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System Builder Marathon, Q4 2012: System Value Compared

Benchmark Results: SiSoftware Sandra

SiSoftware's Sandra is a diagnostic that we use to isolate specific subsystems, such as integer and floating point performance, multimedia throughput, and memory bandwidth. This gives us an opportunity to flag a platform's weaknesses, which might surface later in the benchmark suite and be more difficult to identify.

Extreme budget limitations prevent Paul from significantly improving the performance of his CPU. Instead, he spent money on a capable graphics processor, which is far more important to the viability of his platform.

Unfortunately, Intel disables AES-NI in adapting the Sandy Bridge architecture down to the Pentium family, which is why Paul's build lags so far behind.

Although AMD was the company that introduced us to integrated memory controllers on desktop processors, its DDR3-1866-capable dual-channel controller operating at 1600 MT/s is beaten by the lowly Pentium's dual-channel DDR3-1333 controller. Fortunately, overclocking helps push its throughput higher.

Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.