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Power And Efficiency

System Builder Marathon: TH's $2000 Hand-Picked Build
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The $1000 PC in our most recent System Builder Marathon was a true miser by performance system standards, while the overclocked $2000 system was a hog. The alternative $2000 configuration had more overall performance, but will it also consume even more power than the pig it tries to replace?

We know that a pair of GeForce GTX 480 graphics cards will always pull more power than a pair of GeForce GTX 460s, so the only way to get a clue about CPU power differences is to look at both idle and full load power. Doing so gives us the impression that the Core i7-970 is about as power-hungry as the Phenom II X6 1055T at stock settings.

Yet, the AMD system required far more voltage to reach the same 4.0 GHz clock, so its overclocked configuration gets one mark against it. Score a second demerit for excessive power consumption in our former $2000 builds’s graphics cards.

A 78% performance gain against the baseline system puts the new build in a far better light than the one it replaces.

It’s nice to see the new $2000 PC in the same efficiency class as the $1000 build, even if it never quite matches it.

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  • 16 Hide
    tacoslave , September 30, 2010 6:28 AM
    should have just gone with a i7 920 and stuck a 5970 which would have been cheaper
  • 12 Hide
    Crashman , September 30, 2010 9:31 AM
    pinkfloydminnesotaA 970 and a drop to 460s? Are you kidding me? How much is newegg dropping in ad revenue for you to help them dump this overpriced stock?
    The 970 was a sub for the 1055T: Please outline a 970 build with GTX 480's for $2000 if you'd like to add credibility to your incredulity. Thanks!

    eyefinityWho wouldn't go with Eyefinity or Nvidia surround with $2k?
    Actually I proposed that for an upcoming SBM, but it couldn't be included this time since the former systems had already been decommissioned for shipment to the contest winners. So, who's up for an ATI EyeFinity/Nvidia Surround SBM?
  • 11 Hide
    cangelini , September 30, 2010 9:35 AM
    pinkfloydminnesotaA 970 and a drop to 460s? Are you kidding me? How much is newegg dropping in ad revenue for you to help them dump this overpriced stock?


    The story has the numbers to *prove* the improvements made to this build. This is a solid configuration that we have no problem recommending.

    Aside from that, we enjoy the luxury on the editorial side of operating completely separately from sales. In this case, our follow-up system was a good move editorially, and we get to give it away, to boot.

    Best,
    Chris Angelini
Other Comments
  • 2 Hide
    Randomacts , September 30, 2010 6:20 AM
    Yay more giveaways!
  • 16 Hide
    tacoslave , September 30, 2010 6:28 AM
    should have just gone with a i7 920 and stuck a 5970 which would have been cheaper
  • 2 Hide
    duk3 , September 30, 2010 6:31 AM
    I agree, however, this SBM was about 6-core performance.
    With an i7-930, a better heatsink, 2 470s and maybe an extra fan or 2 for the case is in reach.
  • 5 Hide
    Crashman , September 30, 2010 7:10 AM
    duk3I agree, however, this SBM was about 6-core performance.With an i7-930, a better heatsink, 2 470s and maybe an extra fan or 2 for the case is in reach.
    yes, the i7-930 and a couple 470's would be normal in the SBM $2000 PC.
  • 0 Hide
    cojj , September 30, 2010 7:14 AM
    how do I enter for the giveaway?
  • 1 Hide
    Crashman , September 30, 2010 7:40 AM
    cojjhow do I enter for the giveaway?

    Click the link in the announcement?
  • 2 Hide
    IzzyCraft , September 30, 2010 8:00 AM
    I guess these were more performance driven choices. I still will miss the case, i'd gladly trade a 920/930 for the SilverStone Raven
  • 2 Hide
    Crashman , September 30, 2010 8:33 AM
    IzzyCraftI guess these were more performance driven choices. I still will miss the case, i'd gladly trade a 920/930 for the SilverStone Raven
    Quality-wise, the Three Hundred is probably the best case you can get for under $80, but there should have been one more fan in the system given the internally-vented graphics cards the system ended up with. On the other hand, a lot of builders would be more than happy to "settle for" 4GHz at 1.30V, and the CPU will certainly live longer at the lower voltage.
  • -7 Hide
    brisingamen , September 30, 2010 9:02 AM
    i prefer the six core gtx 480 sli rig.
  • 2 Hide
    eyefinity , September 30, 2010 9:21 AM
    Who wouldn't go with Eyefinity or Nvidia surround with $2k?
  • 12 Hide
    Crashman , September 30, 2010 9:31 AM
    pinkfloydminnesotaA 970 and a drop to 460s? Are you kidding me? How much is newegg dropping in ad revenue for you to help them dump this overpriced stock?
    The 970 was a sub for the 1055T: Please outline a 970 build with GTX 480's for $2000 if you'd like to add credibility to your incredulity. Thanks!

    eyefinityWho wouldn't go with Eyefinity or Nvidia surround with $2k?
    Actually I proposed that for an upcoming SBM, but it couldn't be included this time since the former systems had already been decommissioned for shipment to the contest winners. So, who's up for an ATI EyeFinity/Nvidia Surround SBM?
  • 11 Hide
    cangelini , September 30, 2010 9:35 AM
    pinkfloydminnesotaA 970 and a drop to 460s? Are you kidding me? How much is newegg dropping in ad revenue for you to help them dump this overpriced stock?


    The story has the numbers to *prove* the improvements made to this build. This is a solid configuration that we have no problem recommending.

    Aside from that, we enjoy the luxury on the editorial side of operating completely separately from sales. In this case, our follow-up system was a good move editorially, and we get to give it away, to boot.

    Best,
    Chris Angelini
  • 3 Hide
    stm1185 , September 30, 2010 9:36 AM
    eyefinityWho wouldn't go with Eyefinity or Nvidia surround with $2k?


    Someone not wanting to spend an extra $1000 on monitors.
  • -7 Hide
    Anonymous , September 30, 2010 9:41 AM
    Quote:
    The 970 was a sub for the 1055T: Please outline a 970 build with GTX 480's for $2000 if you'd like to add credibility to your incredulity. Thanks!


    How about bouild with 930 instead and some nice SSD?

    Also I'd rather a case with proper PSU bottom mount, like Cooler Master does.
  • 1 Hide
    Crashman , September 30, 2010 9:50 AM
    rrrHow about bouild with 930 instead and some nice SSD?Also I'd rather a case with proper PSU bottom mount, like Cooler Master does.

    1.) The SSD is mentioned in the article. The problem is, it increases only synthetic test scores and the value analysis only uses "real world" benchmarks so it's basically a non-starter.
    2.) The i7-930 is nice, and would normally have been used if this build hadn't been designed as a direct alternative to the former six-core build. It will probably be used next time!
    3.) The Antec Three Hundred is "proper bottom mount", please check the photos!
  • 7 Hide
    feeddagoat , September 30, 2010 10:41 AM
    You should include boot times somewhere in performance measurments.
  • 6 Hide
    cangelini , September 30, 2010 11:07 AM
    feeddagoatYou should include boot times somewhere in performance measurments.


    Appreciate the feedback on this, guys. This is something we'll consider for the next SBM in the planning stages now!
  • 3 Hide
    Crashman , September 30, 2010 12:19 PM
    TheCapuletYou guys really need to get comfortable with the coolermaster cases. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811119233http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811119215http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811119228All three of these are far better values than the Antec you keep building in.

    I accidentally clicked the thumbs up icon on your message, and welcome the slamming of this comment as punishment. The case in this article was chosen for its excellent cooling-to-noise ratio, where the cases you picked are noisier and don't cool as well. It's all in the case reviews at this very site, really. None of the cases you picked even support dual front fans, and the original plan was to pair the dual front fans with graphics cards that vented externally.
  • 0 Hide
    rembo666 , September 30, 2010 12:50 PM
    I agree with the previous comments. Why go for a 6-core CPU? Unless you have some very specific requirements, you'd be much better off going with a quad-core and spending the money on an SSD. I guess the whole point of this thing is to be the best "benchmark machine", not necessarily the best bang-for-the-buck in the real world usage.
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