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System Builder Marathon, Q3 2013: $650 Gaming PC

Test System Configuration And Benchmarks

Test System Configuration

What follows is a comparison of this quarter's stock and overclocked builds next to last quarter's vital specifications. We also have all of the benchmark settings listed for our information.

Current $650 PC System Test Configuration
ComponentBase SettingsOverclock Setting
CPUAMD FX-6300 (Vishera), 3.5 GHz (4.1 GHz Turbo), AM3+, 8 MB Shared L3, Turbo Core enabled, power savings enabled4.0 GHz (20*200), stock 1.2625 V VID, Turbo Core disabled, Power Saving disabled
CPU CoolerAMD retail boxed heatsink & fanUnchanged
MotherboardMSI 970A-G43 AMD 970/SB950, BIOS: v.10.2 (02-04-13)Unchanged
RAM8 GB  Kingston HyperX DDR3-1600 kit, 2 x 4 GB, CL 9-9-9-27 XMP at 1.650 VDDR3-1866, CL 9-10-10-28 1T at 1.65 V
GraphicsEVGA GeForce GTX 760 02G-P4-2760-KR 2 GB GDDR5 980 MHz (1033 Boost, 1110 Max Boost) GPU, 1502 MHz (6008 MT/s) Memory1254 MHz (Max Boost) GPU, 1801 MHz (7204 MT/s) GDDR5 Memory (110% Power, +150 MHz GPU, +600 MHz Memory, Auto Fan)
Hard DriveWD Blue WD10EZEX 1 TB, 7200 RPM, 64 MB CacheUnchanged
SoundIntegrated Eight-Channel HD AudioUnchanged
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit NetworkingUnchanged
PowerAntec VP-450 450 W ATX12V v2.3Unchanged
OpticalSamsung 24x DVD Burner SATA Model SH-224DB/RSBSUnchanged
Software and Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 8 Professional x64Unchanged
Graphics DriverNvidia GeForce 320.49 WHQLUnchanged
Q2 2013 $650 Gaming 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 retail boxed heatsink & fanUnchanged
MotherboardASRock B75M-ITX Intel B75, BIOS P1.60 UFI (11-19-2012)Unchanged
RAM4 GB Crucial DDR3-1600 kit, 2 x 2 GB, CL 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 DriveWD 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
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 retail boxed heatsink & fanUnchanged
MotherboardASRock Z75 Pro3 Intel Z75, BIOS P1.50 UFI (09-21-2012)Unchanged
RAM4 GB G.Skill DDR3-1600 kit, 2 x 2 GB, 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 400 WUnchanged
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
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 1.9.32.08, 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. 1.05, 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, MPEG-2 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, 3 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 Premiere Pro CS6Version 6.0.0.0, 6.61 GB 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
  • Darkerson
    Not a bad little entry system. Im sure it will get picked apart here in the comments soon, but for the price, its not that bad at all.
    Reply
  • iam2thecrowe
    I think this time you chose the perfect balance of cpu and gpu at this price point. The Athlon 750k is far too weak, please don't use it next month, even an fx41xx or 43xx would be a better choice. The Haswell i3 would be interesting as we might be able to get some overclocking wby increasing base clock strap settings
    Reply
  • Onus
    It looked great until I saw the mobo, then I thought "oops..."
    Based on http://www.overclock.net/a/about-vrms-mosfets-motherboard-safety-with-high-tdp-processors and https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AgN1D79Joo7tdE9xMUFlMEVWeFhuckJEVF9aMmtpUFE&gid=0 I would have gone with http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813138372 instead; it has a heatsink on its VRMs, and it currently offers free shipping and is $2 less (it's been that way for a while now; I've had my eye on it for recommendations). I'm concerned that the cheap MSI will pop in the middle of a long gaming session. Did you by chance point an IR thermometer at its VRMs during your testing?
    Otherwise, it's nice to see the FX-6300 get a workout in which it performs in the same ballpark as its competition, maybe a little less "raw," but with higher bang/buck.
    Reply
  • noob2222
    its crazy how fast memory prices change, that kingston kit is now $84 and the team vulcan 2133 and 2400 are <60.
    Reply
  • designasaurus
    I'd be interested in seeing an FX 8-core more than the FM2 Athlons. In general though, it would be nice to see an AMD processor in these quarterly builds more regularly. I know you guys treat it as a competition, but, for readers like me, it's more informative to see how the competition shapes up rather than seeing 5% boosts from the latest Ivy-to-Haswell iteration. The higher budget guys are pretty much exclusively using Intel these days (I'll get my Haswell comparisons there), so your lower budget builds are the only place to reasonably see how a good AMD build stacks up. FX-6300 is definitely the best value AMD processor though, so it's going to be tough for you to beat this if you go up or down in cpu budget to get the Athlon or octocore.
    Reply
  • Novuake
    Yeah, I would not touch that board...
    Reply
  • m32
    I would have to put an fan over the VRMs to feel safe. That is just me. designasaurus, nice read and I agree.
    Reply
  • ingtar33
    nice build. though i probably would have went with a 7950, and took the $50 saved to get a cpu cooler like the hyper evo 212, and a better overclocking motherboard like the m5a97 R2.0... you probably would have been able to give that fx a bit better of a chance to hit mid to high 4s on the overclock then. if you can get a 6300 up around 4.7-4.9 (obviously not all of them can get there) you can pace an i5 pretty easily... so spending a little on the board and cpu cooler is a good option.

    the 8 core 8320 is getting pretty cheap. the problem is in order to unleash that type of power you're probably going to NEED to go with a hefty cpu cooler and hefty overclocking board. so for the future i suggest you keep with the fx 6300 unless the prices on the 8320 come down a little more.
    Reply
  • Lee Yong Quan
    would love to see how well does the $350 pc compare with the Q2 $400 PC! then i would know how well my pc would perform when gta 5 is out!
    Reply
  • bemused_fred
    Why is everyone saying "go with the HD 7950" when they clearly said in the article that it only became cheaper after they finished the build?
    "AMD's Radeon HD 7950 now sells for even less. But at the time we picked our parts, the GeForce GTX 760 was more affordable."

    Honestly, read the article before commenting!
    Reply