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Test System Configuration and Benchmarks

System Builder Marathon: $625 Gaming PC
By

$625 Gaming PC System Test Configuration
Component Base Settings Overclock Setting
CPU Intel Pentium E5200, 2.50 GHz, FSB-800, 2 MB Cache 4.0 GHz (12x 334 MHz), FSB-1336, 1.44V Core
CPU Cooler Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro 100% duty cycle
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3L, Intel P45, BIOS F10 (11/10/2008) Unchanged
RAM 4.0 GB PNY XLR8 PC2 6400, 2x 2,048 MB, DDR2-800, CL 4-4-4-12 2T at 1.80 V Unchanged
Graphics Sapphire 100245L Radeon HD 4850 512 MB, 625 MHz GPU, 1,986 MHz Memory Data Rate 700 MHz GPU, 2,340 MHz Memory
Hard Drives Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS, 500 GB, 72000 RPM, 32 MB Cache Unchanged
Sound Integrated 8-Channel HD Audio Unchanged
Network Integrated Gigabit Networking Unchanged
Power Antec NeoPower 650 W 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 AMD Catalyst 8.11 Unchanged
Onboard Device Drivers Intel 9.1.0.1007 Unchanged

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, 160kb/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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  • 2 Hide
    slomo4sho , November 26, 2008 9:21 AM
    Very nice write up. I like the new price point :) 
  • 1 Hide
    slomo4sho , November 26, 2008 9:29 AM
    I forgot to mention that I still would like to see power consumption charts and possibly a AMD based build at this price point.
  • 1 Hide
    nerrawg , November 26, 2008 9:40 AM
    Impressive results! Who says a system price has to adhere to budget figures of 500, 1500 and 4500 dollars, you guys really showed how much added value can be had when the right OC parts are purchased and assembled into a nice package. Well done!
  • -1 Hide
    cloudbase , November 26, 2008 10:47 AM
    Hiya. Can you guys give a bit more detail about the 'further upgrades' you were inferring in the text of this article? So: Which P45 crossfire motherboard would have been nice; which RAM was out of stock; what would have been the benefiot of the more expensive CPU?

    Im looking to spend a similar amount, but as I already have the case, PSU etc it makes sense to explore those options.

    Presumably a 4870 would be better again?
  • 2 Hide
    radguy , November 26, 2008 11:07 AM
    Thats a pretty awesome build thanks for the article. Although I am sorry but I have to ask. Do we have our real 4ghz dual core for $84 now?
  • -1 Hide
    jaragon13 , November 26, 2008 11:31 AM
    Sorry? What's with the comment box? I can't see what I'm typing.
    Anyways,my GTX 260 suffers on Crysis,so it's nothing new.
  • 0 Hide
    Pei-chen , November 26, 2008 11:54 AM
    Great choice, let the AMD fan boys whiny; I would have picked the same setup if I am to build a cheap gaming PC.
  • 2 Hide
    matt2k , November 26, 2008 12:22 PM
    Nice build for the money, though i personally would have sprung for a crossfire ready motherboard, the MSI P45 Neo2-FR for example.
    The only problem i have with this though is the operating system. surely that should be quite a major factor when creating a whole new system? and it would be nice to have the different vista's compared for gamers. i.e. is ultimate worth the bump in price for the extra's or is xp professional still the best option.
    just my thoughts.
  • 0 Hide
    zodiacfml , November 26, 2008 12:33 PM
    Nicest article, not only you did not stick to any budget but also the parts chosen could not have been any better. This is a build i'm planning except i could have chosen a less performing 9800GT since its only in Crysis where a 4850 has a usable advantage over it.
    I am an AMD user for years but this pentium dual core overclocks so far over an athlon x2.
  • 0 Hide
    wh3resmycar , November 26, 2008 12:47 PM
    someone from the forums was asking me months back where i can find a 4ghz e5200.. i guess this is it.
  • 0 Hide
    zcubed , November 26, 2008 1:21 PM
    great article. and great choices for the parts. though the gigabyte ultra durable 3 p45's have been out for awhile for 10 bucks more. but this is a proper gaming machine for the budget conscious.
  • 1 Hide
    JeanLuc , November 26, 2008 1:39 PM
    Good old Arctic Freezer Pro 7, it just can't be beaten for value for money, I just hope Arctic make one for the LGA1366 socket.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , November 26, 2008 1:52 PM
    My suggestion, or two cents as it were, is that an additional section be added. Something along the lines of suggested upgrades. Or .."If you had a little extra money". In this final section, list any possible changes, or huge increases you could see getting by upgrading a part or two. Also it would be potentialy good for adding suggested steps for the next future upgrade with said system. Personaly I'd love to know your thoughts on basicly the same system, just with e7200 myself.
  • 2 Hide
    GlItCh017 , November 26, 2008 2:43 PM
    I think this would be very cool in the future:

    Since you are making these system builder marathons through Newegg Paul; if you could make a link that would dump all the parts used into the Newegg shopping cart so you could order a system that you guys reviewed. This would be the ideal if you're looking for a system/price/performance and TH created a PC setup that fit all those needs. I would most certainly buy my next system this way if it were possible, because you guys really do your homework with the price points you're given. If nothing else it would be a really nice feature I think.
  • 1 Hide
    dirtmountain , November 26, 2008 3:10 PM
    Great article, great overclock on that E5200 and the HD4850. Good info on the noise of that Sapphire GPU, something a buyer could do with those rebate checks as they trickle in is pick up a VGA cooler. A very sensible build at that budget price. Good job!
  • 4 Hide
    pauldh , November 26, 2008 3:18 PM
    Thanks for the comments everyone.

    @ Slomo4sh0,nerrawg,zodiacfml - Glad you like the flexible price range. Many parts were just out of reach for a firm $500 and reader comments showed great interest in the 600-650 range and $1200-1300 range.

    @ cloudbase, matt2k, xZabx - We do try to mention upgrades just out of reach within the article, but not in a specific section. As a gamer, first place I would have put additional money would not be toward the E7200 but into a P45 Crossfire mobo like matt2k commented on, especially considering we have a PSU easily capable of running dual cards. My personal choice would be the GA-EP45-UD3P for $35 more(UD3 as zcubed mentioned).
  • 0 Hide
    theblade , November 26, 2008 3:22 PM
    Nice article, I would be great to have a direct comparation between the build from this SBM to the ones in the previous SBM, I'm looking forward to the other articles in this series.
  • 0 Hide
    fongraccoon , November 26, 2008 3:37 PM
    Hey great article, and fine work for squeezing out that much performance, what a bang for the buck. What was the price for the Window's Vista OS you used? OEM or Retail? From newegg? Thanks
  • -8 Hide
    philosofool , November 26, 2008 3:59 PM
    Why spend all this money to have parts congenial to OCing the e5200 when the premium paid for those parts could have gotten you an e8400?

    You could have a better machine for the same price: ditch the cooler, the pricey memory, the pricey case, and get a good 450W PSU instead of a 650W overkill--now you can have an e8400 in this rig and OC with the stock cooler to 3.6GHz. That will beat the e5200 @4.3 GHz in all but the most clock speed intensive tasks. Indeed, I bet you could have gotten a decent enough cooler to get the e8400 to 4GHz on this budget.
  • -8 Hide
    Dasher , November 26, 2008 4:02 PM
    theirs no OS which almost every system needs
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