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Benchmark Results: Synthetics

System Builder Marathon, March 2010: $750 Gaming PC

The test suite has undergone numerous updates for 2010. We didn’t want to overcrowd the charts or mix data from different benchmark versions, but here is another link to the December 2009 $700 SBM PC for readers looking to compare performance to the previous SBM.

Let’s start things out with a look at synthetic benchmarks and then we’ll move onto the new gaming suite.

Overclocking efforts alone achieve a 17% gain at the Performance Preset and an 11% increase in the more GPU-weighted Extreme Preset. Unlocking the fourth core increased the CPU score by about 2,800, amounting to between 130 and 1,200 more overall 3DMarks.

Sporting a stronger pair of graphics cards, the $700 SBM PC from December 2009 still wins the High and Extreme Presets, but the massive increase in CPU scores for the triple and unlocked quad-core Athlon II bring today’s system a victory at the Performance Preset. 3DMark Vantage indicates we now have more processor performance for well-threaded CPU-intensive games, but less graphics power for high-resolution, GPU-intensive games.

Even the stock March $750 SBM PC is able to outpace the overclocked December SBM PC in all three of these PCMark Vantage tests.

Overclocking provides gains in the overall system and productivity score, but not in the HDD score. Unlocking the fourth core provided some benefits in about half of the individual tests, which is reflected by the slight increase in the overall system test.

We stepped up to the 2010 version of Sandra, but see the stock $750 SBM PC achieves Processor Arithmetic and Multimedia scores that are about equal to the overclocked PC from December. Memory bandwidth is a whole different story, as today’s AMD 790GX DDR3-based platform achieved more than double the benchmark results compared to the Intel P45 DDR2-800-based platform from the last round.

The unlocked fourth core provided quite a large boost in the two processor tests, and despite somewhat lower DDR3, HyperTransport, and northbridge frequencies, it even resulted in slightly higher memory bandwidth.

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