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Test Settings

System Builder Marathon, March 2010: System Value Compared

March 2010 SBM Test Configuration

$750 PC$1,500 PC$3,000 PC
Gigabyte MA790GPT-UD3H
Socket AM3, 790GX
Overclocked to 257 MHz HyperTransport Clock
ASRock X58 Extreme
LGA-1366, X58 Express
Overclocked to 195 MHz BCLK
Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7
LGA-1366, X58 Express
Overclocked to 205 MHz BCLK
AMD Athlon II X3 435
2.90 GHz at 3.60 GHz
Fourth Core Unlocked, 1.49V
Intel Core i7-920
2.66 GHz at 3.90 GHz
Overclocked 20x 195 MHz, +0.0V
Intel Core i7-920
2.66 GHz at 4.30 GHz
Overclocked 21x 205 MHz, 1.36V
G.Skill DDR3-1600 CAS 9
CAS 9-9-9-24 at 1.60V
Overclocked to 1,369 MHz, 7-8-7-15, 1.65V
Crucial DDR3-1333 CAS 9
CAS 9-9-9-24, 1.50V
Overclocked to 1,540 MHz, 8-8-8-18, 1.60V
3 x Crucial DDR3-1333 2GB
CAS 9-9-9-24, 1.50V
Overclocked to 1,640 MHz, 8-8-8-18, 1.65V
2 x Sapphire HD 4850
625 MHz, GDDR3-1986
Overclocked to 700/2,360 MHz
2 x Visiontek HD 5850
725 MHz, GDDR5-4000
Overclocked to 775/4,500 MHz
PowerColor HD 5970
750 MHz, GDDR5-4200
Overclocked to 980/4,880 MHz
Hard Drives
640GB, 7,200 RPM, 32MB
750GB, 7,200 RPM, 32MB
2 x Crucial CT64M225 SSD
64GB x2 (RAID 0)
CaseAntec Three HundredCooler Master CM 690Cooler Master Cosmos-S
PowerAntec EarthWatts EA650
Corsair CMPSU-750TX
SilverStone ST1000-P
1,000W Modular
CPU CoolerXigmatek HDT-SD964
92mm Tower
Rosewill FORT120
120mm Tower
Swiftech H20-220
Ultima XT Liquid Kit
O/SMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
GraphicsAMD Catalyst 10.2
ChipsetAMD Catalyst 10.2Intel INF

All three systems achieved at least somewhat-admirable clock speeds and the $1,500 build amazingly reached 3.90 GHz at stock voltage after it was determined that increased voltage wasn’t helping. Gone is the problematic Core i7-860 of last-month’s high-cost build, while the new system’s liquid-cooled i7-920 reached 4.30 GHz with ease. The $750 system builder was even able to unlock his processor’s fourth core without suffering a major loss in stability, although his memory couldn’t match the CAS 6 capability of equally-priced award-winning modules from our previous shootout.

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2Campaign, Act III, Second Sun (45 sec. FRAPS)
Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AA
Test Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x AA
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
Dirt 2 DemoIn-game benchmark
Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 8x AA
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of PripyatS.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call Of Pripyat Benchmark version
Test Set 1: High Preset, DX11 EFDL, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Preset, DX11 EFDL, 4x MSAA
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunesVersion: x64
Audio CD ("Terminator II" SE), 53 min.
Default format AAC
Handbrake 0.9.4Version 0.9.4, convert first .vob file from "The Last Samurai" (1GB) to .mp4, High Profile
MainConcept Reference 1.6.1MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264), MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2), Audio: MPEG2 (44.1 KHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Mode: PAL (25 FPS)
Adobe Photoshop CS4Version: 11.0 x64, Filter 15.7MB TIF Image
Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Autodesk 3ds Max 2010Version: 11.0 x64, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)
Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus 9.0Version: 9.0.663, Virus base: 270.14.1/2407, Benchmark: Scan 334MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files
WinRAR 3.90Version x64 3.90, Dictionary = 4,096KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334MB)
7-ZipVersion 4.65: Format=Zip, Compression=Ultra, Method=Deflate, Dictionary Size=32KB, Word Size=128, Threads=8
Benchmark: THG-Workload (334MB)
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.0.1, GPU and CPU scores
PCMark VantageVersion: x64, System, Productivity, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks
SiSoftware Sandra 2010Version 2010.1.16.11, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark

Our new benchmark suite is working fairly well, although we’re still seeing somewhat temperamental results in AVG. We’re currently working on a new antivirus application.

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