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Overclocking The High-End System

SBM 4: Overclocking The Competitors
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And last but certainly not least, let’s have a look at the big daddy of the marathon, the high-end system :

System Builder Marathon : High-End PC Component Costs
CPU Core 2 Extreme QX6850 $1050
CPU Cooler Included with case $0
Motherboard Asus Striker Extreme $300
RAM Crucial Ballistix PC2-6400- 2 GB $110
Graphics 2x GeForce 8800GTX 768 MB $1000
Hard Drive 2x Western Digital Caviar WD7500AAKS $380
Sound Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS $180
Case Thermaltake Armor LCS $260
Power Ultra X3 1000W $250
DVD-RW Samsung SH-203B $35
Added Fan Antec SpotCool Motherboard Fan $15
Floppy Sony 1.44 MB Floppy Drive $10
Total Price $3590

With a water-cooling system included in the case and a high-output power supply, the high-end system is an ideal overclocking candidate.

While we found the QX6850 to be unhappy with high FSB speeds, its unlocked multiplier allows us a lot of wiggle room. While we only needed a 355 MHz front side bus speed, when paired with an 11x multiplier this resulted in a final clock speed of 3905 MHz. While not a full GHz over the stock speed of 3.0 GHz, it’s hard not to be impressed with four cores brushing up so closely against the 4 GHz mark.

It’s notable that the Ballistix PC2-6400 RAM was performing at 947 MHz when paired with the overclocked bus speed, with solid 4-3-3-8 timings.

Concerning the graphics card overclock, the cards would clock to around 630 MHz GPU / 1043 MHz RAM until the system got hot. Notice that the Thermaltake Armor LCS has no side fan next to the graphics card, something that was needed even at stock speed for the previous marathon’s high end build. Rather than perform further modification to the somewhat troublesome case, the final overclock was lowered to 615 MHz core and 1000 MHz memory.

High-end Overclocked Component Settings
Processor Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850, 2.93 GHz, 1066 FSB, 8 MB Cache
Final Overclock 3.9 GHz : 11x 355 MHz FSB, 1.475 Volts Core
Motherboard ASUS Striker Extreme, BIOS : Phoenix 1305 (08/27/07)
Final Overclock Northbridge @ 1.50V
RAM Crucial Ballistix PC2-6400, 2x 1024 MB, CAS 4.0-4-4-12
Final Overclock 947 MHz Data Rate, CAS 4.0-3-3-8, 2.30 Volts
Graphics Card "2x Gigabyte GeForce 8800 GTX, 768 MB RAM (Per Card)
575 MHz GPU, 1800 MHz RAM Data Rate"
Final Overclock 615 MHz GPU, 2000 MHz RAM

With this info out of the way, let’s look at the performance.

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