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Test Settings

System Builder Marathon, Sept. 2010: $2000 Performance PC
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$2000 Performance PC Test Settings
 Standard SpeedOverclocked
MotherboardMSI NF980-G65, Socket AM3
Chipset: Nvidia nForce 980a SLI
 Unchanged 
ProcessorAMD Phenom II X6 1055T 2.8GHz
Six Cores, 6 MB L3 Cache, Socket AM3
 4.03 GHz at 1.43 V, 288 MHz HT Clock 
MemoryG.Skill Ripjaws Series F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL
2 x 4 GB (8 GB Total), DDR3-1333 CAS 9-9-9-24
 DDR3-1533 at 1.65 V, CAS 7-7-6-20 
Graphics2 x MSI N480GTX-M2D15-B in SLI
700 MHz GTX-480 GPU, GDDR5-3696
 GDDR5-4132, 816 MHz GPU 
Hard DriveSamsung Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ
1 TB, 7200 RPM, 32 MB Cache, SATA 3Gb/s 
 Unchanged 
PowerCooler Master Silent Pro RSA00-AMBAJ3-US
1000 W, ATX12V 2.3, EPS12V 2.92, 80 PLUS Bronze
 Unchanged 
CPU CoolerScythe Mugen 2 Rev. B (SCMG-2100) Unchanged 
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
GraphicsNvidia GeForce 258.96
ChipsetIntel INF 9.1.1.1020
Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2Campaign, Act III, Second Sun (45 sec. FRAPS)
Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AA
Test Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x AA
CrysisPatch 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
DiRT 2Run with -benchmark example_benchmark.xml
Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 8x AA
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of PripyatCall Of Pripyat Benchmark version
Test Set 1: High Preset, DX11 EFDL, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Preset, DX11 EFDL, 4x MSAA
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunesVersion:9.0.2.25 x64
Audio CD ("Terminator II"), 53 minutes
Default format AAC
Handbrake 0.9.4Version 0.9.4, convert first .vob file from "The Last Samurai" (1 GB) to .mp4, High Profile
TMPEGEnc 4.0 XPressVersion: 4.7.3.292
Import File: "Terminator 2" SE DVD (5 Minutes)
Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
DivX Codec 6.9.1Encoding mode: Insane Quality
Enhanced multithreading enabled using SSE4
Quarter-pixel search
XviD 1.2.2Display encoding status = off
MainConcept Reference 1.6.1MPEG2 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)
Productivity 
Adobe Photoshop CS4Version: 11.0 x64, Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image
Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Autodesk 3ds Max 2010Version: 11.0 x64, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)
Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus 9.0Version: 9.0.663, Virus base: 270.14.1/2407, Benchmark: Scan 334 MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files
WinRAR 3.90Version x64 3.90, Dictionary = 4096 KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334MB)
7-ZipVersion 4.65: Format=Zip, Compression=Ultra, Method=Deflate, Dictionary Size=32 KB, Word Size=128, Threads=8
Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.0.1, GPU and CPU scores
PCMark VantageVersion: 1.0.1.0 x64, System, Productivity, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks
SiSoftware Sandra 2010Version 2010.1.16.11, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
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Top Comments
  • 26 Hide
    cangelini , September 6, 2010 10:31 AM
    Folks,
    Please bear in mind that the choices for these System Builder Marathon systems are often the product of reader feedback. We do three or four Intel-based builds in a row and everyone starts asking why we're not giving AMD a chance to shine. This quarter, Thomas wanted to address those comments.
    The next two builds will come over the next two days--that's why we call it a marathon ;) 
    Thanks all!
    Chris
  • 25 Hide
    proofhitter , September 6, 2010 6:43 AM
    Big CPU fail. I love your honesty, good one Tom's! Nice try nevertheless. Keep it up!
  • 22 Hide
    dirtmountain , September 6, 2010 7:23 AM
    Good article, you never know how some things will work out until you try them. Kudos to Mr. Soderstrom for putting a different build together and not sticking to the same old pattern.
Other Comments
  • 22 Hide
    IzzyCraft , September 6, 2010 6:20 AM
    Love the case choice everything else is pretty much can't really hate it or love it, but i mean you can't really hate any of the parts when they cost that much as they are all good but some just not right for some jobs.
    I do not care for AMD and SLI just because you'll be using an nvidia chipset and my past experiences with them have been poor.
    I also do not care for 6 cores for games although i mostly use my computer for other things which may like those 6 cores, but i don't find too many uses for 2 480's outside of gaming.

    Hopefully the next one will be one i can't help but agree with, A i5-750/760 with 2 460's in sli :D 
  • 15 Hide
    Tamz_msc , September 6, 2010 6:23 AM
    This month's SBM is forgettable.It confirms that AMD+SLI = BIG fail.
  • 8 Hide
    Tamz_msc , September 6, 2010 6:35 AM
    A better option( without sacrificing GTX 480 SLI) in my opinion is:
    Core i7 950 (add 100$)
    GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R (add 50$)
    GSkill 6GB RAM(subtract 70$)
  • 25 Hide
    proofhitter , September 6, 2010 6:43 AM
    Big CPU fail. I love your honesty, good one Tom's! Nice try nevertheless. Keep it up!
  • 14 Hide
    jrharbort , September 6, 2010 6:44 AM
    The lesson here? AMD hexacores are still the best value on the market, but is still unable to keep up with the i7 in overall performance clock for clock. It's sadly not the best choice in high end systems, but it still wont stop me from recomending it to friends interested in sub-$1000 systems.
  • 3 Hide
    Crashman , September 6, 2010 7:12 AM
    jj463rdWith Sandybridge and Bulldozer just right around the corner I don't think that it makes any sense to build right now with current (especially CPU + motherboard)components.

    Maybe not...this system was built a couple months ago.
  • 21 Hide
    makwy2 , September 6, 2010 7:13 AM
    Love the honesty. I think this is just shows that a MUCH cheaper AMD chip ($700 less) is close but not quite in true competition with the top of the line Intel chip. I'll stick to my AMD chips because I am not made of money.

    Again, I love the honesty and straight talk TH brings with these bi-monthly features that give system builders a real idea about performance and cost-effective parts.
  • 2 Hide
    aaron92 , September 6, 2010 7:21 AM
    I really do value the AMD Hex vs Intel, 6 cores is already cutting edge and 12 threads is going beyond a desktop computer for this year atleast.
  • 22 Hide
    dirtmountain , September 6, 2010 7:23 AM
    Good article, you never know how some things will work out until you try them. Kudos to Mr. Soderstrom for putting a different build together and not sticking to the same old pattern.
  • 9 Hide
    rutoojinn , September 6, 2010 7:42 AM
    If you looked at Tom's best CPU for the money every month. The tier list at the end of the articles shows what tier the AMD x6 is at. Basically an i5 750 or 760 cpu is ranked higher than the Phoenom II x6 cpu. They are basically the same price around $200. So around that price range it just depends which brand you would go for. I prefer the i5 and this months set up I appreciate what Tom tried to do.
  • -1 Hide
    enzo matrix , September 6, 2010 7:57 AM
    sassan_88I dont like systems Based on AMD's chipset

    As opposed to Nvidia's chipset of which many in the past few years are well known for their overheating and failing? I've had an 8200m fail on me completely. My friend had his 6150 in his notebook overheat so badly his battery was at less than max capacity within a year (from heat exposure).
    The only good ones have been the 6100 and the 7xxx series.
  • -4 Hide
    Stardude82 , September 6, 2010 8:15 AM
    8 GB of RAM is still excessive...
  • 2 Hide
    ScoobyJooby-Jew , September 6, 2010 8:16 AM
    well, all the adds i see for the amd six cores read "our six or their four?". I think a 1055 should be tested against a Hyperthreaded quad, and a non hyperthreaded quad. that would be an interesting test
  • -9 Hide
    Christopher1 , September 6, 2010 8:28 AM
    What is with the AMD chip in this machine? I would have thought that a CoreI7 chip would have been a better choice!
  • 15 Hide
    Judguh , September 6, 2010 8:55 AM
    Stardude828 GB of RAM is still excessive...

    I would actually like to see a small article on RAM usage on a PC during various uses and scenarios and to show where more RAM or faster RAM would be more beneficial.
  • 26 Hide
    cangelini , September 6, 2010 10:31 AM
    Folks,
    Please bear in mind that the choices for these System Builder Marathon systems are often the product of reader feedback. We do three or four Intel-based builds in a row and everyone starts asking why we're not giving AMD a chance to shine. This quarter, Thomas wanted to address those comments.
    The next two builds will come over the next two days--that's why we call it a marathon ;) 
    Thanks all!
    Chris
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