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Test System And Benchmarks

System Builder Marathon, June 2012: $1000 Enthusiast PC
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We have two very similar systems here, and the new one has to make due with 4 GB less RAM, no SSD, and no aftermarket CPU cooler.

On the other hand, its dual-channel memory controller works as it's supposed to. Frankly, we don’t expect any of the aforementioned variables to make a large impact, aside from the SSD, which almost certainly impacts the system's responsiveness significantly (even if you don't see that reflected in the benchmarks).

Current $1000 Enthusiast PC Test Settings
 Default Configuration
Overclocked
MotherboardGigabyte GA-P67X-UD3-B3, LGA 1155, Intel P67 Express chipsetUnchanged
ProcessorIntel Core i5-2400 (Sandy Bridge), 3.1 GHz (3.4 GHz Turbo Boost), Quad-Core, 6 MB L3 Cache3.6 to 3.8 GHz @ +0.1 V
MemoryAMD Performance Edition 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) 240-Pin DDR3-1600 Kit
Dual-Channel Desktop Memory Kit, CAS 8-9-8-24-1T
Unchanged
GraphicsSapphire Radeon HD 7970 OC
  3 GB GDDR5 @ 5500 MT/s, GPU @ 925 MHz
GDDR5 @ 6400 MT/s, GPU @ 1125 MHz
Power @ +20%
Hard DriveSeagate Barracuda 750 GB
750 GB, 7200 RPM, 32 MB Cache SATA 3Gb/s
Unchanged
OpticalLG GH22NS90B OEM DVD BurnerUnchanged
CaseLogisys Optimus II
Unchanged
PowerCorsair CX600 V2 600 W
ATX12V, EPS12V, 80 PLUS-Certified
Unchanged
December $1250 Enthusiast PC Test Settings
 Standard SpeedOverclocked
MotherboardASRock P67 Pro3 SE, LGA 1155, Intel P67 Express chipsetUnchanged
ProcessorIntel Core i5-2400 (Sandy Bridge), 3.1 GHz (3.4 GHz Turbo Boost), Quad-Core, 6 MB L3 Cache3.6 to 3.7 GHz @ +0.1 V
MemoryMushkin Enhanced Redline 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) 240-Pin DDR3-1600 Kit
Dual-Channel Desktop Memory Kit, CAS 7-9-8-24-2T
(run in single channel mode due to motherboard issue)
Unchanged
GraphicsPowerColor Radeon HD 7970 3 GB
  3 GB GDDR5 @ 5500 MT/s, GPU @ 925 MHz
GDDR5 @ 6300 MT/s, GPU @ 1125 MHz
Power @ +20%
Hard DriveCrucial m4 64 GB SATA III SSD
64 GB, SATA 6 Gb/s
Unchanged
Hard DriveHitachi Deskstar 750 GB
750 GB, 7200 RPM, 32 MB Cache SATA 3Gb/s
Unchanged
OpticalSamsung TS-H353C OEM DVD-ROMUnchanged
CaseApevia X-Trooper JuniorUnchanged
PowerCorsair TX650 V2 650 W
ATX12V, EPS12V, 80 PLUS-Certified
Unchanged


And here's the list of benchmarks:

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Battlefield 3Campaign Mode, "Going Hunting" 90-Seconds Fraps
Test Set 1: Medium Quality Defaults (No AA, 4x AF)
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Defaults (4x AA, 16x AF)
DiRT 3V1.01, Run with -benchmark example_benchmark.xml
Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 8x AA
Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimUpdate 1.4.27, Celedon Aethirborn Level 6, 25 Seconds 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
StarCraft IICustom map "Tom's Hardware Guide V2", 60 seconds Fraps
Test Set 1: High Details, High Quality
Test Set 2: Ultra Details, Extreme 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 0.95: "Big Buck Bunny" (720x480, 23.972 FPS) 5 Minutes, Audio: Dolby Digital, 48 000 Hz, Six-Channel, English, to Video: AVC Audio: AC3 Audio2: AAC (High Profile)
MainConcept ReferenceVersion: 2.2.0.5440: MPEG-2 to H.264, MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2), Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV
Productivity
Adobe Photoshop CS5Version 12.1 x64: Filter 15.7MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Autodesk 3ds Max 2012Version 12.0 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, 248 Frames, 1440x1080
WinZipVersion 15.5 Pro: THG-Workload (650 MB) to ZIP, command line switches "-a -ez -p -r"
WinRARVersion 4.1: THG-Workload (650 MB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"
7-ZipVersion 9.22: THG-Workload (650 MB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5"
ABBYY FineReaderVersion 10.0.102.82: Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark 11Version: 1.0.1.0, Benchmark Only
PCMark 7Version: 1.0.4 x64, System, Productivity, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks
SiSoftware Sandra 2011Version 2011.10.17.80, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
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