System Builder Marathon, Q2 2013: $2500 Performance PC

Test Systems And Benchmarks

Test Systems And Benchmarks

Test Hardware Configurations
 Current $2500 PCQ1 2013 $1000 PC
Processor
(Overclock)
Intel Core i7-3770K, 3.50 GHz, Four Physical Cores
O/C to 4.60 GHz, 1.30 V
Intel Core i5-3570K, 3.40 GHz, Four Physical Cores
O/C to 4.40 GHz, 1.28 V
Graphics
(Overclock)
Asus GTX690-4GD5: 915-1019 MHz GPU,  GDDR5-6008
O/C to 1200 MHz GDDR5-6400
PowerColor "Tahiti-LE" 7870: 975 MHz GPU, GDDR5-6000
O/C to 1200 MHz GDDR5-6400
Memory
(Overclock)
16 GB Crucial DDR3-1600 CAS 8-8-8-24
O/C at 1.50 V to DDR3-2133 CL 9-9-9-24
8 GB Crucial DDR3-1600 CAS 8-8-8-24
O/C at 1.50 V to DDR3-2133 CL 9-9-9-24
Motherboard
(Overclock)
Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe: LGA 1155, Intel Z77 Express
Stock 100 MHz BCLK
ASRock Z77 Extreme4: LGA 1155, Intel Z77 Express
Stock 100 MHz BCLK
OpticalAsus BW-14D1XT: 14x BD-RLite-On iHAS124 24x DVD±R
CaseBitFenix Prodigy w/Mesh FrontRosewill Redbone U3
CPU CoolerNZXT Kraken X40Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
Hard DriveMushkin Chronos Deluxe DX 240 GB, SATA 6Gb/s SSDMushkin Chronos Deluxe DX 240 GB, SATA 6Gb/s SSD
PowerSeasonic SS-660XP2: 660 W Modular, ATX12V v2.3, 80 PLUS PlatinumAntec Neo Eco 520C: ATX12V v2.3, 80 PLUS
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 8 Pro x64Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
GraphicsNvidia GeForce 314.22AMD Catalyst 13.1
ChipsetIntel INF 9.3.0.1026Intel INF 9.3.0.1026

The new PC costs 2.5 times as much as the old, and the best I can hope to accomplish against the Tahiti-powered Radeon HD 7870 is twice the performance in games. Games count toward only 30% of the performance profile in our final evaluation, so I’m also going to lean fairly hard on the new build’s better overclock to approach the previous build’s high value.

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Battlefield 3Campaign Mode, "Going Hunting" 90-Second Fraps
Test Set 1: Medium Quality Defaults (No AA, 4x AF)
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Defaults (4x AA, 16x AF)
F1 2012Steam Version, In-Game Test
Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 8x AA
The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimUpdate 1.5.26, Celedon Aethirborn Level 6, 25-Second Fraps
Test Set 1: DX11, High Details No AA, 8x AF, FXAA enabled
Test Set 2: DX11, Ultra Details, 8x AA, 16x AF, FXAA enabled
Far Cry 3V. 1.04, DirectX 11, 50-second Fraps "Amanaki Outpost"
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA, Standard ATC, SSAO
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality, 4x MSAA, Enhanced ATC, HDAO
Adobe Creative Suite
Adobe After Effects CS6Version 11.0.0.378 x64: Create Video which includes 3 Streams, 210 Frames, Render Multiple Frames Simultaneosly
Adobe Photoshop CS6Version 13 x64: Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Adobe Premeire Pro CS6Version 6.0.0.0, 6.61 GB MXF Project to H.264 to H.264 Blu-ray, Output 1920x1080, Maximum Quality
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunesVersion 10.4.1.10 x64: Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 minutes, default AAC format 
Lame MP3Version 3.98.3: Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min, convert WAV to MP3 audio format, Command: -b 160 --nores (160 Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion: 0.98: Video from Canon Eos 7D (1920x1080, 25 FPS) 1 Minutes 22 Seconds
Audio: PCM-S16, 48,000 Hz, Two-Channel, to Video: AVC1 Audio: AAC (High Profile)
TotalCode Studio 2.5Version: 2.5.0.10677: MPEG-2 to H.264, MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2), Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, Two-Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV
Productivity
ABBYY FineReaderVersion 10.0.102.95: Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
Adobe Acrobat XVersion 10.0.0.396: Print PDF from 115 Page PowerPoint, 128-bit RC4 Encryption
Autodesk 3ds Max 2012Version 14.0 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, 248 Frames, 1440x1080
BlenderVersion: 2.64a, Cycles Engine, Syntax blender -b thg.blend -f 1, 1920x1080, 8x Anti-Aliasing, Render THG.blend frame 1
Visual Studio 2010Version 10.0, Compile Google Chrome, Scripted
File Compression
WinZipVersion 17.0 Pro: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to ZIP, command line switches "-a -ez -p -r"
WinRARVersion 4.2: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"
7-ZipVersion 9.28: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5"
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark 11Version: 1.0.3, Benchmark Only
PCMark 7Version: 1.0.4 x64, System, Productivity, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks
SiSoftware Sandra 2013Version Version 2013.01.19.11, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / Cryptography, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
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79 comments
    Your comment
  • sherlockwing
    Interesting $2500 MITX build, granted most people(including me) would have built a $2500 rig around 780 SLI in a ATX case.
    2
  • burnley14
    This just might be my favorite SBM ever, and this particular build my favorite machine of all time. Even if the relative value is slightly lower, many people including myself are willing to pay a small premium for a smaller footprint. Well done!
    6
  • nvidiamd
    this is the best build on toms ever! no substandards and overkills. two thumbs up!
    5
  • slomo4sho
    Seems I was pretty close in my initial guess:

    Anonymous said:
    -2
  • Madn3ss795
    Assembling part reminds me of LEGO...
    0
  • agnickolov
    I wish the build had a 512GB SSD, but I understand the builder's value sentiment. The fast HDD is pure waste, however. A 2TB HDD can be found for under $100.
    0
  • sarinaide
    Still struggling to get my mind on a high performance ITX system, to me its more a case of how much high end you can chuck into a psuedo M-ITX chassis which for all intents and purposes are not small form factor by any stretch of the imagination. Having owned a Prodigy they can hardly be said to be SFF when their total surface area is as much as a ATX chassis, it is like calling a HAF XB M-ITX.

    The main point of the article is that diminishing returns are high at that price point, only a overclocked system (again not a fan of in the confineds of a ITX system) give it value.
    -1
  • csf60
    I would take a 770 and water-cool that rig any day, but I suppose that's personal preference.
    -2
  • sarinaide
    It is safe to say that the purpose of the machine is gaming, for that is there any particular reason to go with the i7 other than to say you maxed the platforms highest capable chip but in terms of true benefits there is little over an i5 yet over a $100 been dropped on it. The next question is why not a GTX Titan, most of a 690 's performance but on less power and heat which is quite punishing in a Prodigy's confinds.
    -3
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    Still struggling to get my mind on a high performance ITX system, to me its more a case of how much high end you can chuck into a psuedo M-ITX chassis which for all intents and purposes are not small form factor by any stretch of the imagination. Having owned a Prodigy they can hardly be said to be SFF when their total surface area is as much as a ATX chassis, it is like calling a HAF XB M-ITX.

    The main point of the article is that diminishing returns are high at that price point, only a overclocked system (again not a fan of in the confineds of a ITX system) give it value.
    At the initialization's initiation, SFF meant "Shuttle Form Factor". The term has since been abused for everything from Micro ATX gaming cubes to book-sized PCs. Book-sized system builders would argue that Shuttle's fairly big traditional boxes aren't true SFF because they're too big, even though the term originally referred to these! If you remove the handles, this case is roughly the size of Shuttle's old 2-slot boxes (it's around 2 inches taller and 2 inches shorter in length)
    Anonymous said:
    It is safe to say that the purpose of the machine is gaming
    Gaming only? Then when the Core i7?
    Anonymous said:
    is there any particular reason to go with the i7
    Read pages 16 and 17
    Anonymous said:
    other than to say you maxed the platforms highest capable chip but in terms of true benefits there is little over an i5
    Did you see the overclocking section? Three mediocre i5's in a row and i7 leads to O/C victory, in addition to the gains on pages 16 and 17.
    Anonymous said:
    The next question is why not a GTX Titan, most of a 690 's performance but on less power and heat which is quite punishing in a Prodigy's confinds.
    Did you see a heat issue? I did not. Why would someone want to spend more money for less gaming performance? Or are you now saying that this is not a gaming PC?
    3
  • tomate2
    Anonymous said:
    It is safe to say that the purpose of the machine is gaming, for that is there any particular reason to go with the i7 other than to say you maxed the platforms highest capable chip but in terms of true benefits there is little over an i5 yet over a $100 been dropped on it. The next question is why not a GTX Titan, most of a 690 's performance but on less power and heat which is quite punishing in a Prodigy's confinds.


    For future reference: you should read an article before posting so that you don't make a fool of yourself.
    3
  • de5_Roy
    really enjoyed reading the article, reading the assembly part was fun. the build looks great imho.

    i think this build wins in terms of performance per heat or temperature per volume(size of the pc). i know the metric sounds weird but that is a Lot of performance crammed into that small case. a titan would possibly improve temperature and still be a lot faster than 7870xt(comparing past q's enthusiast pc) even though it was unavailable during ordering the parts). for example, you can't squeeze an fx8350 (no mini itx mobo) in that case, and trinity only goes up to 2module/4threads.
    edit: just realized how unfortunate gtx780's launch timing is... it coulda been a good candidate for the high end performance pc. may be next quarter....
    0
  • ehanger
    Nothing that couldn't be built a year ago.
    3
  • Onus
    It was interesting to see specific mods / add-ons called out in this build; I'm not sure I've seen that done before, but the results were certainly worthwhile.
    I'd love to win this one. My own games (especially at 1920x1080) don't need a GTX690 so I might swap in a lesser card in order to use the drive cage, but this would be one sweet system to sit on my desk.
    How loud were the fans?
    0
  • antemon
    why in the world did no one use the HAF XB or the A30?
    -4
  • sarinaide
    Anonymous said:
    why in the world did no one use the HAF XB or the A30?


    I am assuming its because its for M-ITX only albeit that the HAF XB could take ITX and is as big as a Prodigy.
    2
  • ojas
    Very interesting build! At least predicted a Platinum PSU correctly :P

    I was expecting a Titan or a 780, though. CPU choice was pretty much a given.

    And no one's hating your PSU choice, so far too :D

    Anonymous said:
    Quote:
    It was harder to notice with the previous build’s lower frame rate, but both configurations hit a snag at 2560x1600 and the Ultra quality preset. That snag is memory, where 2 GB of graphics RAM simply isn’t enough. The new build's so-called 4 GB card only gives 2 GB to each GPU, and that proves to be a problem.


    Um... no? There is no justification for this. 2560x1600 almost twice as demanding as 1920x1080, and you are just seeing the expected performance drop from the resolution increase. There is no evidence of VRAM limitation.

    Yeah i was thinking the same thing...had it been due to VRAM i'd expect the FPS to be closer together for both builds.
    -2
  • Amdlova
    i will do sli 670 on micro atx mobo... LOL 520W power supply will suport
    mini cases (Y) epic win
    -1
  • Fokissed
    Anonymous said:
    Quote:
    It was harder to notice with the previous build’s lower frame rate, but both configurations hit a snag at 2560x1600 and the Ultra quality preset. That snag is memory, where 2 GB of graphics RAM simply isn’t enough. The new build's so-called 4 GB card only gives 2 GB to each GPU, and that proves to be a problem.


    Um... no? There is no justification for this. 2560x1600 almost twice as demanding as 1920x1080, and you are just seeing the expected performance drop from the resolution increase. There is no evidence of VRAM limitation.


    Crysis 2 uses 1800MB+(normally) of VRAM at 1920x1080 on my GTX 680 4GB. It peaks at 3GB usage at times. I have no doubt that modern games at high resolution are limited by 2GB of VRAM.
    -1
  • frillybob101
    This is the one I want to win!
    2