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System Builder Marathon, December 2010: $500 PC

Test System Configuration And Benchmarks

$500 Gaming PC System Test Configuration
ComponentBase SettingsOverclock Setting
CPUAMD Athlon II X3 445 (Rana), 3.1 GHz, 1.3 V2000 MT/s HyperTransport Link, 2000 MT/s CPU-NB,No L3 Cache3.875 GHz (15.5 x 250 MHz), 1.4 V2000 MT/s HT Link, 2250 MT/s CPU-NB
CPU CoolerRosewill RCX-ZAIO-92Unchanged
MotherboardASRock M3A770DEAMD 770 / SB710, BIOS P1.60 (06/08/10)Unchanged
RAM4 GB Mushkin PC3-10600 kit 9965862 x 2048 MB, DDR3-1333, CL 9-9-9-24 1T at 1.5 VDDR3-1333, CL 9-9-9-24 1T at 1.5V
Graphics<br>Sparkle SXX460768D5UNM GeForce GTX 460 768 MB675/1350 MHz GPU/Shaders, 900 MHz (3600 MT/s) Memory823/1640 MHz GPU/Shaders, 1050 MHz (4200 MT/s) GDDR5 Memory
Hard DriveSamsung Spinpoint F4 HD322GJ/U320 GB, 7200 RPM, 16 MB CacheUnchanged
SoundIntegrated 7.1-Channel HD AudioUnchanged
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit NetworkingUnchanged
PowerAntec Earthwatts Green 380 WUnchanged
OpticalLite-On 24x DVD Burner SATA iHAS 124-04Unchanged
Software and Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 7 Ultimate Edition x64Unchanged
Graphics DriverNvidia 260.99 WHQLUnchanged
Platform DriverAMD All-in-1 Ver. 8.631_W7_logoUnchanged
Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark toolTest Set 1: High Quality, No AATest Set 2: Very High Quality, No AA
DiRT 2in-game benchmark, DX11Test Set 1: High Quality, No AATest Set 2: Ultra Quality, 8x AA
Call of Duty: Modern Warefare 2Campaign, Act III, Second Sun (45 sec. FRAPS)Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AATest Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x AA
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call Of PripyatCall Of Pripyat Benchmark versionTest Set 1: High Preset, DX11 EFDL, No AATest Set 2: Ultra Preset, DX11 EFDL, 4x MSAA
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunesVersion:9.0.2.25 x64Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 minDefault format AAC
HandBrake 0.9.4Version 0.9.4Convert first .vob file from The Last Samurai (1 GB) to .mp4, High Profile
TMPGEnc 4.0 XpressVersion: 4.7.3.292Import File: Terminator 2 SE DVD (5 Minutes)Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
DivX 6.9.1Encoding mode: Insane QualityEnhanced multithreading enabled using SSE4Quarter-pixel search
Xvid 1.2.2Display encoding status = off
MainConcept Reference 1.6.1MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264), MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2), Audio: MPEG2 (44.1 kHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 kbp/s), Mode: PAL (25 FPS)
Productivity
Autodesk 3ds Max 2010Version: 11.0 x64, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)
Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus 9.0Version: 9.0.663, Virus base: 270.14.1/2407, Benchmark: Scan 334 MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files
WinRAR 3.90Version x64 3.90, Dictionary = 4,096 KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)
7-ZipVersion 4.65: Format=Zip, Compression=Ultra, Method=Deflate, Dictionary Size=32 KB, Word Size=128, Threads=8, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)
Adobe Photoshop CS4Version 11.0 Extended (64-bit)Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates filters
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.0.2, GPU and CPU scores
PCMark VantageVersion: 1.0.1.0 x64, System, Productivity, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks
SiSoftware Sandra 2010Version 2010.1.16.11, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
  • LuckyDucky7
    And this is really the only PC build that will stay relevant come January- it will remain the only budget platform that can be overclocked, after all.

    Incidentally, this would be the only PC you'd want to contemplate building right now (since the new Core i3s don't come out immediately like the i5s and i7s do- and the Pentium G8XX series doesn't allow overclocking of its platform.)
    Reply
  • Tamz_msc
    Ah, much better than the previous build!
    Reply
  • Proximon
    Great job squeezing everything into a very small budget.
    Reply
  • adbat
    Good build - but again it would be good to see old spec on test system page.
    Reply
  • rohitbaran
    That is a great combination for that budget. Balanced.
    Reply
  • yyk71200
    I wouldn't be very comfortable using a 380 watt PSU for a long time for GTX 460 even if it is good quality. Perhaps, I would put in something of 450 watt or higher.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    LuckyDucky7And this is really the only PC build that will stay relevant come January- it will remain the only budget platform that can be overclocked, after all.Incidentally, this would be the only PC you'd want to contemplate building right now (since the new Core i3s don't come out immediately like the i5s and i7s do- and the Pentium G8XX series doesn't allow overclocking of its platform.)So you think there's going to be a replacement platform for the $2000 PC in January? That's not going to happen for a while. Or are you suggesting the next $2000 PC should be downgraded to P67?
    Reply
  • dragoon190
    I haven't been keeping up with the system marathon much, but what's the reasoning for choosing nVidia card over AMD's? Just wondering since I'm thinking about upgrading my computer soon.
    Reply
  • jj463rd
    A really nice build this time.However the price of the case and power supply has gone up in price over at newegg.I haven't checked the prices of the other components though.This build seems to perform quite well especially in the gaming benchmarks.Good job!
    Reply
  • tstng
    I would've gone with a 6850 instead of the 460. It's a tad cheaper, not at all slower if you don't start cranckin' up the tesselation, and should fit the 380W psu a lot better. But a solid build by all means.
    Reply