We continue to use last quarter’s benchmark settings, enabling a comparison of both $1750 machines to the previous quarter’s $1600 build.
Test Hardware Configurations
|Alternative $1750 PC||Original Q1 $1750 PC||Q4 2014 $1600 PC|
|Processor (Overclock)||Intel Core i7-5820K: 3.3 - 3.6GHz, Six Physical Cores O/C to 4.13 - 4.5GHz, 1.18V||Intel Core i7-4790K: 4 - 4.4GHz, Four Physical Cores O/C to 4.6 - 4.8GHz, +20mV||Intel Core i7-4790K: 4 - 4.4GHz, Four Physical CoresO/C to 4.6GHz, 1.26V|
|Graphics (Overclock)||Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980: <1279MHz GPU, GDDR5-7012 O/C to <1504MHz, GDDR5-8012||2x PNY GTX 970: <1178MHz GPU, GDDR5-7012 O/C to <1328MHz, GDDR5-7312||PNY GTX 980: <1216MHz GPU, GDDR5-7012 O/C to <1456MHz, GDDR5-7972|
|Memory (Overclock)||16GB Adata DDR4-2400 CAS 16-16-16-38, O/C to DDR4-3000 CL 16-16-16-32, 1.25V||16GB G.Skill DDR3-1866 CAS 10-11-10-28, O/C to DDR3-2133 CL 11-12-11-24, 1.6V||8GB G.Skill DDR3-2133 CAS 9-11-10-28, O/C to DDR3-2400 CL 10-12-12-28, 1.6V|
|Motherboard (Overclock)||MSI X99 SLI Plus: LGA 2011-v3, Intel X99Stock 100MHz BCLK||Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 5: LGA 1150, Intel Z97 ExpressStock 100MHz BCLK||Biostar Hi-Fi Z97WE: LGA 1150, Intel Z97 ExpressStock 100MHz BCLK|
|Case||Corsair Graphite 230T||Corsair Graphite 230T||Thermaltake Chaser A31|
|CPU Cooler||Cooler Master Hyper 612 Ver.2||Corsair H100i Closed-Loop||Phanteks PH-TC14PE 140mm|
|Hard Drive||Crucial MX100 256GB SATA 6Gb/s SSD||Crucial MX100 256GB SATA 6Gb/s SSD||Plextor M6S PX-256M6S 256GB SATA 6Gb/s SSD|
|Power||Rosewill Capstone-750: 750W, 80 PLUS Gold||Rosewill Capstone-750: 750W, 80 PLUS Gold||Rosewill Capstone-750-M: 750W, 80 PLUS Gold|
|OS||Microsoft Windows 8 Pro x64||Microsoft Windows 8 Pro x64||Microsoft Windows 8 Pro x64|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce 347.25||Nvidia GeForce 347.25||Nvidia GeForce 344.75|
|Chipset||Intel INF 22.214.171.1246||Intel INF 126.96.36.1996||Intel INF 188.8.131.526|
3DMark shows a slight lead in today’s GeForce GTX 980-equipped machine compared to Q4’s, and that difference is probably in clock frequency. My original GeForce GTX 970 SLI PC outclasses both.
Sandra Arithmetic doesn’t show anything close to a 50% performance gain favoring the alternative build’s added CPU cores, but that’s probably because the processor is clocked over 20% slower. It looks far better in memory-intensive Encoding/Decoding cycles, and that’s probably because its quad-channel memory controller provides nearly twice the bandwidth.
Arma 3 appears to benefit from my alternative build’s extra memory bandwidth at low to medium resolutions, while Battlefield 4 punishes its single graphics card at all but its most rudimentary (and FPS-capped) settings.
This quarter's single-card alternative build and the Q4 machine perform poorly by high-end standards in Far Cry 3's Ultra-quality preset, becoming slightly choppy at 5760x1080. Grid 2 is slightly more forgiving, offering the alternative build a hand up at lower settings in exchange for added memory bandwidth.
Audio And Video Encoding
The alternative build’s lower clock rate hurts it slightly in single-threaded audio encoding, but it quietly demolishes its quad-core cousins in threaded video workloads. A similar scenario plays out in Adobe's Creative Suite, where only OpenCL-based Photoshop filters find parity between the two GeForce GTX 980-based machines.
Adobe Acrobat prefers the previous machine’s high-frequency quad-core chip, while our OpenCL-accelerated WinZip metric appears to like the SLI machine’s GeForce GTX 970s. Everything else from our productivity and compression suites get at least some boost from the alternative build’s extra CPU cores, and it runs rendering applications (3ds Max and Blender) exceptionally quickly.