System Builder Marathon, March 2011: $500 Gaming PC

Benchmark Results: Synthetics

The bigger picture is somewhat obscured by charting only the total 3DMark scores. The March PC easily takes the Entry and Performance presets thanks to far higher Physics scores favoring the Phenom II X4 processor. But more successful graphics overclocking allows the December rig to record the higher Graphics score, resulting in the close overall Extreme preset results.

This quarter's $500 PC manages to secure narrow victories in much of our synthetic testing. Sporting the same motherboard and hard drive, these systems facilitate unimpressive storage performance, unfortunately.

Breaking down the individual HDD tests shows similar theoretical hard drive performance, aside from noticeably lower Media Center scores for the current PC.

We made a switch to Sandra 2011 this month, but results should still be comparable with our December 2010 data. The extra processing core more than makes up for a lower operating frequency, as the March PC leads in both stock and overclocked trims.

We should have seen a clean sweep in the Processor Multimedia test as well. But despite multiple runs and re-installing the application, the Int. x16 iSSE2 score is less than 40% of what we'd expect.

Although the current PC utilizes the same motherboard, as well as the same memory frequency and timings, its Phenom II processor delivers slightly higher memory bandwidth.

  • tacoslave
    i think orange looks spiffy
  • abswindows7
    worst case in the world.
  • LuckyDucky7
    "I’ll certainly entertain the possibility of Intel’s newly-available Core i3-2100 for the next SBM."

    Have fun overclocking that rig!

    I'd choose my O/C'd i3-530 @ 3.75 GHz (stock, air-cooled) over any of the new Sandy Bridge offerings any day.
    The 2100 just cannot compete with that- it's marginally better than a first-gen i3, and it cannot be pushed harder.

    *Hopes Bulldozer will be ready by that time*
  • wolfram23
    Pretty darn good for $500!
  • Judguh
    Good Build!
  • hmp_goose
    Need the optical drive?
  • haplo602
    now finaly a low SBM build I like.

    ++ on the PSU (finaly not a 500W+ waste)
    + on the case (looks decent)
  • lunyone
    Pretty good build for the $. I would've gone with the Athlon x4 or x3 to keep things under budget, but that is just me. There are plenty of GPU options in the ~$170 price range. I think you might've got one of "those" GPU's that you read about. This is why "expecting" OC'ing abilities with whatever part you buy, shouldn't be taken for granted. Buy what you can afford and if you get a good OC on your parts, feel blessed:)
  • lunyone
    I would've taken the savings on the CPU and bought better RAM or maybe even a different case, but that is just nit picking a bit :)
  • one-shot
    Would someone please explain the point of comparing the old SBM to the new one if there isn't a list of the parts from the SBM done in the past? These have always been annoying when the reader is forced to look back to December for a detailed list of parts. This has been practiced for years here. It makes no sense comparing to something the reader has no idea as to the parts being used in the past. Seriously....

    Edit: Why Did I get a Minus one the second after my post was submitted?