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Test Settings

Battle Of The Boutique Behemoths: iBuyPower Vs. Maingear PC

Reducing the component list to benchmarked parts shows that the biggest difference between systems is the choice of 3-way GTX 285 or two-way GTX 295 SLI configurations.

However, both companies also offer the competitor’s graphics and motherboard configuration as an option, and everyone expects four GTX 275 graphics processors (two go into each dual-GPU GeForce GTX 295) to beat three GTX 285s. Is this even a fair fight?

Test System Configuration


iBuyPower Paladin

Maingear PC EPHEX


Intel Core i7 965 (3.20 GHz, 8.0 MB Cache)
Overclocked to 3.73 GHz (28x 133.3)

Intel Core i7 920 (2.66 GHz, 8.0 MB Cache)
Overclocked to 3.80 GHz (19x 200)


Asus P6T Deluxe V2
Intel X58/ICH10R Chipset, LGA-1366

Asus P6T
Intel X58/ICH10R Chipset, LGA-1366


Corsair 6.0 GB
DDR3-1600 CAS 9-9-9-24 (2T)

Kingston 6.0 GB
DDR3-1600 CAS 8-8-8-20 (1T)


2x XFX GeForce GTX 295 1.8 GB SLI
576 MHz/1,242 MHz GPU/Shader, GDDR3-2484

3x EVGA GeForce GTX 285 1.0 GB, SLI
648 MHz/1,476 MHz GPU/Shader, GDDR3-2484

Test Hard Drive

Intel X25-M 80 GB SATA 3.0 Gb/s SSD

Intel X25-M 80 GB SATA 3.0 Gb/s SSD


Integrated HD Audio

Integrated HD Audio


Integrated Gigabit Networking

Integrated Gigabit Networking



Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP1

Windows Vista Home Premium x64 SP1


Nvidia GeForce 182.50

Nvidia GeForce 182.08


Intel INF

Intel INF

iBuyPower also used a far more expensive processor, but its slightly lower overclock could tip the performance scale towards Maingear’s less-expensive part.

Benchmark Configuration

3D Games

Call of Duty: World at War

Patch 1.1, FRAPS/saved game
High Textures, No AA / No AF, vsync off
Ultra Textures, 4x AA / Max AF, vsync off


Patch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Very High Quality, 8x AA

Far Cry 2

DirectX 10, Steam Version, in-game benchmark
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra High Quality, 8x AA

World in Conflict

Patch 1009, DirectX 10, timedemo
Test 1: High Details, No AA / No AF
Test 2: Very HighDetails 4x AA / 16x AF

Audio/Video Encoding

iTunes 8

Version: (x64)
Audio CD ("Terminator II SE"), 53 min
Default format AAC

Lame MP3

Version: 3.98 64bits (07-04-2008)
Audio CD "Terminator II SE," 53 min
wave to MP3

TMPGEnc 4.6

Import File: Terminator 2 SE DVD (5 Minutes)
Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9

DivX 6.8.5

Encoding mode: Insane Quality
Enhanced multithreading enabled using SSE4
Quarter-pixel search

Xvid 1.2.1

Display encoding status = off

Mainconcept Reference 1.6

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 Kb/s), Mode: PAL (25 FPS)


Autodesk 3ds Max 2009

Version: 11.0, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)

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 3.80, WinZIP Commandline Version 3.0, Compression = Best, Dictionary = 4,096 KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)

WinZip 12

Version 12.0, 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

Version 2008.5.14.24, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / Multimedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark

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