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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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Top Comments
  • 25 Hide
    ddan49 , June 6, 2012 4:26 AM
    I personally think they went a little TOO overboard on the GPU. Sure, it'll tear through games... but at 4GB of RAM, a non-overclockable i5 CPU, and a P67 motherboard... well... meh...
  • 23 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , June 6, 2012 4:48 AM
    not criticizing, but this build looks like a half-hearted attempt.
    Basically the whole article tests the improvements of a single channel over a dual channel RAM.
  • 16 Hide
    koshadows , June 6, 2012 5:27 AM
    I'm not quite sure how I should respond to both of the system builders comment section from this week. Gtx 670 wasn't available, we know. Stop beating this dead horse. Its just like last quarter's waterfall of "why no 680????"

    As of right now at the time of this post, the sapphire 7970 o/c on newegg is at $480. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102982 So i can only assume whatever price hike has been dealt with?

    Good job on making a computer perform about the same for $250 less! I'm sure if I was to build a computer right now this would give quite a bit of breathing room. Not everyone has quarter of a grand to throw around.

    Downside is it does feel like you guys ran outta ideas on new combinations. I think I'd be kind of interested in either a SLI config 560 ti or 7850s. But the 7850 would've pushed it past budget I think. I'd still vote on the SSD though!
Other Comments
  • 25 Hide
    ddan49 , June 6, 2012 4:26 AM
    I personally think they went a little TOO overboard on the GPU. Sure, it'll tear through games... but at 4GB of RAM, a non-overclockable i5 CPU, and a P67 motherboard... well... meh...
  • -2 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , June 6, 2012 4:47 AM
    i'd put an SSD in any system i build. Its so much better than a HDD.

  • 23 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , June 6, 2012 4:48 AM
    not criticizing, but this build looks like a half-hearted attempt.
    Basically the whole article tests the improvements of a single channel over a dual channel RAM.
  • 7 Hide
    mousseng , June 6, 2012 4:53 AM
    I realize the SBM is sponsored by Newegg, so that means they're only able to get what they can from Newegg?

    Because if not, I would posit that the i5-2380p is a better CPU choice than the i5-2400:
    1) You've not got a huge need for the IGP, what with the 7970 (I could see it could still have use, but I don't think it would be that helpful)
    2) From what I've read on Newegg's page for the 2380p (which they no longer sell), the 2380p is a great overclocker (up to 4.5Ghz according to one reviewer)
    3) It costs the same as the 2400, with the same stock clocks

    Apart from that, I think it's a pretty solid build. A little too much corner-cutting compared to what I would've chosen, but I'd probably put together something rather standard and boring.
  • -4 Hide
    ojas , June 6, 2012 4:54 AM
    Why not use the HAF 912? Wouldn't have had a problem with the 7970.
  • 16 Hide
    koshadows , June 6, 2012 5:27 AM
    I'm not quite sure how I should respond to both of the system builders comment section from this week. Gtx 670 wasn't available, we know. Stop beating this dead horse. Its just like last quarter's waterfall of "why no 680????"

    As of right now at the time of this post, the sapphire 7970 o/c on newegg is at $480. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102982 So i can only assume whatever price hike has been dealt with?

    Good job on making a computer perform about the same for $250 less! I'm sure if I was to build a computer right now this would give quite a bit of breathing room. Not everyone has quarter of a grand to throw around.

    Downside is it does feel like you guys ran outta ideas on new combinations. I think I'd be kind of interested in either a SLI config 560 ti or 7850s. But the 7850 would've pushed it past budget I think. I'd still vote on the SSD though!
  • 1 Hide
    benikens , June 6, 2012 5:48 AM
    Not sure if mentioned, But personally I would've gone with a newer chipset mobo even if your using a sandy-bridge cpu, if you compare features what you get with a h77 motherboard for like $80 is very compelling, intergrated USB 3.0 means you get this at much cheaper prices then before. And you don't need an overclocking chipset if your not buying a k processor. That and even on a board with 16x4x Pcie layout, 4x PCIe 3.0 = 8xPCIe 2.0 which means you can go for lower end mobo and still have viable SLI/Crossfire options (if you use a Ivy-bridge CPU).

    I get that this was an attempt to recover from last quarters ram debacle, but essentially you chose an overpriced GPU, and overpriced and outdated motherboard and a last-gen CPU? It's just not a balanced build, far to much budget wasted on that GPU and I don't know anyone these days spending a thousand bucks and not picking up an SSD, agility 3 60gb drive's are perfect for entry level boot drive and you can find the thing for around ~$70 which could've easily been saved by a more appropriate choice of parts.
  • 6 Hide
    bardacuda , June 6, 2012 6:03 AM
    AAHAHAHAHA!! That picture of the 7970 all tweaked and jammed into the case is just too funny! :D  Quite the slant on the cooler!
  • -1 Hide
    amuffin , June 6, 2012 7:12 AM
    This system is not balanced.
    The point of a GOOD pc, is to have total system balance. Balance, as in the cpu,gpu, etc. are all in the same performance range. In this case, it really isn't balanced.
  • 1 Hide
    cobra5000 , June 6, 2012 7:14 AM
    ddan49May want to put "do" in there, instead

    Are you really that stupid?
  • 2 Hide
    Darkerson , June 6, 2012 7:16 AM
    Could have been worse, I suppose.
  • -2 Hide
    strandiam , June 6, 2012 7:28 AM
    amuffinThis system is not balanced.The point of a GOOD pc, is to have total system balance. Balance, as in the cpu,gpu, etc. are all in the same performance range. In this case, it really isn't balanced.


    Yeah. This looks like a PC built by someone who only wants maximum fps in Battlefield 3 and wasn't concerned about anything else. It will do but I would change pretty much every part if it were my real money.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , June 6, 2012 8:33 AM
    4GB of RAM? You can have +4GB for +$20.

    i5 2400? You can have the 2500K for +$20.

    AMD 7970? Well whoever wins this thing will certainly be lucky, but it is half the cost. This card could have been reduced to one that is lower-end, distributing the cost to the aforementioned RAM and CPU, with a better case and a modular power supply from SeaSonic (there is one which can power this machine for about $60 currently).

    I agree with those who think this combination was simply whipped together. A 7870 can max out a $250 monitor, for example. Why do you need such a high-end card for this?
  • 0 Hide
    xtreme5 , June 6, 2012 8:49 AM
    not bad!
  • 2 Hide
    sirencall , June 6, 2012 9:24 AM
    I got a z68 gigabyte board from newegg for about 90 bucks, with the ssd slot thingy (I know, I forgot the name of the port) I would think that would have been a better pick since it is better for overclocking....also cheaper so you could have gotten a 2500K, like I did lol. My whole build costed me about 450 plus and I have 8 gigs of ram @1866. If I went with cheaper case you probably could have still squeezed in that 7970 comfortably.
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