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System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: $1,000 Performance PC

Test Settings And Benchmarks

Test Hardware Configurations
Q1 2013 $1000 PCQ4 2012 $2000 PC
Processor (Overclock)Intel Core i5-3570K 3.40 GHz, Four Physical Cores O/C to 4.40 GHz, 1.28 VIntel Core i7-3770K 3.50 GHz, Four Physical Cores O/C to 4.40 GHz, 1.26 V
Graphics (Overclock)PowerColor 2GBD5-2DHPPV3E: 975 MHz GPU,  GDDR5-6000 O/C to 1,200 MHz GDDR5-64002 x MSI R7970-2PMD3GD5/OC: 1,010 MHz GPU,  GDDR5-5500 O/C to 1,125 MHz GDDR5-6300
Memory (Overclock)8 GB Crucial DDR3-1600 CAS 8-8-8-24, O/C at 1.50 V to DDR3-2133 CL 9-9-9-2416 GB G.Skill DDR3-1600 CAS 8-8-8-24, O/C at 1.60 V to DDR3-2133 CL 10-11-10-24
Motherboard (Overclock)ASRock Z77 Extreme4: LGA 1155, Intel Z77 Express Stock 100 MHz BCLKGigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H: LGA 1155, Intel Z77 Express Stock 100 MHz BCLK
OpticalLite-On iHAS124 24x DVD±RAsus BW-12B1ST 16x BD-R
CaseRosewill Redbone U3Cooler Master Storm Enforcer
CPU CoolerCooler Master Hyper 212 PlusCooler Master Hyper 212 Evo
Hard DriveMushkin Chronos Deluxe DX 240 GB, SATA 6Gb/s SSD
PowerAntec Neo Eco 520C: ATX12V v2.3, 80 PLUSCorsair HX750: ATX12V V2.3 80 PLUS Gold
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 8 Pro x64
GraphicsAMD Catalyst 13.1AMD Catalyst 12.10
ChipsetIntel INF 9.3.0.1026Intel INF 9.3.0.1020

The overclocks between this month’s Core i5 and our previous Core i7 builds are surprisingly similar, even though the previous build’s CPU was good enough to run 4.40 GHz at a lower voltage. The overclocking limit in our previous build appeared to be a hot voltage regulator, while the overclocking limit of today’s build appears to be nothing more than a builder too stubborn to use even slightly more than 1.30 V CPU core over the long term. We've seen too many chips die in the lab, unfortunately.

We dropped StarCraft II from the rest of this Marathon. But, lacking the previous build on which to run its replacement, I’ve given it an encore in today’s tests.

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Battlefield 3Campaign Mode, "Going Hunting" 90-Second Fraps Test Set 1: Medium Quality Defaults (No AA, 4x AF) Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Defaults (4x AA, 16x AF)
F1 2012Version 1.2, Direct X 11, Built-in Benchmark Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA Test Set 2: Ultra Quality, 8x MSAA
The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimUpdate 1.5.26, Celedon Aethirborn Level 6, 25-Second Fraps Test Set 1: DX11, High Details No AA, 8x AF, FXAA enabled Test Set 2: DX11, Ultra Details, 8x AA, 16x AF, FXAA enabled
StarCraft IIV1.5.1, "Tom's Hardware Guide V2" custom map, 60-Second Fraps Test Set 1: High Details, High Quality Test Set 2: Ultra Details, Extreme Quality
Adobe Creative Suite
Adobe After Effects CS6Version 11.0.0.378 x64: Create Video which includes three Streams, 210 Frames, Render Multiple Frames Simultaneosly
Adobe Photoshop CS6Version 13 x64: Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Adobe Premeire Pro CS6Version 6.0.0.0, 6.61 GB MXF Project to H.264 to H.264 Blu-ray, Output 1920x1080, Maximum Quality
Audio/Video Encoding
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)
HandBrake CLIVersion: 0.98: Video from Canon Eos 7D (1920x1080, 25 FPS) 1 Minutes 22 Seconds Audio: PCM-S16, 48,000 Hz, Two-Channel, to Video: AVC1 Audio: AAC (High Profile)
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, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV
Productivity
ABBYY FineReaderVersion 10.0.102.95: Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
Adobe Acrobat XVersion 10.0.0.396: Print PDF from 115 Page PowerPoint, 128-bit RC4 Encryption
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 Studio 2010Version 10.0, Compile Google Chrome, Scripted
File Compression
WinZipVersion 17.0 Pro: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to ZIP, command line switches "-a -ez -p -r"
WinRARVersion 4.2: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"
7-ZipVersion 9.28: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5"
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark 11Version: 1.0.1.0, Benchmark Only
PCMark 7Version: 1.0.4 x64, System, Productivity, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks
SiSoftware Sandra 2011Version Version 2013.01.19.11, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / Cryptography, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
  • samuelohagan
    Isn't this basically the same thing as the $800 pc but with an ssd?
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    The only thing i could have tried to change in this build was to get a 64GB SSD , get a 500GB HDD , and if i have any money left, try to get a HD7950.
    Otherwise, not much wriggle room here. Nice build!
    Reply
  • Chairman Ray
    I'm not sure if having an SSD without an HDD is an attractive option for most people. 240GB goes by pretty fast.
    Reply
  • samuelohagan
    I think they should have compared the benchmarks with Q4 $1000 pc.
    Reply
  • lightofhonor
    It actually plays Skyrim WORSE than the $800 build...
    Reply
  • dscudella
    It's the same PC as the $800 build except they just swapped out the HDD for an SSD. Dissappointing.
    Reply
  • where do you order your PC parts?
    Reply
  • Crashman
    mayankleoboy1The only thing i could have tried to change in this build was to get a 64GB SSD , get a 500GB HDD , and if i have any money left, try to get a HD7950.Otherwise, not much wriggle room here. Nice build!No point, We Like Our Games To Load Fast!!!Chairman RayI'm not sure if having an SSD without an HDD is an attractive option for most people. 240GB goes by pretty fast.Programs can eat most of a 240GB drive up. In fact, I just shrunk a copy of the test suite, with OS and games, to 132 GB.

    Using the drive performance measurement to reflect program load times means loading all the programs on the SSD. And that explains why SSD capacity wasn't sacrificed to make more room in the budget for an HDD.
    lightofhonorIt actually plays Skyrim WORSE than the $800 build...Nobody knows why, but the $800 PC did use a newer GPU driver.dscudellaIt's the same PC as the $800 build except they just swapped out the HDD for an SSD. Dissappointing.So it's going to lose the Day 4 Value Roundup, right?
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    dscudellaIt's the same PC as the $800 build except they just swapped out the HDD for an SSD. Dissappointing.
    Looking from another perspective, these two builds, with two different builders, with $200 difference, just show(again) how much better price/performance wise are Intel CPU's and AMD GPU's.
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    CrashmanNo point, We Like Our Games To Load Fast!!!
    I see your point, but I'd rather see slower game loads and better FPS , than faster game loads and lower FPS. And, the OS is accelerated in both cases anyway.
    Reply