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Test System Configuration And Benchmarks

System Builder Marathon: $500 Gaming PC

We ran our $500 machine here through the same benchmarked settings as the two more powerful configurations, really hammering its performance at times. However, it’s interesting to see how this build stacks up against the other two—and we’ll get into more detail on cost versus value in tomorrow’s final installment of the series.

$500 Entry-Level System Test Configuration
Component Base Settings Overclock Setting
CPU Intel Pentium E2180
2.00 GHz, FSB-800, 1 MB Cache
3.20 GHz (8x 400 MHz), FSB-1600
1.46V Core +0.1V FSB Voltage
CPU Cooler Cooler Master Hyper TX2 Cooler Master Hyper TX2
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS3L
Intel X35 Express, BIOS F5 (07/17/2008)
RAM 2.0 GB Wintec AMPO PC2-6400
2x 1024MB, DDR2-800, CL 5-5-5-15 2T at 1.80 V
Graphics PNY VCG88512GXEB-FLB GeForce 8800 GT 512 MB
600MHz GPU, 1,800 MHz Memory Data Rate
738 MHz GPU, 2,106 MHz Memory
Hard Drives Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3400620AS
400 MB, 72000 RPM, 16 MB Cache
Sound Integrated 8-Channel HD Audio Unchanged
Network Integrated Gigabit Networking Unchanged
Power Antec Earthwatts 380W 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 Nvidia GeForce 178.24 WHQL Unchanged
Onboard Device Drivers Intel 3-series Utility CD Ver 1.12, Intel 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 :
Video Quality : Very High details
Demo : Game-Benchmark

Audio Benchmarks and Settings
iTunes Version :
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

Video Benchmarks and Settings
TMPEG 4.5 Version :
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 Kbps)
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 = 4096 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
SiSoftware Sandra XII SP2 Version 2008.5.14.24
CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia
Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
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