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System Builder Marathon, Q3 2013: $350 Bonus Entry-Level PC

Test System Configuration And Benchmarks

Test System Configuration

What follows is a comparison of this quarter's stock and overclocked builds next to last quarter's vital specifications. We also have all of the benchmark settings listed for our information.

Current $350 PC System Test Configuration
ComponentBase SettingsOverclock Setting
CPUAMD A10-5800K (Trinity), 3.8 GHz (4.2 GHz Turbo), Socket FM2, 4 MB L2, Turbo Core Enabled, Power Savings Enabled#1 (OC Genie II): 3.99 GHz Base / 4.41 GHz Turbo Core (38-42 * 105) #2 - #4 Unchanged
CPU CoolerAMD Retail Boxed Heatsink & FanUnchanged
MotherboardMSI FM2-A75MA-E35 AMD A75, BIOS: v.2.0 (04-25-13)#1: 105 MHz Reference Clock #2 - #4: Unchanged
RAM8 GB  Team Vulcan, 2 x 4 GB, DDR3-1600, CL 9-9-9-24 XMP @ 1.5 V#1: DDR3-1680, CL 9-9-9-24 #2 & #3: DDR3-1866, CL 9-10-10-29 #4: DDR3-2133, CL 11-13-13-37
GraphicsAMD HD 7660D Integrated 800 MHz GPU, 800 MHz Memory#1: 840 MHz GPU, 840 MHz Memory #2: Unchanged #3: 950 MHz GPU, 933 MHz Memory #4: 950 MHz GPU, 1066 MHz Memory
Hard DriveWD Blue WD10EZEX 1 TB, 7200 RPM, 16 MB CacheUnchanged
SoundIntegrated Eight-Channel HD AudioUnchanged
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit NetworkingUnchanged
PowerAntec VP-450 450 W ATX12V v2.3Unchanged
OpticalNoneUnchanged
Software and Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 8 Professional (64-bit)Unchanged
Graphics DriverAMD Catalyst 13.4Unchanged
Q2 2013 $400 Mini-ITX PC System Test Configuration
ComponentBase SettingsOverclock Setting
CPUIntel Pentium G860 (Sandy Bridge), 3.0GHz, LGA 1155, 3 MB Shared L3, Power Savings EnabledUnchanged
CPU CoolerIntel Boxed Heat Sink & FanUnchanged
MotherboardFoxconn H61S Intel H61, BIOS C31F1P02 (07/18/12)Unchanged
RAM4 GB  Crucial Kit, 2 x 2 GB, DDR3-1333, CL 9-9-9-24 1T @ 1.5 VDDR3-1333, CL 7-7-7-24 1T @ 1.5 V
GraphicsSapphire 100357LP, Radeon HD 7750 1 GB GDDR5 800 MHz GPU, 1125 MHz (4500 MT/s) Memory925 MHz GPU 1225 MHz (4900 MT/s) GDDR5 Memory
Hard DriveSamsung Spinpoint M8 ST320LM001 320 GB, 5400 RPM, 8 MB Cache SATA 3Gb/sUnchanged
SoundIntegrated Six-Channel HD AudioUnchanged
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit NetworkingUnchanged
PowerAntec FP-150-8 Flex Power supplyUnchanged
OpticalNoneUnchanged
Software and Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 8 Professional x64Unchanged
Graphics DriverAMD Catalyst 13.4Unchanged
Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Battlefield 3Version 1.0.0.0, DirectX 11, 90-sec. Fraps "Going Hunting" Test Set 1: Medium Quality Preset, No AA, 4X AF, SSAO Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset,  4X MSAA, 16X AF, HBAO
Elders Scroll V: SkyrimVersion 1.9.32.08, 25-Sec. Fraps Test Set 1: High Preset, No AA, 8x AF, FXAA Enabled Test Set 2: Ultra Preset, 8x AA, 16x AF, FXAA Enabled
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
F1 2012Version 1.2, Direct X 11, Built-in Benchmark Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA Test Set 2: Ultra Quality, 8x AA
Audio/Video Encoding
HandBrake CLIVersion: 0.98, 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 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)
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, Two-Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s) Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV
Abobe Creative Suite
Adobe After Effects CS6Version 11.0.0.378 x64: Create Video, 3 Streams, 210 Frames, Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously
Adobe Photoshop CS6Version 13 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 X ProVersion 10.0.0.396: 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 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 StudioVersion 10.0, Compile Google Chrome, Scripted
Compression
7-ZipVersion 9.28, LZMA2, Syntax "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5" Benchmark: THG-Workload-2012 (1.3 GB)
WinRARVersion 4.2, RAR, Syntax "winrar a -r -m3" Benchmark: THG-Workload-2012 (1.3 GB)
WinZipVersion 17.0 Pro, Syntax "-a -ez -p -r" Benchmark: THG-Workload-2012 (1.3 GB)
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark 11Version: 1.0.1, Performance Suite
PCMark 7Version: 1.0.4, System, Productivity, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks
SiSoftware Sandra 2013Version: 2013.01.19.11, Processor  Arithmetic, Cryptography, Memory Bandwidth Benchmarks
  • slomo4sho
    Nice choice in parts (unlike their mid/high end counterparts, the low end MSI boards continue to disappoint. Maybe consider Biostar, ECS, or ASRock in future low end builds) . However, those wanting to cheat can pickup a 750K with 7770 within $20-30 of the price of the APU for overall improved gaming performance. It is interesting what $40-50 can accomplish in these low budget builds :)
    Reply
  • internetlad
    Have to admit, I like where this went. This is a little higher than a similarly priced build I was looking at for my brother in law about a year ago
    Reply
  • rolli59
    Well throw in a HD7750 (can be had for $50 after MIR) and it will keep up with the $400 system in gaming. Since MIR do not count reduce the ram to 2x2GB (Q2 $400build) to offset the cost.
    Reply
  • pauldh
    The promo is now back, so the A10-5800K was (for us) and is once again $110 from Newegg no rebates. We can't match that price too easy with HD7750/7770. Although as rolli said $50 after $30 mail-in rebate + a Pentium gets close (AR).


    EDIT: My mistake! Actually this is a different promo. A $20 gift card. When we chose this part, the savings instantly removed $20 from the shopping cart total.
    Reply
  • sicom
    So a $350 PC has better performance than an Xbox 360, and a $400 PC blows it clear out of the water. Cost of operating system not withstanding. I realize this console generation is nearly ancient history by now, but I still find that interesting, and perhaps because it's not ancient history yet.

    Note of reference: BF3 plays at 720p @ 30 FPS at about medium'ish settings on 360/PS3.
    Reply
  • pauldh
    11609414 said:
    Nice choice in parts. However, those wanting to cheat can pickup a 750K with 7770 within $20-30 of the price of the APU for overall improved gaming performance. It is interesting what $40-50 can accomplish in these low budget builds :)

    That must be a pretty big cheat. ;) But that pairing sure stymies the 6800K's appeal doesn't it.

    You are so right, $40-50 more does wonders. We could make a fun poor man's marathon out of exploring that alone.$400/450/500 gaming faceoff? :D
    Reply
  • aggroboy
    11609551 said:
    So a $350 PC has better performance than an Xbox 360, and a $400 PC blows it clear out of the water. Cost of operating system not withstanding. I realize this console generation is nearly ancient history by now, but I still find that interesting, and perhaps because it's not ancient history yet.

    Note of reference: BF3 plays at 720p @ 30 FPS at about medium'ish settings on 360/PS3.
    You're using 2012-2013 components to compare against a 2005 console.
    Reply
  • itzsnypah
    750K HD7750 4GB RAM and you have much better computer (overall and gaming) for the same price.

    750K vs A10-5800K (CPU wise)
    The same (except 750K no graphics to cool)

    7750 vs 7660D
    512 vs 384 shaders
    GDDR5 vs DDR3
    800Mhz vs 800Mhz

    Did you even consider this or did you go into this budget with your heart set on an APU?
    Reply
  • pauldh
    11609701 said:
    750K HD7750 4GB RAM and you have much better computer (overall and gaming) for the same price.

    750K vs A10-5800K (CPU wise)
    The same (except 750K no graphics to cool)

    7750 vs 7660D
    512 vs 384 shaders
    GDDR5 vs DDR3
    800Mhz vs 800Mhz

    Did you even consider this or did you go into this budget with your heart set on an APU?

    That's an easy answer. The math simply didn't (and still doesn't) add up.

    The cheapest 7750 was $85, the 750K was also $85. That's $170 when the 5800K was $110 with a promo code anyone buying one would have used to save instantly before checking out. The goal was $325 factoring that promotional instant savings.

    And as mentioned in the text on page one, a 4GB mem kit saved only $10, meaning 750K+7750 was still $50 over, which is huge on a $325 budget.

    Although, I knew before order time playing by the rules we'd call this a $350 PC. Hope that all makes sense.
    Reply
  • Memnarchon
    The current APU costs $130. And the memory costs $50. Total: $180.
    Now if you place an Athlon X4 750K 3,4Ghz for $80 or an Ivybridge Pentium G2120 3,1Ghz $70, using a HD 7770 for $90 and for memory 4GB (2 x 2GB) for $35 it will be total: Intel: $195 ($15 more) and AMD:$205 ($25 more).

    Now for $15/$25 you can have double or more performance on games. Why to go with an APU???

    edit: I actually read the article and didn't read all the comments.
    But even if you choose not to go with 7750, according to Tom's hierrarchy chart the 6670 (even the DDR3 version) is still two tiers faster. And I can't remember even prvious month the 6670DDR3 to cost more than $60 (maybe less with some AR) So a 750K or a G2120 (or a bit lower) will still offer better performance at almost same price (the pentium will be the same price) with 4GB RAM.
    Reply