System Builder Marathon: Sub-$1000 PC

Test System Configuration

Here’s a recap of our $1000 system’s hardware configuration.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo E7200
Row 1 - Cell 0 2.53GHz, 1066FSB, 3MB Cache
MotherboardMSI P7N SLI Platinum, BIOS 1.1 (02/25/2008)
RAMCrucial Ballistix PC2-6400
Row 4 - Cell 0 DDR2-800, 2x 1024 MB, CAS 4.0-4-4-12
Hard DriveSeagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3500630AS
Row 6 - Cell 0 500 GB, 7200 RPM, 16 MB Cache, SATA 300
NetworkingNVIDIA nForce onboard Gigabit Ethernet NIC
Graphics Cards2x Gigabyte GeForce 8800 GT, 512 MB RAM (Per Card)
Row 9 - Cell 0 700 MHz GPU, 1840 MHz RAM Data Rate
Power SupplySilverstone ST400 (400W, ATX12V v2.2)
Row 11 - Cell 0 System Software & Drivers
OSWindows Vista Ultimate 6.0.6000 (Vista Retail)
DirectX VersionDirectX 10.0
Platform DriverNVIDIA nForce Version 9.46
Graphics DriverNVIDIA ForceWare 175.16

And this is our benchmark configuration.

Benchmark Settings

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 3D-Games
CrysisVersion: 1.1
Row 2 - Cell 0 Video Quality 1: High Details No Anti-Aliasing
Row 3 - Cell 0 Video Quality 2: Very High Details, 4x Anti-Aliasing
Row 4 - Cell 0 Benchmark: Benchmark_CPU.bat
PreyVersion: 1.3
Row 6 - Cell 0 Video Quality 1: Default (No AA, 8x AF)
Row 7 - Cell 0 Video Quality 2: High Quality, 4x AA
Row 8 - Cell 0 Benchmark: THG-Demo
SupremeVersion: 3.220
CommanderVideo Quality 1: Default
Row 11 - Cell 0 Video Quality 2: High Fidelity, High Shadow, 4x AA
Row 12 - Cell 0 Benchmark: Real 60 Game
UnrealVersion: Retail
Tournament 3Texture Detail: 5
Row 15 - Cell 0 World Detail: 5
Row 16 - Cell 0 Field of View: 100
Row 17 - Cell 0 Benchmark: Botmatch (WAR-Torlan, 12 bots, 1 Minute)
WarhammerVersion: 1.6
Mark of ChaosVideo Quality:Default (Highest Settings)
Row 20 - Cell 0 Demo: THG Timedemo (1 Minute)
Row 21 - Cell 0 Audio
iTunes 7.2Version:
Row 23 - Cell 0 Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min
Row 24 - Cell 0 High Quality (160kb/s)
Lame MP3Version: 3.98 Beta 3 (05-22-2007)
Row 26 - Cell 0 Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min
Row 27 - Cell 0 wave to MP3
Row 28 - Cell 0 160kb/s
Row 29 - Cell 0 Video
4.0 XpressImport File: Terminator 2 SE DVD (5 Minutes)
Row 32 - Cell 0 Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
Row 33 - Cell 0 Audio: Dolby Digital, 48000 Hz, 6-Channel, English
Row 34 - Cell 0 Advanced Acoustic Engine MP3 Encoder (160kb/s)
DivX 6.6Version: 6.6.1
Row 36 - Cell 0 Profile: Home Theater Profile (720 x 576)
Row 37 - Cell 0 1-pass, 780 kb/s
Row 38 - Cell 0 Encoding mode: Insane Quality
Row 39 - Cell 0 Enhanced multithreading
XviD 1.1.2Version: 1.1.2
Row 41 - Cell 0 Target quantizer: 1.00 (maximum quality)
Row 42 - Cell 0 Applications
AdobeVersion: 10.0x20070321
Photoshop CS3Filtering 69MB TIF Photo
Row 45 - Cell 0 Benchmark: Tom’s Guide-Benchmark V1.0.0.4
AutodeskVersion: 9.0
3D Studio MaxRendering One Video Frame
Row 48 - Cell 0 Quality: HTDV 1920x1080 & 1280x720
Grisoft AVGVersion: 7.5.467
Anti-VirusVirus Base: 269.6.1/776
Row 51 - Cell 0 Benchmark: Scanning 3.82GB Application Folder
MaxonVersion: 10.008
Cinema 4DResolution: 1280 x 1024
Row 54 - Cell 0 Benchmark: Rose Drop, 8-bits (50 Frames)
Rarlab WinrarVersion 3.70 BETA 8
Row 56 - Cell 0 Compression = Best
Row 57 - Cell 0 Dictionary = 4096 kB
Row 58 - Cell 0 Uncompressed Folder Size: 642MB
Row 59 - Cell 0 Synthetics
SPECviewperf 9Version: 9.0.3
PCMark05 ProVersion: 1.1.0
Row 62 - Cell 0 System, CPU and Memory Tests
Row 63 - Cell 0 Windows Media Player 11.0.6000.6324
Row 64 - Cell 0 Windows Media Encoder
FuturemarkVersion 1.10
3DMark 2006System Test Only
SiSoftwareVersion 2008.1.12.30
Sandra XIICPU Test = CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia
Row 69 - Cell 0 Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • Haiku214
    I'm glad to know that you don't really need a huge amount of wattage to run the 8800 gt sli. How about for the ati 4850 crossfireX? Is 460 watts with a combined 42 amps for the 12V rail be enough?
  • hellwig
    Seeing the new prices for components, couldn't you have stayed with the AMD theme, just to satisfy reader curiosity. I.e. 2x3870 in crossfire (or 3870x2) = $300, AMD 790X/FX MB = $125, Phenom 9850 Black Ed = $235 (or 6400+ X2 Black Ed = $160, making room for 2x4850), Plus all cheaper components from current build. You would have still been under the $1000 mark, and the dual 3870/4850 would have given much closer results in the games category, and the unlocked multiplier would have given AMD a little more benefit in the overclocking category compared to the locked 9500 used previously. This would have been more interesting especially since your $2000 PC was really a $1400 PC (the only difference between $1000 and $2000 now being GTS vs. GT and quad vs. dual).
  • randomizer
    The first Crysis graph looks more like Very High, not High. I get around 32FPS with a single 9600GT on high at 1440x900.
  • cjl
    Considering that those GT's ran you $188 each, even counting a $30 rebate, that should have left 4850's well within your grasp, and they would have significantly outperformed the GT's. In fact, they probably would have outperformed your
  • cjl
    Hmm. Looks like it took my less than sign as HTML tagging. That should have said "outperformed your less than $2000 system"
  • yonef
    Same problem in here (like in $2000 system build)!
    Tom's realy starts to annoying me:
    First of all: Why the hell you need crapy 8800GT??! while for the same prize you can buy HD4850s -> 2xHD4850=$330 < 2x8800GT=$386 !!!
    Second of all: 2xHD4850 will easy outperform 2x8800GT even in crysis :D(wich is exclusively for nvidia)
    Third, but not least: How the hell whole system with 2X8800GT will run on 400W PS ?!!? I'm so convinced;
  • str8ballistik
    This is really dumb. I love how they add up only a tower. you have to add in the monitor, speakers, mouse/keyboard, etc.. That is what a computer is, not a tower. You get peoples hopes up to buy a computer, then they realize, oh yeah, I have to buy this other stuff to actually be able to use the tower. Come on, be more realistic. I would love to see a mid-rang computer, while seeing what size monitor you can get with it.
  • randomizer
    yonefWhy the hell you need crapy 8800GT??!It's funny how a suddenly card becomes worse when another card is released better than it, even funnier when a few weeks ago this was THE card to buy. Did you stop to consider when this article was written? Perhaps the card wasn't available when they wrote this, and in order to get the article out on time they had to go with "crappy" cards.
  • mf_fm
    AMD + ATi FTW $1000 system
  • giovanni86
    If u don't already own a monitor/keyboard/mouse/speakers n your reading this thread you are a retard. Like seriously why would you not own those things already. Personally i like these articles they make, it puts together a PC built tower for you already kind of knowing what u could get at such a great price point. And 2ndly in my opinion ATI has nothing on NVIDIA, although ppl claim it to be better and cheaper then NVIDIA's line up i beg the differ. And 3rdly i can't believe that a sli system as well could run off a 400watt PSU.