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System Builder Marathon, Dec. 2011: $1200 Enthusiast PC

Test System And Benchmarks

The new system has a respectable graphics hardware advantage, featuring two Radeon HD 6950 1 GB boards in CrossFire. However, we’ll have to see how bottlenecked they are by the FX-6100 CPU. The previous system has a fast Core i5-2500K CPU, but a less-capable GeForce GTX 460 1 GB SLI configuration.

Current $1200 Enthusiast PC Test Settings
Standard SpeedOverclocked
MotherboardBiostar TA990FXESocket AM3+, AMD 990FX NorthbridgeUnchanged
ProcessorAMD FX-61003.3 GHz (3.9 GHz Max Turbo Core), Hexa-Core, 8 MB L3 Cache4450 MHz at 1.476 V,207 MHz bus
MemoryMushkin Enhanced Redline 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) 240-Pin DDR3-1600 Kit Dual-Channel Desktop Memory Kit, CAS 9-9-9-24-1T @ 666 MHz7-8-8-24 1T @ 690 MHz
Graphics2 x Gigabyte Radeon HD 6950 1 GB  1 GB GDDR5 @ 5000 MT/sGPU @ 870 MHzGDDR5 @ 5040 MT/s GPU @ 880 MHz
Hard DriveOCZ Vertex Plus 60 GB SATA II SSD 60 GB, SATA 3Gb/sUnchanged
Hard DriveWestern Digital Caviar Black 750 GB 750 GB, 7200 RPM, 32 MB cache SATA 3Gb/sUnchanged
OpticalSony Optiarc DVD Burner24x DVD BurnerUnchanged
CaseRosewill Challenger-U3Unchanged
PowerCorsair TX650 V2 650 W ATX12V, EPS12V, 80 PLUS-CertifiedUnchanged

September $1000 Enthusiast PC Test Settings
Standard SpeedOverclocked
MotherboardEVGA P67 Micro SLI LGA 1155, Intel P67 chipsetUnchanged
ProcessorIntel Core i5-2500K3.3 GHz (3.7 GHz Turbo Boost), Quad-Core, 6 MB L3 Cache4490 MHz at 1.4 V
MemoryMushkin Enhanced Redline 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) 240-Pin DDR3-1600 Kit Dual-Channel Desktop Memory Kit, CAS 9-9-9-24-1T @ 666 MHz7-8-7-24 1T @ 800 MHz
Graphics2 x EVGA GeForce GTX 460 1 GB  1 GB GDDR5 @ 3600 MT/sGPU @ 720 MHzGDDR5 @ 3700 MT/s GPU @ 850 MHzFan @ 100%
Hard DriveOCZ Vertex Series 30 GB SATA II SSD 30 GB, SATA 3Gb/sUnchanged
Hard DriveWestern Digital Caviar Black 750 GB 750 GB, 7200 RPM, 32 MB cache SATA 3Gb/sUnchanged
OpticalSony Optiarc DVD Burner24x DVD BurnerUnchanged
CaseRaidmax Atlas-295WBUnchanged
PowerCorsair CX600 V2 600 W ATX12V, EPS12V, 80 PLUS-CertifiedUnchanged

And here's the list of benchmarks:

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
Metro 2033Full Game, Built-In Benchmark, "Frontline" Scene Test Set 1: DX11, High, AAA, 4x AF, No PhysX, No DoF Test Set 2: DX11, Very High, 4x AA, 16x AF, No PhysX, DoF On
Just Cause 2In-game benchmark: Concrete JungleTest Set 1: Medium Details, No AA, 8x AFTest Set 2: Highest Details, 8x AA, 16x AF
F1 2010V1.01, Run with -benchmark example_benchmark.xml Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 8x AA
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunesVersion 9.0.3.15 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)
HandBrake CLIVersion 0.94: "Big Buck Bunny" (720x480, 23.972 FPS) 5 Minutes, Audio: Dolby Digital, 48 000 Hz, Six-Channel, English, to Video: AVC Audio: AC3 Audio2: AAC (High Profile)
MainConcept ReferenceVersion: 2.0.0.1555: MPEG-2 to H.264, MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2), Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV
Productivity
Adobe Photoshop CS5Version 12.0 x64: Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Autodesk 3ds Max 2010Version 12.0 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, 248 Frames, 1440x1080
WinZIPVersion 14.0 Pro: THG-Workload (464 MB) to ZIP, command line switches "-a -ez -p -r"
WinRARVersion 4.0 Beta 4: THG-Workload (464 MB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"
7-ZipVersion 9.2: THG-Workload (464 MB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5"
ABBYY FineReaderVersion 10.0.102.82: Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
Synthetic Benchmarks
3DMark 11Version: 1.0.1.0, Benchmark Only
PCMark VantageVersion: 1.0.1.0 x64, System, Productivity, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks
SiSoftware Sandra 2011Version 2011.1.17.15, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
  • Zero_
    Something is not right here :pfff: . But awesome review of a bulldozer rig. It fails, big time.

    Bring on $600! FX-4100? :kaola:
    Reply
  • compton
    I understand that the SBM doesn't have the flexibility to utilize sales or rebates, but seriously, the Vertex Plus is neither a Vertex or a Plus. There are better options for less money even. I just bought several new Vertex and Vertex Turbos for less than a dollar per GB. If you're not dead-set on one particular drive, have flexibility and when and where the drive is purchased, you can do much better for $87. I'd rather take my chances with buying a used drive than purchase a new drive I know is a turkey. There is probably also a reason that Arrowana FW has yet to be released for older Indilinx controlled drives with 3xnm NAND.

    Reply
  • Dacatak
    Bulldozer is dozing all right.
    Reply
  • manu 11
    your hd, seagate 1tb is only 130$
    fx 6100, i was surprised that it was such a deep bottlencek.
    biostar ta 990fx?, you can get asrock extreme 4 with sli and xfire support for 110$

    overall, indeed you have taken a chance.

    i was in a mood to buy fx but wow, this changed my ming, i will now surely go with i5.
    Reply
  • slicedtoad
    I was shocked an disappointed when I saw 'fx' on that first page, but now I've changed my mind.
    It's quantified the exceeding suck of bulldozer far better than the official bulldozer review.

    Maybe win8 will change everything, but I think it dubious.
    Reply
  • gtx_560tiuser
    lol 2 fps in metro 2033...
    Reply
  • king_maliken
    Just to point something out, should it not say in the graphs current $1200 PC and not current $1000?

    Also on the article, why try something out on a system builder marathon, the FX should of been tested in an other article, such as a review. It does not really matter that yes in fact the GPUs are much better but the CPU is holding them way back... Why cheap out on a motherboard? that Biostar TA990FXE from what I've read is not great, not good even.

    *Thought this was for people who didn't really know what to build, or how to build a computer? I wouldn't recommend this build.
    Reply
  • pharoahhalfdead
    Awesome article. Despite people bashing AMD's new BD, this is actually a build that needed to be done. Alot of people are building systems around the new BD, and these benchmarks can be helpful, since just about all of the reviews are centered around the 8100 series. I decided to go with a Phenom 980 instead of the 8150 after reviews, but I never saw anythang about the 6100 series.

    I still want to see how it handles multi-tasking compared to Intel.
    Reply
  • cleeve
    king_malikenWhy cheap out on a motherboard? that Biostar TA990FXE from what I've read is not great, not good even.
    Based on what? It was a fantastic overclocker and stable as hell.

    What is your beef with the board?
    Reply
  • pharoahhalfdead
    The vast majority of people who criticize BD does not have a system that is anywhere near as fast a this or as fast as an i5-2500k. They are mainly running slower and ancient dual cores from years ago, with 8600GT video card, yet they judge any new product that comes out.

    Personally, I don't care who has the fastest processor, becuase I don't have the money to purchase every new cpu or video card that come out, but when I do upgrade, I just want it to be significantly faster than my previous build. 80% of the benchmarks posted are not programs that most of us even use in everyday life.
    Reply