Page 1:Changing Focus For A Look At Processor Performance
Page 2:CPU, Motherboard And Cooler
Page 3:Graphics Card, Power Supply And Case
Page 4:Memory, Hard Drives And Optical Storage
Page 5:Building And Overclocking
Page 6:How We Tested
Page 7:Results: Synthetics
Page 8:Results: Media Transcoding
Page 9:Results: Rendering And Productivity
Page 10:Results: Adobe Creative Cloud
Page 11:Results: Compression Tools
Page 12:Results: Battlefield 4 And Arma 3
Page 13:Results: Grid 2 And Far Cry 3
Page 14:Power And Temperature
Page 15:Q3 2014 Mainstream Enthusiast PC Under $1300 Verdict
CPU, Motherboard And Cooler
CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K
The new Devil's Canyon-based Core i5-4690K essentially replaces the Core i5-4670K that we selected for the mid-range enthusiast build in our last SBM machine. To be honest, the -4690K isn't a colossal upgrade compared to its predecessor, offering a mere 100 MHz clock rate jump and better thermal interface material under the heat spreader.
Then again, when you're after a peak overclock, every little bit counts. Hopefully, Intel's enhancements allow the -4690K to differentiate itself from the first-generation Haswell-based quad-core processor it displaces. We paid $240 for that chip last quarter, and the same amount this time around.
In most of our testing, we've seen the Core i5-4670K top out in the 4.3 GHz range after small voltage increases and multiplier adjustments. I'm willing to get a little more involved than that to push the Core i5-4690K further.
Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer
With a significant share of the budget dedicated to the CPU cooler and RAM, I also needed a motherboard that'd help complement my overclocking effort. ASRock's Fatal1ty Z97 Killer might be just what I need.
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14
Noctua has an excellent reputation as a manufacturer of premium CPU coolers, and its NH-D14 exemplifies why. Sporting two 120 mm fans and capable of rivaling many closed-loop liquid cooling systems, this is a popular choice for fans of big air.
Of course, the $79 price tag is somewhat daunting, and my pictures do not fully convey the heat sink's immense bulk. But then again, nobody said optimizing performance was cheap or easy.
- Changing Focus For A Look At Processor Performance
- CPU, Motherboard And Cooler
- Graphics Card, Power Supply And Case
- Memory, Hard Drives And Optical Storage
- Building And Overclocking
- How We Tested
- Results: Synthetics
- Results: Media Transcoding
- Results: Rendering And Productivity
- Results: Adobe Creative Cloud
- Results: Compression Tools
- Results: Battlefield 4 And Arma 3
- Results: Grid 2 And Far Cry 3
- Power And Temperature
- Q3 2014 Mainstream Enthusiast PC Under $1300 Verdict