System Builder Marathon, June 2011: $2000 Performance PC

Test Settings

Test Hardware Configurations
 Current $2000 PCPrevious $2000 PC
Motherboard
(Overclock)
ASRock Z68 Extreme4
LGA 1155, Intel Z68 Express
100.1 MHz BCLK
MSI P67A-GD65 (B3)
LGA 1155, Intel P67 Express
No BCLK Overclock
Processor
(Overclock)
Intel Core i7-2600K
3.40 GHz, Four Physical Cores
O/C to to 4.70 GHz, 1.38 V
Intel Core i7-2600K
3.40 GHz, Four Physical Cores
O/C to to 4.80 GHz, 1.40 V
Memory
(Overclock)
8 GB G.Skill DDR3-1600
CAS 8-8-8-24, O/C at 1.60 V
to DDR3-1602 CL 8-8-8-24
8 GB G.Skill DDR3-1600
CAS 8-8-8-24, O/C at 1.60 V
to DDR3-1600 CL 7-8-7-21
Graphics
(Overclock)
2x 2x MSI R6970-2PM2D2GD5: 880 MHz GPU,  GDDR5-5500
O/C to 950 MHz, GDDR5-5800
OpticalLG WH10LS30 BD-RE: 10x BD-R, 16x DVD±RLite-On iHBS212 BD-RE: 12x BD-R, 16x DVD±R
CaseLian-Li PC-9FAntec Three Hundred Illusion
CPU CoolerXigmatek Gaia SD1283Scythe Mugen 2 Rev. B (SCMG-2100)
Hard Drive2x A-Data S599 SSD, Striped: 64 GB x2 (128 GB Combined)
PowerSeasonic SS-850HT: 850 W, ATX12V v2.31, 80 PLUS Silver
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
GraphicsAMD Catalyst 11.5AMD Catalyst 11.2
ChipsetIntel INF 9.2.0.1030Intel INF 9.2.0.1021
Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Very High Quality, 8x AA
F1 2010V1.01, Run with -benchmark example_benchmark.xml
Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 8x AA
Just Cause 2Version 1.0.0.2, Built-In Benchmark "Concrete Jungle"
Test Set 1: Medium Details, No AA, 8x AF
Test Set 2: Highest Details, 8x AA, 16x AF
Metro 2033Full Game, Built-In Benchmark, "Frontline" Scene
Test Set 1: DX11, High, AAA, 4x AF, No PhysX, No DoF
Test Set 2: DX11, Very High, 4x AA, 16x AF, No PhysX, DoF On
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunesVersion 9.0.3.15 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 0.94: "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: 2.0.0.1555: 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 12.0 x64: Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Autodesk 3ds Max 2010Version 12.0 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, 248 Frames, 1440x1080
WinZipVersion 14.0 Pro: THG-Workload (464 MB) to ZIP, command line switches "-a -ez -p -r"
WinRARVersion 4.0 Beta 4: THG-Workload (464 MB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"
7-ZipVersion 9.2: THG-Workload (464 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 VantageVersion: 1.0.1.0 x64, System, Productivity, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks
SiSoftware Sandra 2011Version 2011.1.17.15, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
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115 comments
    Your comment
    Top Comments
  • fyasko
    tacoslaveBULLDOZER!!!!


    WHERE!?!?!?
    20
  • Other Comments
  • regenon
    I gess u wanted to say:
    A pair of Radeon HD 6950s beats a pair of GeForce GTX 570s at our 2560x1600 target resolution, and the HD 6970 is even faster.
    0
  • Tamz_msc
    Finally you made a decent choice regarding the case. I could not believe you went with the Antec 300s on previous builds of this category.
    7
  • buzznut
    I agree, though some may care less for what's on the outside I can't see putting together a $2000 PC with a 50 dolla case.
    5
  • Anonymous
    Yes, I am pleased to see a classy looking Lian Li case being used and not one of those gargoyle-inspired transformer-looking abominations that appeal only to google-eyed children and pimply-faced teenagers. That an adult might actually purchase that sort of monstrosity damped my hope for the future of the supposedly mature population of this world!
    6
  • amk09
    I would do anything to get a rig like this, sucks growing up in a poor family :(
    8
  • hmp_goose
    So it's now considered "safe" to RAID 0 SSDs? I thought Tom's once had a big "here be dragons" label for that practice …
    0
  • compton
    I too like the upgrade to a Lian Li. I didn't have a problem with the SBM method of fitting into a tightly constrained budget - but it's still good to see an attractive system as well as impressive performance. If someone is building a $2000 system, they can pony up a couple extra bucks for a better case. The System Builder Marathon is one of the best things going.
    1
  • dragonsqrrl
    Again, another great high-end build (very similar to previous build), and my only real complaint (albeit a small one) from the last $2000 system was also addressed, the case.

    Are you guys satisfied with your decision to go with a higher-end case? Have you noticed any tangible benefits? For example, lower system temps, better build quality, better cable management, more interior room to work, additional features, etc...?
    6
  • JohnnyLucky
    Great looking case. Looks better than my own Lian Li/Lancool Dragon Lord case.
    0
  • whysobluepandabear
    Todd SauveYes, I am pleased to see a classy looking Lian Li case being used and not one of those gargoyle-inspired transformer-looking abominations that appeal only to google-eyed children and pimply-faced teenagers. That an adult might actually purchase that sort of monstrosity damped my hope for the future of the supposedly mature population of this world!



    You give vivid details describing children and teenagers, but might I add something for the adults? Something like: "That a wrinkly, weaker and deteriorating adult might actually purchase". Something along those lines - we must make those adults look like old fuddy-duddies, whom are at the brink of a midlife crisis any moment now!
    -5
  • Travis Beane
    I've put a lot more money than that into my PC, and yet I've got a lot less.
    Damn you evolving technology.
    :'(
    9
  • fstrthnu
    Anybody else think it's about time for Intel to release the Sandy Bridge Extreme-edition processors? We could really use hexa-core sandy bridge by now
    -7
  • R6ex
    Time to change to a GTX 580 SLI or Asus Mars 2 set-up for the next SBM.

    I'm tired of this Radeon Crossfire set-up for the past half year.

    Don't forget to check out the 8-cores Bulldozer as well.
    2
  • prisoner37
    hmp_gooseSo it's now considered "safe" to RAID 0 SSDs? I thought Tom's once had a big "here be dragons" label for that practice …


    there was a recent article about this, where they discussed that in raid0 drive performance scales as you add drives, so by taking 2 drives with a 250mb/s write rate, you get nearly 500 mb/s. so not only is it safe, it adds performance

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-raid-iops,2848.html is the article
    1
  • tacoslave
    BULLDOZER!!!!
    -7
  • fyasko
    tacoslaveBULLDOZER!!!!


    WHERE!?!?!?
    20
  • miltduds
    Its nice to see appearance being taking into consideration again when spending 2000 dollars on a rig. It does feel like something is missing though when the CPU doeskin have six cores or a "X" in it's name.
    0
  • jeroly
    So 3 months of progress gets us a slower machine with slower optical read speeds and a crappier cpu heatsink/fan?

    Choosing an inferior hs/f in order to save a couple of bucks is not the kind of choice we're looking to see in a $2000 'top-of-the-line' rig, btw

    Moreover, perhaps the hs/f choice is why you couldn't overclock this one as much as the last one.
    4
  • Crashman
    dragonsqrrlHave you noticed any tangible benefits? For example, lower system temps, better build quality, better cable management, more interior room to work, additional features, etc...?
    Nope. In fact the Three Hundred Illusion has slightly better airflow at the intake due to its longitudinal hard drive cages. But the transverse hard drive cage is easier to use, and the system still had more than enough airflow for the parts selected.
    1
  • srgess
    2000$ wtf ! I came to 1807$. Perso i would change case, videocard,ssd,cpu cooler. I guess you added extra 100-200$ for screen, OS.

    Seasonic SS-850HT: 125$
    XIGMATEK Gaia SD1283: 30$
    2x A-Data S599 SSD: 120$ x2 (240$)
    Lian-Li PC-9F :106$
    LG WH10LS30: 89$
    2x MSI R6970: 320$ x2 (640$)
    8 GB G.Skill DDR3-1600: 74$
    Intel Core i7-2600K: 314$
    ASRock Z68 Extreme4: 189$
    0