New Challenges, New Challengers
System Builder Marathon, December 2012: The Articles
Here are links to each of the four articles in this quarter’s System Builder Marathon (we’ll update them as each story is published). And remember, these systems are all being given away at the end of the marathon.
To enter the giveaway, please fill out this SurveyGizmo form, and be sure to read the complete rules before entering!
Most people learn from experience, and a consistent benchmark suite makes it easy for the three builders who participate in our SBM every quarter to figure out where they're going to get the best bang for their buck. Call it gaming the system, if you will. Since most of our benchmarks favor the same types of hardware, we typically end up with three builds that reflect a trio of budgets, but employ the same technologies. Our builds became mostly predictable over the past year, with occasional deviations coming up short in both performance and value.
Windows 8 and its impact on the performance of AMD's Bulldozer proved to be underwhelming, but AMD timed the introduction of more capable hardware to coincide with Microsoft latest, giving us Piledriver-based FX CPUs that do help the company's performance story.
We're also adding a number of new threaded benchmarks this time around. So, the CPUs best able to handle taxing workloads are going to rise to the top, naturally. Could Don's FX-8350 upset the balance of this often-familiar retrospective with eight integer cores in a sub-$1000 system, will my Core i7-3770K-based build brute-force its way through the benchmarks, or will the addition of a Radeon HD 7850 help catapult Paul's $500 build to the top of our value charts?
|Q4 2012 System Builder Marathon PC Components|
|$500 Gaming PC||$1,000 Enthusiast PC||$2,000 Performance PC|
|Processor||Intel Pentium G850: 2.9 GHz, 3 MB Shared L3 Cache||AMD FX-8350: 4.0 GHz - 4.2 GHz, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache||Intel Core i7-3770K: 3.5 GHz - 3.9 GHz, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache|
|Graphics||PowerColor AX7850 1GBD5-DH: Radeon HD 7850 1 GB||Gigabyte GV-N670OC-2GD: GeForce GTX 670 2 GB||2 x MSI R7970-2PMD3GD5/OC: Radeon HD 7970 3 GB, CrossFire|
|Motherboard||ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP: LGA 1155, Intel H77 Express||Gigabyte GA-970A-D3: Socket AM3+, AMD 970/SB950||Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H: LGA 1155, Intel Z77 Express|
|Memory||G.Skill F3-10600CL9D-8GBNT: DDR3-1333 C9, 2 x 4 GB (8 GB)||Mushkin Blackline 997043: DDR3-1600 C8, 2 x 4 GB (8 GB)||G.Skill F3-1600C8D-8GAB: DDR3-1600 C8, 2 x 4 GB (8 GB)|
|System Drive||Western Digital WD3200AAKX: 320 GB, 7,200 RPM HDD||OCZ AGT3-25SAT3-60G: 60 GB, SATA 6Gb/s SSD||Mushkin MKNSSDCR240GB-DX: 240 GB, SATA 6Gb/s SSD|
|Storage Drive||Uses System Drive||Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.C: 1 TB 7,200 RPM Hard Drive||Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31500341AS: 1.5 TB, 7,200 RPM Hard Drive|
|Optical||LG GH24NS90: 24x DVD±R, 48x CD-R||LG GH24NS90: 24x DVD±R, 48x CD-R||Asus BW-12B1ST: 12x BD-R, 16x DVD±R, 2x BD-RE|
|Case||Rosewill Blackbone||HEC Blitz||Cooler Master Storm Enforcer SGC-1000-KWN1|
|Power||Antec VP-450: 450 W, ATX 12V v2.3||Corsair CX600 V2: 600 W, ATX12V v2.3, 80 PLUS||Corsair HX750: ATX12V V2.3 80 PLUS Gold|
|CPU Cooler||Intel Boxed Heat Sink and Fan||Xigamtek Loki SD963||Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo RR-212E-20PK-R2|