System Builder Marathon, Q4 2012: $2,000 Performance PC

Benchmark Results: Productivity

Just when we thought this quarter's Core i7-3770K might not get embarrassed too badly in our well-threaded benchmarks, Photoshop and 3ds Max remind us why we like to experiment with processors built on Intel's Sandy Bridge-E architecture.

Adobe's app appears to benefit most from the added cores, while 3ds Max is a little more rewarding of Ivy Bridge's IPC throughput improvements (though not enough to let it overtake the Core i7-3930K's raw compute muscle).

None of our file compression software appears capable of using more than the Core i7-3770K's four cores. Clock rate reigns supreme, with last quarter's higher overclock leading the way.

Now, bear in mind that we purposely try to maintain a common benchmark suite through the System Builder Marathon in order to facilitate comparisons from one month to the next. This quarter, we updated that suite to include newer versions of all of these tests, which better-utilize available resources. You'll see those results in our Day 4 comparison. For now, though, old software versions help explain why the Core i7-3930K isn't being used to its full potential.

The ABBYY FineReader results are a little harder to figure out, appearing to favor extra cores only part of the time. The Q3 system’s non-overclocked performance might have been worsened by its use of Intel's RSTe storage driver, and a higher score at that setting would have eliminated our head-scratching.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • Novuake
    Yeah, should have gone for an ASRock board at the same price point...
  • Crashman
    NovuakeYeah, should have gone for an ASRock board at the same price point...Maybe, maybe not, motherboard market has changed a little since the parts were bought and I've since seen some D5-series Gigabyte boards (with their better PWM) drop to $ least temporarily.
  • mayankleoboy1
    Too much of cheap CPU coolers
  • For the next SBM build, use the "SAMSUNG 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) MV-3V4G3D/US". People are posting low timings with very high frequencies. Plus it is low profile (half the size of every other non-heatsink memory modules on the market) and operates at 1.35v (overvolt it to 1.65v without worry).
  • kj3639
    After building that awful piledriver rig you go ahead and do something like this... and totally REDEEM YOURSELVES!!!

    -Good Job
  • herooftimex
    Suggested changes:

    Core i5 3570k - savings of $120
    2x - MSI N670 PE 2GD5/OC - $800 (gtx 670 OC'd to 1019 core clock)

    Rosewill FORTRESS-750 - $140 (80 plus platinum + 7 year limited warranty)
    LIAN LI PC-7B plus II - $100 (gamer cases look tacky, less is more)
    I think Toms needs a new article: "The Dream Build" with gaming in mind.
  • Darkerson
    kj3639After building that awful piledriver rig you go ahead and do something like this... and totally REDEEM YOURSELVES!!!-Good JobThey really had nothing to redeem themselves about. They went with something a little different, just to try it out. Id rather they go off the beaten path so we can get a better idea of how these builds would turn out without having to buy and build them ourselves.
    Also, if they didnt try something different, they would almost always be cookie-cutter builds until the next big thing came out. No thanks!
    At any rate, this is a really nice build. Have to say, though, I would be happy to win any of these.
  • C12Friedman
    My first thought, I kept going back to it also, was the motherboard, why? I kept going 2nd page, 1st page, 2nd page, back to first page, confusion reigned in my head. Took me a while to get past the second page. But since it was addressed at the end of the article, I guess it's known.
  • One think to consider are both Q3 and Q4 systems future proof. It's important for games and serious task to be able to extend life of your PC and Q4 in this category is certainly penny wise but pound foolish.