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System Builder Marathon, Q2 2013: $650 Gaming PC

Test System And Benchmarks

Test System And Benchmarks

Current $650 PC System Test Configuration
ComponentBase SettingsOverclock Setting
CPUIntel Core i3-3220 (Ivy Bridge), 3.3 GHz, LGA 1155, 3 MB Shared L3, power savings enabledUnchanged
CPU CoolerIntel Boxed Heat Sink and FanUnchanged
MotherboardASRock B75M-ITX Intel B75, BIOS P1.60 UFI (11-19-2012)Unchanged
RAM4 GB (2 x 2 GB) Crucial DDR3-1600 KitCL 8-8-8-24 2N at 1.5 VDDR3-1600, CL 8-8-8-24 1N at 1.5 V
GraphicsPowerColor PCS+ AX7870 Myst Edition 2 GB GDDR5 925 MHz (975 Boost) GPU, 1500 MHz (6000 MT/s) Memory1100 MHz GPU 1500 MHz (6000 MT/s) GDDR5 Memory
Hard DriveWestern Digital WD Blue WD5000AAKX 500 GB, 7200 RPM, 16 MB CacheUnchanged
SoundIntegrated Eight-Channel HD AudioUnchanged
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit NetworkingUnchanged
PowerCorsair Builder Series CX500 500 W ATX12V v2.3Unchanged
OpticalnoneUnchanged
Software and Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 8 Professional x64Unchanged
Graphics DriverAMD Catalyst 13.4Unchanged
Platform DriverIntel 7-series INF 9.3.1025Unchanged
Q1 2013 $600 Gaming PC System Test Configuration
ComponentBase SettingsOverclock Setting
CPUIntel Core i5-3350P (Ivy Bridge), 3.1 GHz (3.3 GHz Turbo), LGA 1155, 6 MB Shared L3, power savings enabled3.5 GHz (3.7 GHz Turbo)
CPU CoolerIntel Boxed Heat Sink and FanUnchanged
MotherboardASRock Z75 Pro3 Intel Z75, BIOS P1.50 UFI (09-21-2012)Unchanged
RAM4 GB (2 x 2 GB) G.Skill DDR3-1600 Kit CL 9-9-9-24 1T at 1.5 VDDR3-1866, CL 9-9-9-24 1T at 1.6 V
GraphicsHIS Radeon HD 7850 1 GB H785F1G2M 860 MHz GPU, 1200 MHz (4800 MT/s) Memory1220 MHz GPU @ 1.200 V 1200 MHz (4800 MT/s) GDDR5 Memory
Hard DriveSeagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500 GB, 7200 RPM, 16 MB CacheUnchanged
SoundIntegrated Eight-Channel HD AudioUnchanged
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit NetworkingUnchanged
PowerAntec Neo Eco 400C 400WUnchanged
OpticalSamsung DVD Burner 24x SATA Model SH-224BB/RSBSUnchanged
Software and Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 8 Professional x64Unchanged
Graphics DriverAMD Catalyst 13.1 + 12.11 CAP 2Unchanged
Platform DriverIntel 7-series INF 9.3.1025Unchanged
Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Battlefield 3Version 1.0.0.0, DirectX 11, 90-sec. Fraps "Going Hunting" Test Set 1: Medium Quality Preset, No AA, 4X AF, SSAO Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset,  4X MSAA, 16X AF, HBAO
The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimVersion 1.8.151.0.7, 25-Sec. Fraps Test Set 1: High Preset, No AA, 8x AF, FXAA Enabled Test Set 2: Ultra Preset, 8x AA, 16x AF, FXAA Enabled
Far Cry 3V. 1.04, DirectX 11, 50-sec. Fraps "Amanaki Outpost" Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA, Standard ATC., SSAO Test Set 2: Ultra Quality, 4x MSAA, Enhanced ATC, HDAO
F1 2012Version 1.2, Direct X 11, Built-in Benchmark Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA Test Set 2: Ultra Quality, 8x AA
Audio/Video Encoding
HandBrake CLIVersion: 0.98, Video: Video from Canon Eos 7D (1920x1080, 25 frames) 1 Minutes 22 Seconds, Audio: PCM-S16, 48,000 Hz, Two-Channel, to Video: AVC1 Audio: AAC (High Profile)
iTunesVersion 10.4.1.10 x64: Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 minutes, default AAC format
Lame MP3Version 3.98.3: Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min, convert WAV to MP3 audio format, Command: -b 160 --nores (160 Kb/s)
TotalCode Studio 2.5Version: 2.5.0.10677, MPEG2 to H.264, MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2), Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, Two-Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s) Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV
Abobe Creative Suite
Adobe After Effects CS6Version 11.0.0.378 x64: Create Video, Three Streams, 210 Frames, Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously
Adobe Photoshop CS6Version 13 x64: Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Adobe Premier Pro CS6Version 6.0.0.0, 6.61GB MXF Project to H.264 to H.264 Blu-ray, Output 1920x1080, Maximum Quality
Adobe Acrobat X ProVersion 10.0.0.396: Print PDF from 115 Page PowerPoint, 128-bit RC4 Encyption
Productivity
ABBYY FineReaderVersion 10.0.102.95: Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
Autodesk 3ds Max 2012Version 14.0 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, 248 Frames, 1440x1080
BlenderVersion 2.64a, Cycles Engine, Syntax blender -b thg.blend -f 1, 1920x1080, 8x Anti-Aliasing, Render THG.blend frame 1
Visual StudioVersion 10.0, Compile Google Chrome, Scripted
Compression
7-ZipVersion 9.28, LZMA2, Syntax "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5" Benchmark: THG-Workload-2012 (1.3 GB)
WinRARVersion 4.2, RAR, Syntax "winrar a -r -m3" Benchmark: THG-Workload-2012 (1.3 GB)
WinZipVersion 17.0 Pro, Syntax "-a -ez -p -r" Benchmark: THG-Workload-2012 (1.3 GB)
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark 11Version: 1.0.3, Performance Suite
PCMark 7Version: 1.0.4, System, Productivity, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks
SiSoftware Sandra 2013Version: 2013.01.19.11, Processor  Arithmetic, Cryptography, Memory Bandwidth Benchmarks
  • Madn3ss795
    Just 1 question: Why not a 4gb ram stick instead? That board only has 2 RAM slots, so wouldn't it be better to use just one and save another for upgrading later?
    Reply
  • nokiddingboss
    a great starting build at a very reasonable cost. it was a good read mate. gotta <3 the 7870xt for gaming. best bang for the buck. if only the i5's are a little cheaper... next quarter perhaps?
    Reply
  • sbudbud
    10984766 said:
    Just 1 question: Why not a 4gb ram stick instead? That board only has 2 RAM slots, so wouldn't it be better to use just one and save another for upgrading later?
    I think this is for performance reasons, dual channel memory beats single channel in performance but more memory is better. I guess the reason is that 4gb is the sweet spot in terms of what is recommended and that going single channel 4gb for future upgrade to 8gb dual channel will has diminishing returns..
    Reply
  • thasan1
    ahh finally, i was wondering what happened to system builder marathon..
    Reply
  • thasan1
    but why mini ITX rigs?
    Reply
  • sarinaide
    $650 called budget, clearly my definition and the going opinion is far from budget, with it possible to build a ATX Intel or AMD system for a little extra but a lot more performance. I did see the Day5 $400 Ultimate Purist M-ATX, this I gotta see, my guess is another Intel build.
    Reply
  • jestersage
    Thank you for acceding to reader requests for an itx based SBM!

    I have similar preferences as the author when it comes to what I'd change here... a step down in graphics, a step up in CPU performance and bring up RAM to 8gb. I'm not very concerned about noise. I almost always put on a headset when I game.
    Reply
  • MuadDibTM
    Great job on the build and the article. Would have liked a noise comparison as well. Just so we'd know what we're talking about when going for a mini-ITX build.
    Reply
  • bigshootr8
    Yea I'm a bit confused why you wouldn't go down to a 7850 2 gigabyte model and then spend the extra money on 8 gigabytes of memory instead ><
    Reply
  • ARICH5
    jeez, it sounds like your face-palming yourself for getting the i3 through this whole article.
    Reply