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System Builder Marathon, May '09: $1,300 Enthusiast PC

Test Settings

$1,300 Portable Performance PC Test Settings
 Standard SpeedOverclocked
MotherboardDFI LANParty Jr X58-T3H6 Micro-ATX Intel X58/ICH10R, LGA1366 Unchanged
ProcessorIntel Core i7-920 2.66 GHz, 2.80 GHz Turbo, 133 MHz Bclk, 1.36 V (load) 3.44 GHz at 1.296 V (load), 172 MHz Bclk
MemoryG.Skill 10666CL7T 6.0 GB DDR3-1064 3x 2.0 GB, CAS 8-8-8-19, 1.56 V DDR3-1378 at 1.56 V, CAS 8-8-8-19
Graphics2x BFG GeForce GTX 260 in SLI  896MB GDDR3-1998 Per Card 590 MHz GPU, 1,296 MHz shader600 MHz GPU, 1,300 MHz shader, GDDR3-2060
Hard DriveWestern Digital Caviar Black 640GB 7,200 RPM, 32 MB Cache SATA 3.0 Gb/s Unchanged
OpticalLITE-ON iHAS422 SATA 22X DVD±R Unchanged
CaseSilverStone TJ08-B Micro-ATX Mini-Tower Unchanged
PowerPC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Quad S75QB750 W, ATX12V 2.2, 80-Plus Certified Unchanged
CPU CoolerXigmatek Dark Knight S1283 Unchanged
Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA Test Set 2: Very High Quality, No AA
Far Cry 2DirectX 10, in-game benchmark Test Set 1: Very High Quality, No AA Test Set 2: Ultra High Quality, 4x AA
S.T.A.L.K.E.R Clear SkyAverage of 4 segments "A-Tested Object" Test Set 1: High Preset, DirectX 10, EFDL, no MSAA Test Set 2: High Preset, DirectX 10, EFDL, 4x MSAA
World In ConflictPatch 1009, DirectX 10, timedemo Test 1: Very High Details, No AA/No AF Test 2: Very High Details 4x AA/16x AF
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunes 8Version: 8.1.0.52 (x64) Audio CD ("Terminator II" SE), 53 min Default format AAC
Lame MP3Version: 3.98 64bits (07-04-2008) Audio CD "Terminator II," 53 min. wave to MP3
TMPGEnc 4.6Version: 4.6.3.268 Import File: "Terminator 2" SE DVD (5 Minutes) Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
DivX 6.8.5Encoding mode: Insane Quality Enhanced multithreading enabled using SSE4 Quarter-pixel search
Xvid 1.2.1Display encoding status = off
Mainconcept Reference 1.6.1MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264), MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2), Audio: MPEG2 (44.1 kHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Mode: PAL (25 FPS)
Productivity
Autodesk 3ds Max 2009Version: 11.0, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)
Gisoft AVG Anti-Virus 8.5Version: 8.5.287, Virus database 2094, Benchmark: Scan 334 MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files
WinRAR 3.80Version 3.80, WinZip Command line Version 3.0, Compression = Best, Dictionary = 4,096 KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)
WinZip 12Version 12.0, 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 2009 SP3Version 2009.4.15.92, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / Multimedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
  • jtnstnt
    It looks like you guys have a fetish for silverstone sff cases, and small motherboards. You guys probably like other small things...
    Reply
  • one-shot
    Was the peak power draw measured from the wall? If so, do you know the efficiency of the PSU to determine the approximate power draw from the components at a given level of output? Overall, great article. I hope my 650Watt PSU with 3 X 19A 12V rails can handle another GTX 260 Core 216.
    Reply
  • serifus
    if you wanted to go SFF it would be nice to see one done in an LIAN-LI PC-A05NB. at least you still get the full atx boards in those.
    Reply
  • SpadeM
    This system is no slouch and cuts through our new gaming benchmarks like a hot knife through butter.
    I wonder how exactly does the selection of components go. I mean it seems that there's some attention given to the forums to be politically correct, but that's kind of it. For $1300 a Phenom 2 + micro AM3 board + 2x4890 in crossfire is a much better solution so .. why not choose the better option?
    Reply
  • capttylor34
    That system looks quite crowded on the inside, and that Dark Knight is big for a regular sized system, I'm actually kind of impressed you managed to fit it in a Micro ATX at all. I suppose as long as it runs stable, theres really no problem. Still think the articles should be titled "Micro System Build-off" just to let people know off the bat what they're about to read.
    Reply
  • IzzyCraft
    No space at all between those 2 cards. poor cards have no choice but to overheat.
    Reply
  • IzzyCraft
    SpadeMI wonder how exactly does the selection of components go. I mean it seems that there's some attention given to the forums to be politically correct, but that's kind of it. For $1300 a Phenom 2 + micro AM3 board + 2x4890 in crossfire is a much better solution so .. why not choose the better option?
    Reply
  • armistitiu
    I'm tired of seeing I7 920 in every damn "recommended" PC. I'm not saying go AMD but please just try to vary them a bit it's getting stupid. Also try building your own benchmarks or at least change them once in a while.
    Btw i\m getting tired of people picking up I7 and saying "because i do heavy CPU tasks" (not necessarily IzzyCraft ) and in fact all they need is a browser,OpenOffice and WoW minimized in the taskbar.
    The article is well done no doubts but try using other brands also. It\s starting to sound biased.

    Reply
  • ohim
    This article would be great if you could do : what you can buy for 1300 Intel parts and what you can by for 1300 AMD parts ... and put the 2 PCs to compeat to eachother :P it would be a more interesting article than just buy a pc and ... show what ?
    Reply
  • nerrawg
    Nice slick system this - looks like 2 x 260's is pretty good value at 1920 x 1200 for those that want to max out the settings in the most demanding games. Was wondering however if there is a good technical explanation for the power consumption results because they seem pretty strange?
    Reply