 6:52 AM
    if you wanted to go SFF it would be nice to see one done in an LIAN-LI PC-A05NB. at least you still get the full atx boards in those.
  • 4 Hide
    SpadeM , May 26, 2009 6:58 AM
    Quote:
    This system is no slouch and cuts through our new gaming benchmarks like a hot knife through butter.

    I wonder how exactly does the selection of components go. I mean it seems that there's some attention given to the forums to be politically correct, but that's kind of it. For $1300 a Phenom 2 + micro AM3 board + 2x4890 in crossfire is a much better solution so .. why not choose the better option?
    [img=http://img32.imageshack.us/img32/594/systemg.th.jpg]
  • 2 Hide
    capttylor34 , May 26, 2009 7:25 AM
    That system looks quite crowded on the inside, and that Dark Knight is big for a regular sized system, I'm actually kind of impressed you managed to fit it in a Micro ATX at all. I suppose as long as it runs stable, theres really no problem. Still think the articles should be titled "Micro System Build-off" just to let people know off the bat what they're about to read.
  • 3 Hide
    IzzyCraft , May 26, 2009 7:33 AM
    No space at all between those 2 cards. poor cards have no choice but to overheat.
  • 1 Hide
    IzzyCraft , May 26, 2009 7:35 AM
    SpadeMI wonder how exactly does the selection of components go. I mean it seems that there's some attention given to the forums to be politically correct, but that's kind of it. For $1300 a Phenom 2 + micro AM3 board + 2x4890 in crossfire is a much better solution so .. why not choose the better option?[img=http://img32.imageshack.us/img32/594/systemg.th.jpg]

    That's not a better solution it's just an AMD ATI themed solution

    Although i guess it would be stronger in the fps in games it wouldn't be nearly as rounded system i rather have i7 because i do cpu heavy tasks just my view;)

    I mean if they just wanted max fps they could have gone LGA775 with E8500 and shove 2 4890's in there i'm sure that would produce the highest fps.
  • -6 Hide
    armistitiu , May 26, 2009 8:15 AM
    I'm tired of seeing I7 920 in every damn "recommended" PC. I'm not saying go AMD but please just try to vary them a bit it's getting stupid. Also try building your own benchmarks or at least change them once in a while.
    Btw i\m getting tired of people picking up I7 and saying "because i do heavy CPU tasks" (not necessarily IzzyCraft ) and in fact all they need is a browser,OpenOffice and WoW minimized in the taskbar.
    The article is well done no doubts but try using other brands also. It\s starting to sound biased.

  • 17 Hide
    ohim , May 26, 2009 8:20 AM
    This article would be great if you could do : what you can buy for 1300 Intel parts and what you can by for 1300 AMD parts ... and put the 2 PCs to compeat to eachother :p  it would be a more interesting article than just buy a pc and ... show what ?
  • 2 Hide
    nerrawg , May 26, 2009 8:29 AM
    Nice slick system this - looks like 2 x 260's is pretty good value at 1920 x 1200 for those that want to max out the settings in the most demanding games. Was wondering however if there is a good technical explanation for the power consumption results because they seem pretty strange?
  • 5 Hide
    scrumworks , May 26, 2009 8:31 AM
    Unsuprisingly Intel/nvidia line continues. I went AMD/ATI so take that Tom!
  • -7 Hide
    ohim , May 26, 2009 8:37 AM
    About nvidia still surprised that they didn`t removed the 185.85 forceware drivers since that`s a total failure of drivers and it`s still being posted as the latest drivers even on windows update. Guess once you get the crown you get to piss on your customers as well.
  • 1 Hide
    BaC-80 , May 26, 2009 8:50 AM
    I can not believe how much we get screwed on computer bits here in the UK
    I priced up the parts in this system and it comes out at £1098.00 on 26th May 2009 that means it comes out at $1740 a big difference
    Motherboard
    DFI LANParty Jr X58-T3H6 Micro-ATX
    Intel X58/ICH10R, LGA1366
    $220 uk £189.99

    Processor
    Intel Core i7-920
    Four Cores, 2.66 GHz, 8 MB Cache
    $289 UK £225

    Memory
    G.Skill 10666CL7T 6GBPK
    Triple-channel memory kit 3 x 2 GB
    $90 UK £80.73

    Graphics
    2 x BFG GeForce GTX 260 OC in SLI
    896 MB GDDR3-1998 Per Card
    590 MHz GPU, 1,296 MHz Shader
    $340 UK £343

    Hard Drive
    Western Digital Caviar Black
    640GD, 640 GB, 32 MB cache
    $75 UK £51.60

    Optical
    Lite-On iHAS422 DVD±R
    DVD Burner SATA
    $28 UK £22

    Case
    SilverStone TJ08-B Micro-ATX Mini-Tower
    $99 UK £59

    Power
    PC Power and Cooling Silencer 750 Quad S75QB, ATX12V 2.2, 80-Plus Certified
    $120 UK £88

    CPU Cooler
    Xigmatek Dark Knight S1283
    $40 UK £38
  • 0 Hide
    SpadeM , May 26, 2009 9:14 AM
    IzzyCraftThat's not a better solution it's just an AMD ATI themed solutionAlthough i guess it would be stronger in the fps in games it wouldn't be nearly as rounded system i rather have i7 because i do cpu heavy tasks just my viewI mean if they just wanted max fps they could have gone LGA775 with E8500 and shove 2 4890's in there i'm sure that would produce the highest fps.


    The system builder marathon was always, in my mind at least, a competition between value and performance and they tended to pick the latest technologies. Sure even now for $1300 or even $2500 you can go with a Q600 or a q9650 .. it would be cheaper and the performance is similar to that of a i7 but without the bragging rights. And so paying $500+ just for a motherboard that doesn't do much since it's not used to overclock in a extreme fashion, and a processor that's 10% maybe 20% faster then it's previous Quad generations isn't going to cut it for me. That's why i was expecting a different quad core of another flavour, just to spice things up. And of course to top things off some new 4890. All in all it would have been a more balanced system that caters to the wishes of the enthusiast.

    With all that said i can hardly wait for tomorrows $600 system, i wonder what GPU, RAM, PSU and HDD got picked to go with the ... i7+X58 combo
  • 5 Hide
    ifko_pifko , May 26, 2009 9:29 AM
    I just don't understand why the $2500 PC is equiped with intel stock cooler and this one with much better xigmatek...
    Also higher overclock of this system vs $2500 PC seems silly if you actually intend to compare them and calculate price/performance ratio.
  • 2 Hide
    skora , May 26, 2009 9:44 AM
    While I agree that a small water system would do wonders for the cooling solution, isn't a rear mounted radiator the first ingredient for a disastrous PORTABLE system? The last thing I want if I'm lugging my case in and out of a trunk is exposed parts that can leak.
  • 0 Hide
    NaNoSoLdIeR , May 26, 2009 10:12 AM
    wouldn't Scythe Ninja 2 be a better cooler for this system? I think it's the same price as the one used... And judging by my own experience with it it would have made the airflow from front to back possible.
    If u had cut holes in the bottom near the fan for the graphics cards wouldn't it help?
    I would have cut a hole big enough to fit a fan put a net over the fan, that would seriously cut those temperatures (I think)...
  • 0 Hide
    Proximon , May 26, 2009 10:18 AM
    This one is a bit of a nightmare. I can say that, I hope, because I contributed to the parts selection thread and feel partly responsible. The case is too cramped for the system. Who could have guessed on the cooler though?
    Maybe one of the top-down Scythes would have been better.
    The 650W draw was a bit of a surprise. Good thing it's a PC P&C.
  • 0 Hide
    JeanLuc , May 26, 2009 10:20 AM
    The noise table - If I was casually looking at the graphs I might be inclined to think that the default GPU fan ran at a fraction of the noise of the fan at full speed but when you look at the numbers it's more like a 20% increase. A bit misleading.

    Good choice of CPU cooler although I might have gone with a the Titan Fenrir instead. However as ifko_pifko points out why did the more expensive $2500 system use a stock cooler yet you had the budget in the cheaper system for 3rd party cooling, very odd.
  • 0 Hide
    enterco , May 26, 2009 10:52 AM
    Quote:
    Now, we can get to the heart of things: game benchmarks. This is what a portable LAN-party-sized system is made for in the first place, and is unfortunately where the CPU overclock will likely deliver diminishing gains as the resolution is raised and the graphics cards become the bottleneck.

    If it were 'portable lan-party-sized', it wouldn't contain two dual-slot graphics cards on a micro-atx case, because of improper cooling. The choice of CPU heatsink it's also bad, and it may pose problems when the system is moved if handled improperly.
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