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Benchmark Results: DiRT 2 And S.T.A.K.L.E.R.: Call Of Pripyat

System Builder Marathon, June 2010: $1,000 Enthusiast PC
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DiRT2 appears CPU-limited where the overclocked/core-unlocked Phenom II X3 720 system achieves virtual parity with the stock Core i7-920 build. The stock Phenom II X3 720 numbers are playable, but with 8x anti-aliasing (AA) enabled, the $1,000 system has a little trouble at higher resolutions.

As mentioned in our system assembly notes, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat refused to run properly on our $1,000 system when CrossFire was enabled, forcing us to physically remove the second card to achieve smooth performance. This is disturbing because we've run this benchmark in CrossFire mode on many configurations and haven't seen this behavior.

The likely culprit, specifically, is the Gigabyte Radeon HD 5830 cards, a relatively new model that the Catalyst 10.4 drivers refused to acknowledge at all. The Catalyst 10.5 drivers would work, but CrossFire continued to give us problems.

While unfortunate, the results show us how GPU-dependent this title is. Where we've seen performance parity compared to the stock Core i7-920 system in other games, the overclocked/core-unlocked Phenom II X3 720 system can't even reach half the performance of the stock Core i7-920 in most of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat results.

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Top Comments
  • 26 Hide
    alikum , June 16, 2010 6:19 AM
    When you say SBM: Enthusiast System, I am expecting this to be more than just another gaming rig. You may have your own reason for sticking to a Phenom II x3 720 and HD5830 crossfire but I believe a Phenom II x4 955 and HD5770 crossfire would make more sense or more well-balanced (instead of trying your luck by unlocking cores). In fact, we could also grab a HD5870 and downgrade our mobo a little and that would make a truly well balanced enthusiast system.
  • 25 Hide
    adbat , June 16, 2010 6:37 AM
    I find it surprising that you are always successful in unlocking the 4th core
  • 17 Hide
    Crashman , June 16, 2010 6:47 AM
    one-shotIt would have been nice to see the PII X6 1055T with a moderate downgrade in GPUs to afford the higher cost of CPU and motherboard. The i7 embarrasses the PII X3.
    If you're going to make this about i7, you can point to the $2000 system and I can point out the 100% price difference. Do you really think the $2000 system is "more" than 100% better?
Other Comments
  • 26 Hide
    alikum , June 16, 2010 6:19 AM
    When you say SBM: Enthusiast System, I am expecting this to be more than just another gaming rig. You may have your own reason for sticking to a Phenom II x3 720 and HD5830 crossfire but I believe a Phenom II x4 955 and HD5770 crossfire would make more sense or more well-balanced (instead of trying your luck by unlocking cores). In fact, we could also grab a HD5870 and downgrade our mobo a little and that would make a truly well balanced enthusiast system.
  • 2 Hide
    manitoublack , June 16, 2010 6:29 AM
    I'm with one-shot, 6core AMD for $200 can't be beat.
  • 7 Hide
    one-shot , June 16, 2010 6:30 AM
    It would have been nice to see the PII X6 1055T with a moderate downgrade in GPUs to afford the higher cost of CPU and motherboard. The i7 embarrasses the PII X3.
  • 25 Hide
    adbat , June 16, 2010 6:37 AM
    I find it surprising that you are always successful in unlocking the 4th core
  • 3 Hide
    IzzyCraft , June 16, 2010 6:37 AM
    not a fan of the 5830's or the 720 cpu choice is all.

    Would have rather seen a dual 5770's or a 5870 with a i5-750 or a 955

    games more and more are using cpu for doing things. I also tend to use a comp for other things more then games.
  • 15 Hide
    Tamz_msc , June 16, 2010 6:38 AM
    A phenom II 955 BE:160$+2 Xfx hd 5770sfor320$+GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H for 140$=620$ would certainly have been a better choice than your 670$ for CPU+GPU+mobo.
  • 0 Hide
    Tamz_msc , June 16, 2010 6:39 AM
    Tamz_mscA phenom II 955 BE:160$+2 Xfx hd 5770s for 320$+GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H for 140$=620$ would certainly have been a better choice than your 670$ for CPU+GPU+mobo.

  • -1 Hide
    The Lady Slayer , June 16, 2010 6:43 AM
    A Thermaltake V3 instead of the Antec 300 would have saved you $15
  • 1 Hide
    manitoublack , June 16, 2010 6:45 AM
    adbatI find it surprising that you are always successful in unlocking the 4th core

    I've succeeded in unlocking cores in 3 out of 3 tries, but the point stands, buy the processor you want right off the bat. Imagine if it were a dud. 1055T is the only AMD processor on the market worth thinking about.
  • 17 Hide
    Crashman , June 16, 2010 6:47 AM
    one-shotIt would have been nice to see the PII X6 1055T with a moderate downgrade in GPUs to afford the higher cost of CPU and motherboard. The i7 embarrasses the PII X3.
    If you're going to make this about i7, you can point to the $2000 system and I can point out the 100% price difference. Do you really think the $2000 system is "more" than 100% better?
  • -2 Hide
    one-shot , June 16, 2010 6:58 AM
    CrashmanIf you're going to make this about i7, you can point to the $2000 system and I can't point out the 100% price difference. Do you really think the $2000 system is "more" than 100% better?


    This isn't about i7, but rather a better CPU choice. I would rather point to the $1500 system that the current system is being compared to. The $2000 system is twice the price, hardly comparable to a $1000 system. We both know there are marginal gains the higher the system cost is. In the graph above, it says September 2010, but I'm going to assume it was a misprint intended to be September 2009. Even so, prices have changed in that time frame.

    From the stock speeds of the June 2010 $1000 SBM, to the overclocked $1500 September 2009 SBM, one can see the large difference in performance for a relatively small increase in price. Even the overclocked speeds of each system leave a lot to be desired from the PII X3 system. However, another i7 build would be more of the same. It would be nice to see something different rather than two powerful GPUs limited by a slower CPU.
  • 6 Hide
    Crashman , June 16, 2010 7:19 AM
    one-shotFrom the stock speeds of the June 2010 $1000 SBM, to the overclocked $1500 September 2009 SBM, one can see the large difference in performance for a relatively small increase in price. Even the overclocked speeds of each system leave a lot to be desired from the PII X3 system. However, another i7 build would be more of the same. It would be nice to see something different rather than two powerful GPUs limited by a slower CPU.
    I probably would have started the list with a n X6 1055T, but I can appreciate Don's desire to save money for graphics. Were gaming my overwhelming concern, I would have angered everyone by picking an i3-530 for its overclocking capability. Either way, I wouldn't characterize the X3 720 as an embarrassment.
  • -5 Hide
    digiex , June 16, 2010 7:22 AM
    That's a whooping 48,000 pesos in the Philippines, I could build a more powerful rig with locally available parts.
  • 5 Hide
    requiemsallure , June 16, 2010 7:37 AM
    i5-750 or the 955 (as mentioned in another post)is where you should have gone unless you want hyper threading, in which case i recommend the i7-930 though it costs a bit more total system-wise, i would have been able to do it), or the 1055T (even if it doesn't have HT 6 physical cores is as good in my opinion, especially for the price.)
    also i would have gotten the Seagate 7200.12 500GB you can find it for 42 and free shipping. my system that im building now (bought 4 JUNE)

    specs:
    Phenom II x4 955
    ASRock 870 Extreme 3 (allows for xfire on a 870 board)
    Sapphire 5770
    OCZ platinum DDR3 1333 7-7-7-20
    Xigmatek Midgard
    $20 optical drive
    Antec EarthWatts 650W 80Plus
    Seagate 7200.12 500GB
    Total: $742

    If i added another 5770 would perform simmiler and even if i added another 5770 it would only cost $890, at that price you could also add in a good air cooler, and more fans for the excellent case i got. and i would only be at $960, oh i forgot to mention that the price includes the operating system, if i take that out (since it isn't included in the system builder marathon) the price is actually $870 for everything mentioned.

    i received discounts from combos and searching Google shopping, and came up with a savings of about $210 on this system.
  • 4 Hide
    kiren , June 16, 2010 8:04 AM
    I really can't see why they always stick to high end crossfire and skimp on the CPU either, at $1,000 it simply doesn't make sense to me to have anything less than a Phenom II x4(or x6) or an i5-750. I'd much rather see a slightly higher end single card, or 5770's if you really insist on crossfire to make up the price difference. Then again I do a fair amount of CPU-intensive things and have yet to want to play anything that didn't run fine on my 8800GT imo, so maybe I'm biased.
  • 14 Hide
    Crashman , June 16, 2010 8:56 AM
    jetbruceliI built one for under a thousand amd x6 1055tGTX 470700 w Corsairhaf9224gb 1333gigabyte 870dvd rw asusand 500 gb 7200rpm and this beats this system by a huge margin
    How does it do that?
  • 4 Hide
    doron , June 16, 2010 8:59 AM
    Brilliant build man! Stellar performance for the money!
    And while I wouldn't let myself build such a potent system without front fans or with this puny hdd the temperatures were in check and hdd isn't tested much here so these sacrifices are acceptable considering the circumstances.
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