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System Builder Marathon: $2,500 Enthusiast PC

Test Settings

Our configuration details and settings for this month's $2,500 enthusiast PC are as follows:

$2500 High-End System Test Configuration
ComponentBase SettingsOverclock Settings
CPUIntel Core i7 920 2.66 GHz, 8.0 MB Cache4.00 GHz (20x 200 MHz), 1.3875 V Core, 1.45 V VTT, 1.375 V QPI, 1.375 V IOH
CPU CoolerVigor Monsoon III LT 2x 2000 RPM 120 mm Fans (Stock)Unchanged
MotherboardEVGA X58 3X SLI Intel X58/ICH10R Chipset, LGA-1366ICH VCore  1.25 V, IOH/ICH  I/O 1.65V
RAMSuper Talent DDR3-1333 3x 3.0 GB, CAS 8-8-8-241,600 MHz data rate, CL 9-8-8-16
Graphics3x EVGA GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 S.E. 626 MHz GPU, GDDR3-2106Unchanged
Hard Drives3x Samsung Spinpoint F1 HD103UJ RAID 5 1.0 TB, 7,200 RPM, 32 MB CacheUnchanged
SoundIntegrated HD AudioUnchanged
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit NetworkingUnchanged
CaseCooler Master Stacker 830 Evolution (Black)Unchanged
PowerSilverstone OP1000 Evolution ATX12V v2.2. EPS12V, 1000 W, 80 A +12 V RailUnchanged
OpticalLG GGC-H20LK 6X Blu-ray/HD DVD-ROM, 16X DVD±RUnchanged
Additional Fans2x Scythe S-FLEX SFF21F 120 mm 1,600 RPMUnchanged
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit SP1
GraphicsNVidia Forceware 180.48
ChipsetIntel INF 8.3.0.1016
Benchmarks and Settings
3D Games
CrysisVersion: 1.2.1, Video Quality: Very High Details, Demo: CPU-Benchmark + Tom’s Hardware Tool
Supreme Commander Forged AllianceVersion: 1.5.3599, Video Quality: Highest Settings, Demo : WallaceTX_006_006, Benchmark: Fraps 2.9.4 - Build 7037
Unreal Tournament 3Version: 1.2, Sound and DirectX10, Texture Details: 5, Level Details: 5, Demo: vCTF-Reflection_bot, Time: 12/60
World in ConflictVersion: 1.0.0.9, Video Quality: Very High details, Demo: Game-Benchmark
Audio Encoding
iTunesVersion: 7.7.0.43, Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 min, Default format AAC
Lame MP3Version: 3.98 Beta 3 (05-22-2007), Audio CD ""Terminator II" SE, 53 min, wave to MP3, 160 Kb/s
Video Encoding
TMPEG 4.5Version: 4.5.1.254, Import File: Terminator 2 SE DVD (5 Minutes), Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
DivX 6.8.3Encoding mode: Insane Quality, Enhanced Multi-threading, Enabled using SSE4, Quarter-pixel search
XviD 1.1.3Display encoding status=off
Mainconcept Reference 1.5.1 Reference H.264 Plugin Pro 1.5.1MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264), MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2), Audio: MPEG2 (44.1 KHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kbp/s), Mode: PAL (25 FPS), Profile: Tom’s Hardware Settings for Qct-Core
Applications
Autodesk 3D Studio Max 9Version: 9.0, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)
Adobe Photoshop CS 3Version: 10.0x20070321, Filtering from a 69 MB TIF-Photo, Benchmark: Tomshardware-Benchmark V1.0.0.4, Filters: Crosshatch, Glass, Sumi-e, Accented Edges, Angled Strokes, Sprayed Strokes
Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus 8Version: 8.0.134, Virus base: 270.4.5/1533, Benchmark: Scan 334 MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files
Winrar 3.80Version 3.70 BETA 8, WinZIP Commandline Version 2.3, Compression= Best, Dictionary= 4,096 KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)
Winzip 11Version 11.2, Compression=Best, Benchmark: THG-Workload (139 MB)
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.02, GPU and CPU scores
PCMark VantageVersion: 1.00, System, Memory, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks, Windows Media Player 10.00.00.3646
SiSoftware Sandra XII SP2Version 2008.5.14.24, CPU Test=CPU Arithmetic/MultiMedia, Memory Test=Bandwidth Benchmark
  • tipmen
    First
    LG GGC-H20LK 6X Blu-Ray/HD DVD-ROM, 16X DVD±RW for $23??? you mean 223?
    Reply
  • douglesso
    Thanks for the fantastic information and detailed analysis. I just ordered the same motherboard and video card last week for my new build. Glad to see that holding out for the i7 was a worthwhile wait.
    Reply
  • tipmen
    Sorry couldn't read my comment but nice blbuild by the way nice to see this. Hlaf the price and more performance.
    Reply
  • Ph0X
    This is... really.. Wow.
    I'm not big in hardware, but this is just, WOW...

    There's 3SLI GTX260, 3 x 1TB, Bluray WRITER!, but it doesn't even have 6gb ram!!?

    That's just lame. Imo maybe get raptors / SSD instead? Also, Instead of 3SLI, just get a 4870x2. You will maybe get 2-3FPS less, but instead get 6gb ram and i7 940, and I'm pretty sure that will also boost your fps.

    Again, I'm not a hardware pro, but I'm pretty sure my thing would be way better.
    Reply
  • Total price is off. Should be something like 2,447 and not 2,247
    Reply
  • kelfen
    Ph0XThis is... really.. Wow.I'm not big in hardware, but this is just, WOW...There's 3SLI GTX260, 3 x 1TB, Bluray WRITER!, but it doesn't even have 6gb ram!!?That's just lame. Imo maybe get raptors / SSD instead? Also, Instead of 3SLI, just get a 4870x2. You will maybe get 2-3FPS less, but instead get 6gb ram and i7 940, and I'm pretty sure that will also boost your fps.Again, I'm not a hardware pro, but I'm pretty sure my thing would be way better.+1
    Reply
  • kelfen
    except the cpu is fine because of oc
    Reply
  • kelfen
    antec twelve hundred
    Reply
  • dieseldre2k
    appreciate the article but i would drop the third HD (keep the other 2 in RAID) and use the extra money to get 6 gigs of ram instead. i'd also be wary of the scaling on 3 video cards but i dont know enough about that, plus i'm sure u guys were trying to use up all $2,500.
    Reply
  • thomasxstewart
    Lastly, GTX 295 in 3 way sli should hit 38,000 in 3D Vantage. Thats ALL Folks.


    Signed:PHYSICIAN THOMAS STEWART von DRASHEK M.D.
    Reply