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System Builder Marathon Q3 2014: Mainstream Enthusiast PC

How We Tested

The following tables include the stock and overclocked settings for this quarter's mainstream enthusiast system, followed by the configuration we put together earlier this year, which serves as our comparison point.

At the very bottom, you’ll find the programs and games used for benchmarking.

Q3 2014 Enthusiast PC Test Settings: $1006 of Performance Hardware
Default ConfigurationOverclocked
MotherboardASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer, LGA 1150, Intel Z97 ExpressUnchanged
ProcessorIntel Core i5-4690K (Haswell): 3.5 GHz (3.9 GHz max. Turbo Boost), 6 MB Shared L3 Cache4.6 GHz (46 * 100 MHz), 1.335 V (Load)
Memory8 GB G.Skill Trident (2 x 4 GB) F3-2400C10D-8GTD, 1600 MT/s, CAS 11-11-11-28 1T2400 MT/s, 10-12-12-31 2T, 1.65 V
GraphicsZotac AMP! Superclocked GeForce GTX 770 2 GB, 1150/1202 MHz base/typical GPU Boost, GDDR5-7200+30 MHz GPU, GDDR5-7800
System DriveAdata Premier Pro SP920 128 GB SATA 6Gb/s SSDUnchanged
Storage DriveWD Blue WD10EZEX 1 TB, 7200 RPM, 64 MB Cache, SATA 6Gb/sUnchanged
OpticalAsus DRW-24B1ST OEM DVD BurnerUnchanged
CaseCooler Master HAF XM Computer CaseUnchanged
PowerIn Win GreenMe 650 W 80 PLUS Bronze PSUUnchanged
Q2 2014 Enthusiast PC Test Settings: $986 of Performance Hardware
Default ConfigurationOverclocked
MotherboardASRock Z97 Pro3 LGA 1150, Intel Z97 ExpressUnchanged
ProcessorIntel Core i5-4670K (Haswell): 3.4 GHz (3.8 GHz max. Turbo Boost), 6 MB Shared L3 Cache4.3 GHz (43 * 100 MHz), 1.285 V (Load)
Memory8 GB Team Group Vulcan (2 x 4 GB) TLYD38G1600HC9DC01, 1333 MT/s, CAS 9-9-9-24-1T1600 MT/s, 9-9-9-24-2T, 1.5 V
GraphicsPowerColor TurboDuo Radeon R9 290 4 GB, 975 MHz max. core clock rate, GDDR5-50001100 MHz max. core clock rate, GDDR5-5600
HardDriveWD Blue WD10EZEX 1 TB, 7200 RPM, 64 MB Cache, SATA 6Gb/sUnchanged
OpticalLG GH24NSB0: DVD BurnerUnchanged
CaseApevia X-Hermes Computer CaseUnchanged
PowerCorsair CX750 750 W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Bronze-Certified PSUUnchanged

And here are the benchmark details:

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Arma 3V. 1.20 Current PC, V.1.08 Q1 PC 30-sec. Fraps "Infantry Showcase" Test Set 1: Standard Preset, No AA, Standard AF Test Set 2: Ultra Preset, 8x FSAA, Ultra AF
Battlefield 4Version 1.0.0.1, DirectX 11, 100-sec. Fraps "Tashgar" Test Set 1: Medium Quality Preset, No AA, 4x AF, SSAO Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 4x MSAA, 16x AF, HBAO
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 AMD/ HBAO NVidia
Grid 2Version 1.0.85.8679, Direct X 11, Built-in Benchmark Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA Test Set 2: Ultra Quality, 8x MSAA
Audio/Video Encoding
HandBrake CLIVersion: 0.99, 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 11.0.4.4 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, MPEG2 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
Adobe Creative Suite
Adobe After Effects CCVersion 12.0.0.404: Create Video, 3 Streams, 210 Frames, Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously
Adobe Photoshop CCVersion 14 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 XIVersion 11.0.0: 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 2013Version 15.0 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, 248 Frames, 1440x1080
BlenderVersion 2.68a, 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 9.30 alpha, LZMA2, Syntax "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5" Benchmark: THG-Workload-2012 (1.3 GB)
WinRARVersion 5.0, RAR, Syntax "winrar a -r -m3" Benchmark: THG-Workload-2012 (1.3 GB)
WinZipVersion 18.0 Pro, Syntax "-a -ez -p -r" Benchmark: THG-Workload-2012 (1.3 GB)
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark ProfessionalVersion: 1.2.250.0, Fire Strike Standard and Extreme
PCMark 8Version: 1.0.0 x64 Full Test
SiSoftware Sandra 2014Version: 2014.02.20.10, Processor Arithmetic, Cryptography, Memory Bandwidth Benchmarks
  • gamebrigada
    Not sure why you would go with AsRock... I've seen so many failed motherboards from them after a few months of use... Friend of mine is on his 4th swap from them, and is beyond tired of swapping with them, the current one at least has issues that he can work around... with a usb to ethernet adapter....
    Reply
  • mlga91
    Personally, i'd get a cheaper case and put a 970 on there, looks for the cost of performance doesn't seems too wise for me.
    Reply
  • DynamoNED
    14242198 said:
    Personally, i'd get a cheaper case and put a 970 on there, looks for the cost of performance doesn't seems too wise for me.

    While I'd agree on the cheaper case, the 970 wasn't an option since they hadn't been released when they were buying parts for this quarter's SBM.

    From Page 3 of the article: "The GeForce GTX 970 launched last week wasn't available (or even public information) back when we ordered the pieces for this build. So, I needed something cheaper than the Radeon R9 290 that wouldn't sacrifice gaming performance. Under $300, the best option was Nvidia's GeForce GTX 770."

    Obviously, today the 970 would be a much better choice, but that option didn't exist when this build was purchased.
    Reply
  • realibrad
    @ mlga91

    Good job. There is always that guy who does not read the article when it explains why the brand new card was not used, because it was not an option at the time of the review.

    So congrats on being that guy this time. It only took 3 posts to get there.
    Reply
  • de5_Roy
    an ssd and a cm haf case in this build. that should prevent the rages, gasps and disapproving gazes from the last quarter. ;) really though, a o.c. oriented pc should have parts built for speed and this pc has them.

    on the last page:
    When price vs. performance is compared, the new build doesn't look as attractive as the Q3 enthusiast system.
    may be you meant the Q2 enthusiast system. imo, yea, the q3 build doesn't seem as attractive as the q2 one. i think that one could add the ssd from this build and still be the better pc.

    i wonder if you guys would build an fx8350/8320 pc as an alternative build at this price range for the ongoing overclocking theme.
    Reply
  • Onus
    The PSU received a Golden Award at HardwareSecrets, and it did mostly well on other sites as well, although at least three noted the presence of Samxon capacitors. They don't appear to be "GF" series though, which supposedly are the really bad ones.
    I'd like to know more about the thickness / flexibility of the ASRock mobo. Otherwise, I don't think I have any niggles over performance-related parts.
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    14242123 said:
    Not sure why you would go with AsRock... I've seen so many failed motherboards from them after a few months of use... Friend of mine is on his 4th swap from them, and is beyond tired of swapping with them, the current one at least has issues that he can work around... with a usb to ethernet adapter....

    I've never had any problems with Asrock and I'm on my second Asrock board.
    Reply
  • Onus
    Although some of them are thin and uncomfortably flexible, I've also not had any ASRock mobos die on me, except one likely killed by heat. I have read mixed comments on them, although most reviews tend to be positive.
    Reply
  • Formata
    Yes!!! The hacksaw came out on the RAM! Now your building old skool!
    Reply
  • CaptainTom
    770 stand up to a 290?! You can overclock all you want buddy.
    Reply