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Test Settings And Benchmarks

System Builder Marathon, August 2012: $2000 Performance PC

Test Hardware Configurations
 Q3 2012 $2000 PCQ2 2012 $2000 PC
Intel Core i7-3930K (Sandy Bridge-E)
3.20 GHz, Six Physical Cores, O/C to 4.6 GHz, 1.32 V
Intel Core i7-3770K (Ivy Bridge)
3.50 GHz, Four Physical Cores, O/C to 4.60 GHz, 1.25 V
EVGA 02G-P4-2670-KR: 980 MHz GPU, GDDR5-6008
O/C to 1301 MHz GDDR5-7048
Asus GTX680-DC2T-2GD5: 1201 MHz GPU, GDDR5-6008
O/C to 1262 MHz GDDR5-7204
16 GB G.Skill DDR3-1600, CAS 8-8-8-24
O/C at 1.6 V to DDR3-2133 CL 10-11-10-24
8 GB G.Skill DDR3-1600, CAS 8-8-8-24
O/C at 1.6 V to DDR3-2000 CL 8-10-9-16
ASRock X79 Extreme4: LGA 2011, Intel X79 Express
Stock 100 MHz BCLK
ASRock Z77 Extreme6: LGA 1155, Intel Z77 Express
Stock 100 MHz BCLK
OpticalAsus BW-12B1ST, 16x BD-RLite-On iHAS124-04, 24x DVD±R
CaseNZXT Phantom 410Antec Nine Hundred
CPU CoolerScythe Mugen 3 Rev. B SCMG-3100Zalman CNPS12X
Hard DriveMushkin Chronos Deluxe 240 GB, SATA 6Gb/s SSD
Revert to Win7 AHCI driver on O/C
Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120 GB, SATA 6Gb/s SSD
Revert to Win7 AHCI driver on O/C
PowerSeasonic SS-850HT: 850 W, ATX12V, 80 PLUS Silver Seasonic SS-750KM: 750 W, ATX12V, 80 PLUS Gold 
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
GraphicsNvidia GeForce 301.42
ChipsetIntel INF

Two times the SSD capacity, twice the RAM, 50% more x86 cores, and the ability to write Blu-ray discs make our newest build look far more professional than last quarter's competition. A higher-end graphics card, plus an integrated Quick Sync-enabled GPU, are distinct advantages favoring that prior configuration, even if our benchmarks don't utilize Quick Sync.

Motherboards using the X79 Express chipset ship with an enterprise-oriented version of Intel's integrated controller driver. Switching back to the operation system's default AHCI driver results in a performance boost, which will be shown in our PCMark hard drive tests for the overclocked configuration. Other overclocking factors, such as CPU frequency, do not noticeably alter PCMark's drive test results.

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 1.5.26, 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 IIV1.5.1, "Tom's Hardware Guide V2" custom map, 60s Fraps
Test Set 1: High Details, High Quality
Test Set 2: Ultra Details, Extreme Quality
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunesVersion 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: MPEG-2 to H.264, MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2), Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, Two-Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV
Adobe Photoshop CS5Version 12.1 x64: Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Autodesk 3ds Max 2012Version 14.0 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 Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark 11Version:, 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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