Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Test System Configuration And Benchmarks

System Builder Marathon, March 2010: $750 Gaming PC
By

Component
 Base Settings
 Overclock Setting
CPU
AMD Athlon II X3 435 (Rana), 2.90 GHz
2,000 MHz HyperTransport Link, 2,000 MHz Northbridge, No L3 Cache
3 Cores: 3.668 GHz (14x 262 MHz)
2,096 MHz HyperTransport Link, 2,620 MHz Northbridge
4 Cores: 3.598 GHz (14 x 257 MHz)
1,799 MHz Hyper-Threading Link, 2,570 MHz Northbridge
CPU Cooler
Xigmatek HDT-SD964
Unchanged
Motherboard
Gigabyte MA790GPT-UD3H
AMD 790GX, BIOS F3 (09/16/2009)
Unchanged
RAM
 4GB G.Skill PC3-12800 F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL
2 x 2,048MB, DDR3-1600, CL 9-9-9-24 at 1.6V
DDR3-1396, CL 7-8-7-15 at 1.65V
DDR3-1369, CL 7-8-7-15 at 1.65V
Graphics
2 x Sapphire 100245HDMI Radeon HD 4850 512MB
650 MHz GPU, 2,000 MHz Memory Data Rate
700MHz GPU, 2,360 MHz Memory-Data Rate
Hard Drive
Western Digital Black WD6401AALS
640GB, 7,200 RPM, 32MB Cache
Unchanged
Sound
Integrated 7.1-Channel HD Audio
Unchanged
Network
Integrated Gigabit Networking
Unchanged
Power
Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W
Unchanged
Optical
LG Black 22X DVD Burner SATA Model GH22NS50
Unchanged
Software and Drivers
Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate Edition x64
Unchanged
Graphics Driver
AMD Catalyst 10.2
Unchanged
Platform Driver
AMD UD3 7-Series Utility 2.2
Unchanged
Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Crysis
Patch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Very High Quality, No AA
Dirt 2
in-game benchmark, DirectX 9
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality, 8x AA
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Campaign, Act III, Second Sun (45 sec. FRAPS)
Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AA
Test Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x AA
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of Pripyat
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of Pripyat Benchmark version
Test Set 1: High Preset, DirectX 10.1 EFDL, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Preset, DirectX 10.1 EFDL, 4x MSAA
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunes
Version:9.0.2.25 x64
Audio CD ("Terminator II" SE), 53 min
Default format AAC
Handbrake 0.9.4
Version 0.9.4
Convert first .vob file from "The Last Samurai" (1.0GB) to .mp4, High-Profile
TMPEGEnc 4.0 Xpress
Version: 4.7.3.292
Import File: "Terminator 2" SE DVD (5 Minutes)
Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
DivX 6.9.1
Encoding mode: Insane Quality
Enhanced multithreading enabled using SSE4
Quarter-pixel search
XviD 1.2.2
Display encoding status = off
MainConcept Reference 1.6.1
MPEG2 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)
Productivity
Autodesk 3ds Max 2010
Version: 11.0 x64, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)
Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus 9.0
Version: 9.0.663, Virus base: 270.14.1/2407, Benchmark: Scan 334MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files
WinRAR 3.90
Version x64 3.90, Dictionary = 4,096 KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334MB)
7-Zip
Version 4.65: Format=Zip, Compression=Ultra, Method=Deflate, Dictionary Size=32KB, Word Size=128, Threads=8, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334MB)
Adobe Photoshop CS4
Version 11.0 Extended (64-bit)
Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates filters
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark Vantage
Version: 1.0.2, GPU and CPU scores
PCMark Vantage
Version: 1.0.1.0 x64, System, Productivity, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks
SiSoftware Sandra 2010
Version 2010.1.16.11, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
Display all 135 comments.
Top Comments
  • 14 Hide
    skora , March 18, 2010 9:07 AM
    Are the STALKER numbers a result of it just being a 512mb GPU? I know the powercolor is single slot, but the 1gb is just $115. Worth it in your opinion?

    I've thrown this out there before for a SBM, but a progressive upgrade SBM would be cool. Instead of 3 systems head to head, you start with one with the entry level budget. Bench it, then add $200 or so worth of upgrades, bench it. Rinse and repeat. Your first system might have a single GPU and need to spend a little more on a mobo for a dual ready mobo, but that's not really a deal breaker. Then add the second GPU and better cooling or whatever the article rules end up being.

    You could also do something like they do on Top Gear (UK) and inherited some old systems and have to do the best you can to get them current.

    Of all the SBMs, this entry model is by far my favorite.
  • 11 Hide
    jsowoc , March 18, 2010 7:00 AM
    I find the value comparisons are usually (always?) that the least expensive computer has the most "value", followed closely by the middle computer, trailed by the most expensive setup.

    Would it be possible to make a 3-way comparison of systems at the same price (for example, $1000)? One could be an AMD-based system, another an Intel-based, and a third maybe a graphics-heavy monster, or a MicroATX system (to see how much performance you sacrifice to stay in $1000 and fit a small form factor).
  • 10 Hide
    Hothr , March 18, 2010 12:12 PM
    It would be nice to make these a wishlist on newegg and link to it (this is sponsored by newegg, right?). That would give us an easy way to have the parts all listed together and click on each to quickly get full specs / reviews, then tweak to our personal tastes.
Other Comments
  • 9 Hide
    erdinger , March 18, 2010 6:22 AM
    This system seams to be really potent. Good job!
  • 6 Hide
    erdinger , March 18, 2010 6:31 AM
    Good job. I Really like the system and I agree in nearly every decision.

    unlocking the forth core and still overclocking to 3.6Ghz is just great! I'm getting jealous because my 4th core is broken.

    I'm looking forward to the value comparison.
  • 3 Hide
    cruiseoveride , March 18, 2010 6:53 AM
    This is almost identical to my build. But I used 2nd hand parts, dual HD4870s and it worked out just less than $600.

    4 cores, 3.2Ghz, 13,000 3dmark points.

    Great bang-for-buck system.
  • 4 Hide
    stray_gator , March 18, 2010 6:58 AM
    Apart from a SBM entry, this article also provides reality check regarding the benefits of a fourth core. quite useful.
  • 11 Hide
    jsowoc , March 18, 2010 7:00 AM
    I find the value comparisons are usually (always?) that the least expensive computer has the most "value", followed closely by the middle computer, trailed by the most expensive setup.

    Would it be possible to make a 3-way comparison of systems at the same price (for example, $1000)? One could be an AMD-based system, another an Intel-based, and a third maybe a graphics-heavy monster, or a MicroATX system (to see how much performance you sacrifice to stay in $1000 and fit a small form factor).
  • 2 Hide
    Otus , March 18, 2010 7:07 AM
    What would by interesting is a round of "upgrade" builds. Set specific budgets for ungrades and add them on top of the hardware from a previous round. That would allow commentary on upgrade paths and also help builders of new rigs.
  • 6 Hide
    shubham1401 , March 18, 2010 7:18 AM
    Wow!
    This processor is a beast for the price...Really Impressed
  • 0 Hide
    Crashman , March 18, 2010 7:19 AM
    jsowocI find the value comparisons are usually (always?) that the least expensive computer has the most "value", followed closely by the middle computer, trailed by the most expensive setup.Would it be possible to make a 3-way comparison of systems at the same price (for example, $1000)? One could be an AMD-based system, another an Intel-based, and a third maybe a graphics-heavy monster, or a MicroATX system (to see how much performance you sacrifice to stay in $1000 and fit a small form factor).


    Except for the CPU cooler, you usually sacrifice nothing to go Micro ATX. Tom's Hardware even did a micro-ATX SBM...where the Core i7 system sucked because it had to use the stock cooler. You can find semi-small micro-ATX cases that fit mid-sized coolers.

    Antec also makes a MICRO ATX MID TOWER which REALLY sux since it misses the point of Micro ATX completely, so I don't want to hear about that one.

    And of course there's Micro ATX mini-towers with the same layout as full-ATX. You get all the performance of ATX and the big cooler, with a case that's around 14-15" tall.
  • 3 Hide
    jsowoc , March 18, 2010 7:48 AM
    CrashmanExcept for the CPU cooler, you usually sacrifice nothing to go Micro ATX. Tom's Hardware even did a micro-ATX SBM...where the Core i7 system sucked because it had to use the stock cooler. (...)


    My argument was not that they should do a $500-$1000-$2000 comparison of uATX builds - they did this. I was suggesting doing a $1000intel - $1000amd - $1000uATX comparison.
  • -1 Hide
    tigerwraith , March 18, 2010 7:48 AM
    I still dont understand why they went with 2 gfx cards. Ive seen in a lot of reviews that even the newest games dont always work right off the bat when using Crossfire or SLi, So why not spend the money on a 5770 for this. You get DX 11, Dual to Triple moniters, and passthrough. So say you wanted to build a budget HTPC that could game Id have went with the 5770 or 5830 not only would that be a great cpu to watch on a HDTV but you would only need the HDMI cable to run everything.
  • -4 Hide
    curnel_D , March 18, 2010 8:04 AM
    Going out of your way to mention that you had to lead the 4/8 pin CPU power cable across the video cards is a little ridiculous, considering that anyone who has put together more than one of these systems knows they can rout it under the video cards instead. And doing so probably would have provided more wriggle room for the cable as well.

    And IMO, this case just wasn't a good choice. Coolermaster has comparable cases for as much as $20 less. That 20 bucks would have landed you an x4 630 procc instead, which would be a much better choice for current and future gaming, when unlocking the 4th core in an x3 is always an uncertain affair.
  • -6 Hide
    nevertell , March 18, 2010 8:11 AM
    It sucks that you can only get a chance to win these builds if you live in the states.
  • -8 Hide
    abhilash , March 18, 2010 8:16 AM
    AT got 4ghz with 4cores+6mbL3 on PII X2 555

  • -6 Hide
    abhilash , March 18, 2010 8:17 AM
  • -6 Hide
    azs , March 18, 2010 8:21 AM
    How about a machine for running ESXi for us virtualisation nuts.
  • -4 Hide
    axekick , March 18, 2010 8:40 AM
    tigerwraithI still dont understand why they went with 2 gfx cards. Ive seen in a lot of reviews that even the newest games dont always work right off the bat when using Crossfire or SLi, So why not spend the money on a 5770 for this. You get DX 11, Dual to Triple moniters, and passthrough. So say you wanted to build a budget HTPC that could game Id have went with the 5770 or 5830 not only would that be a great cpu to watch on a HDTV but you would only need the HDMI cable to run everything.


    Agreed. I have the same motherboard, case, hard drive but different G. Skill kit and a Radeon HD 5750 that benchmarks over 15,000 on 3DMark06(overclocked), 13,378 without overclocking.

    My system also has a Phenom II BE 720 as it predates this processor I believe.
  • -4 Hide
    xizel , March 18, 2010 8:49 AM
    One question, is it mandatory or does it give more performance to use 2 crossfire bridges?
  • 14 Hide
    skora , March 18, 2010 9:07 AM
    Are the STALKER numbers a result of it just being a 512mb GPU? I know the powercolor is single slot, but the 1gb is just $115. Worth it in your opinion?

    I've thrown this out there before for a SBM, but a progressive upgrade SBM would be cool. Instead of 3 systems head to head, you start with one with the entry level budget. Bench it, then add $200 or so worth of upgrades, bench it. Rinse and repeat. Your first system might have a single GPU and need to spend a little more on a mobo for a dual ready mobo, but that's not really a deal breaker. Then add the second GPU and better cooling or whatever the article rules end up being.

    You could also do something like they do on Top Gear (UK) and inherited some old systems and have to do the best you can to get them current.

    Of all the SBMs, this entry model is by far my favorite.
  • 9 Hide
    tecmo34 , March 18, 2010 9:24 AM
    skoraInstead of 3 systems head to head, you start with one with the entry level budget. Bench it, then add $200 or so worth of upgrades, bench it. Rinse and repeat. Your first system might have a single GPU and need to spend a little more on a mobo for a dual ready mobo, but that's not really a deal breaker. Then add the second GPU and better cooling or whatever the article rules end up being. You could also do something like they do on Top Gear (UK) and inherited some old systems and have to do the best you can to get them current.Of all the SBMs, this entry model is by far my favorite.
    Interesting concept... I like that idea myself.
  • 4 Hide
    Onus , March 18, 2010 10:49 AM
    I read this even before going to work this morning, and after all this additional time to think about it, and as literate as I'd like to believe I am, my best response remains "Sweet!" However much luck may have contributed to a decent OC and the unlock, any change I might come up with would be niggling. I can't even grouse about the budget too much, as 1) prices were different, and 2) cuts in non-core items (e.g. case and HDD) would bring it down.
    I do like the idea of finding a way to add upgradability to the SBM, or simply upgrades; e.g. start with three old Dells and throw $100, $200, and $500 at them, and see how much you can improve each one. No rules other than a strict budget; specifically mobo replacement IS allowed.
    I also hope the excellent results here mean we will never again see a miserable e5x00 in another budget build.
Display more comments
React To This Article