System Builder Marathon, March 2011: $500 Gaming PC

Power Consumption And Temperatures

Both of these systems rely on an Antec EA380D power supply, and are tested stock with power-saving features enabled. During our overclocking efforts, Cool’n’Quiet was disabled and the CPU fan's minimum target speeds was increased.

Loading all CPU and GPU cores with FurMark and Prime95 gives us a good look at the maximum potential power draw these systems could face.

Undervolting facilitates a 600 MHz core speed increase with only a 7 W hit to power consumption at full CPU load. Factor in a disappointing graphics overclock, and peak system load only jumps 15 W.

Estimating roughly 82% efficiency, peak output draw during full CPU/GPU load converts to roughly 250 W, overclocked, down from the previous machine's 280 W.

We used the ASRock M3A770DE’s socket sensor for the CPU, charting peak temperatures above ambient.

Undervolting and bumping up the minimum idle RPM of the CPU fan helped keep the overclocked socket temperatures within one degree of the somewhat-high stock temps. December’s overclock may have pushed higher voltage and consumed more energy, but more effective cooling also kept temperatures far lower.

  • 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?