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System Builder Marathon Q3 2015: Prosumer PC

How We Tested

Test System Components

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Q3 $800 Prosumer PCQ2 $1600 Performance PCQ2 $1600 Gaming PC
Processor (Overclock)Intel Core i5-6600K: 3.50 GHz - 3.90 GHz, Four Physical Cores O/C to 4.4GHz, 1.30VIntel Core i7-5820K: 3.30 GHz - 3.60 GHz, Four Physical Cores O/C to 4.0-4.3GHz, 1.22VIntel Core i5-4690K: 3.5GHz, Four Physical Cores O/C to 4.2-4.4GHz, 1.24V
Graphics (Overclock)Asus GTX 750 Ti: <1150 MHz GPU,  GDDR5-5400 O/C to <1300 MHz, GDDR5-6000PNY GTX 970: <1178 MHz GPU,  GDDR5-7012 O/C to <1328 MHz, GDDR5-7412Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980: 1178MHz GPU, GDDR5-7010 O/C to 1335MHz, GDDR5-8000
Memory (Overclock)8GB Crucial DDR4-2133 CAS 15-15-15-38, O/C to DDR4-2133 CL 14-14-14-28, 1.24V16GB G.Skill DDR4-2666 CAS 15-15-15-35, O/C to DDR4-3200 CL 16-18-18-36, 1.30V16GB Team Extreme DDR3-2400 CAS 10-12-12-31, Applied XMP Profile
Motherboard (Overclock)Gigabyte Z170-HD3: LGA 1151, Intel Z170 Stock 100 MHz BCLKMSI X99 SLI Plus: LGA 2011-v3, Intel X99 Stock 100 MHz BCLKASRock Z97 Extreme6: LGA 1150, Intel Z97 Express Stock 100MHz BCLK
CaseDIYPC FM08-BlueZALMAN Z11 NeoDIYPC Adventurer-9601G
CPU CoolerCooler Master Hyper T4Cooler Master Hyper 612 Ver.2Zalman CNPS10X Optima
Hard DriveWD WD10EZEX SATA 6Gb/s 7200 RPM HDDSamsung 850 Evo 250GB SATA 6Gb/s SSDSanDisk Extreme Pro 240GB SATA 6Gb/s SSD
PowerSeaSonic SS-400ET: 400W, 80 PLUS BronzeSeaSonic SSR-650RM: 650W, 80 PLUS GoldCorsair CSM Series CS750M:  750W, 80 PLUS Gold
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 8 Pro x64Microsoft Windows 8 Pro x64Microsoft Windows 8 Pro x64
GraphicsNvidia GeForce 355.60Nvidia GeForce 352.86Nvidia GeForce 353.06
ChipsetIntel INF 10.1.1Intel INF 9.4.2.1019Intel INF 9.4.0.1017

This quarter’s $800 “Working” PC will attempt to beat both of its full-sized Q2 rivals in value. The higher CPU overclock might be useful.

Benchmark Suite

Gaming
Battlefield 4Version 1.0.0.1, DirectX 11, 100-sec. Fraps "Tashgar" Test Set 1: Medium Quality Preset, No AA, 4X AF, SSAO Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset,  4X MSAA, 16X AF, HBAO
Grid 2Version 1.0.85.8679, Direct X 11, Built-in Benchmark Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA Test Set 2: Ultra Quality, 8x MSAA
Arma 3Version 1.08.113494, 30-Sec. Fraps "Infantry Showcase" Test Set 1: Standard Preset, No AA, Standard AF Test Set 2: Ultra Preset, 8x FSAA, Ultra AF
Far Cry 3V. 1.04, DirectX 11, 50-sec. Fraps "Amanaki Outpost" Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA, Standard ATC, SSAO Test Set 2: Ultra Quality, 4x MSAA, Enhanced ATC, HDAO
Adobe Creative Suite
Adobe After Effects CCVersion 12.0.0.404: Create Video which includes 3 Streams, 210 Frames, Render Multiple Frames Simultaneosly
Adobe Photoshop CCVersion 14.0 x64: Filter 15.7MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Adobe Premeire Pro CCVersion 7.0.0 (342), 6.61 GB MXF Project to H.264 to H.264 Blu-ray, Output 1920x1080, Maximum Quality
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunesVersion 11.0.4.4 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: 0.99: Video from Canon Eos 7D (1920x1080, 25 FPS) 1 Minutes 22 Seconds Audio: PCM-S16, 48000 Hz, 2-Channel, to Video: AVC1 Audio: AAC (High Profile)
TotalCodeStudio 2.5Version: 2.5.0.10677: 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
ABBYY FineReaderVersion 10.0.102.95: Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
Adobe Acrobat 11Version 11.0.0.379: Print PDF from 115 Page PowerPoint, 128-bit RC4 Encryption
Autodesk 3ds Max 2013Version 15.0 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, 248 Frames, 1440x1080
BlenderVersion: 2.68A, Cycles Engine, Syntax blender -b thg.blend -f 1, 1920x1080, 8x Anti-Aliasing, Render THG.blend frame 1
File Compression
WinZipVersion 18.0 Pro: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to ZIP, command line switches "-a -ez -p -r"
WinRARVersion 5.0: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"
7-ZipVersion 9.30 alpha (64-bit): THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5"
Synthetics
3DMark ProfessionalVersion: 1.2.250.0 (64-bit), Fire Strike Benchmark
PCMark 8Version: 1.0.0 x64, Full Test
SiSoftware SandraVersion 2014.02.20.10, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / Multimedia / Cryptography, Memory Bandwidth Benchmarks

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Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • Blueberries
    What is a prosumer and why is there no SSD?
    Reply
  • RedJaron
    You fit in a Skylake CPU? Bravo, sir!

    16700788 said:
    What is a prosumer
    A portmanteau combining "Professional" and "Consumer" usually describing the type of person that gets paid for a hobby. Someone who has requirements beyond that of the typical consumer, but not so high as a dedicated professional.

    16700788 said:
    and why is there no SSD?
    Read the whole article. It's explained there.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    16700796 said:
    You fit in a Skylake CPU? Bravo, sir!

    16700788 said:
    What is a prosumer
    A portmanteau combining "Professional" and "Consumer" usually describing the type of person that gets paid for a hobby. Someone who has requirements beyond that of the typical consumer, but not so high as a dedicated professional.

    16700788 said:
    and why is there no SSD?
    Read the whole article. It's explained there.

    Wow, and you pulled out portmanteau? Bravo to you, sir! And to everyone in the stadium, welcome to the first onstage meeting of Tom's Hardware Mutual Admiration Society.
    Reply
  • chalabam
    Any money spend in a DVD burner is money wasted.

    You shouldn't buy a DVD burner until you actually need it.

    Most software is either downloadable, or stored on HD, or capable of being copied to a USB stick.
    Reply
  • Neat-O man
    There should be a bargain prosumer that hits all the check marks. I built a FX-8320e @4.5Ghz (very small voltage bump, max 54c after two hours of prime95) with a Cooler Master HYPER T4, 16GB ddr3 1866 cas 9, 850 EVO 250GB ssd, TWO Toshiba 2TB drives in soft RAID-1 (smart UPS is a must in that case), EVGA 430 watt PSU, 750 Ti (over clocks like a monster), and last... Cooler Master Silencio 352. $800 with tax (before OS). It is used for simple Photoshop and business things, honestly... over kill

    Yeah, even with AMD CPU lol... but holy carp was i surprised when i overclocked the FX-8320e compared to a FX-8320 i did three years ago when it came out. Runs super cool and stable for an AMD chip.
    Reply
  • Neat-O man
    16700962 said:
    Any money spend in a DVD burner is money wasted.

    You shouldn't buy a DVD burner until you actually need it.

    Most software is either downloadable, or stored on HD, or capable of being copied to a USB stick.

    That's true.. ish. What if you have some specialized software that you can't find anymore and you only have the CD/DVD that you forgot to transfer to pure digital... than a $15 investment isn't such a bad idea. And a well stored CD/DVD that you did NOT make yourself (pressed in a factory) or M-Disc will outlast most HDD/SSD drives because of bit rot, unless you have a good ZFS setup and swap out the drives when necessary.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    16700962 said:
    Any money spend in a DVD burner is money wasted.

    You shouldn't buy a DVD burner until you actually need it.

    Most software is either downloadable, or stored on HD, or capable of being copied to a USB stick.
    Not for most people using this for their first build. The winner might even be in that position, as stated in the article.

    Please don't let those annoying facts get in the way of your eloquently-expressed opinion :)

    On the other hand, we'll probably make the switch to Win10 in Q1, so you don't have to tolerate this measure of practicality much longer.
    Reply
  • daveys93
    16700962 said:
    Any money spend in a DVD burner is money wasted.

    You shouldn't buy a DVD burner until you actually need it.

    Most software is either downloadable, or stored on HD, or capable of being copied to a USB stick.
    Not for most people using this for their first build. The winner might even be in that position, as stated in the article.

    Please don't let those annoying facts get in the way of your eloquently-expressed opinion :)

    On the other hand, we'll probably make the switch to Win10 in Q1, so you don't have to tolerate this measure of practicality much longer.

    Windows 8.1 can be downloaded to a USB drive right from the Microsoft website:

    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/create-reset-refresh-media

    If you obtained one of those "cheap Windows license" codes that was mentioned in the article for the lucky recipients of these machines and included it with Windows 8.1 on a cheap 4GB USB drive (if you are thrifty these can be obtained for $2 or less), you could forgo the antiquated optical drive, allowing this rounds builders to use the hardware and cases they really wanted. It would also free up some budget space since "cheap Windows license" codes are ~ $25 - $50.
    Reply
  • SCREAM2NIGHT
    16700962 said:
    Any money spend in a DVD burner is money wasted.

    You shouldn't buy a DVD burner until you actually need it.

    Most software is either downloadable, or stored on HD, or capable of being copied to a USB stick.
    Not for most people using this for their first build. The winner might even be in that position, as stated in the article.

    Please don't let those annoying facts get in the way of your eloquently-expressed opinion :)

    On the other hand, we'll probably make the switch to Win10 in Q1, so you don't have to tolerate this measure of practicality much longer.

    I use my DVD drive to play older games.
    Reply
  • ykki
    This is a really nice build. You stuck to a strong processor, din't go overkill on the gpu and got a "sufficient" psu.

    Also Tom's for q4 can we get a limited budget "no holds barred" where the contestants can do anything to anything to win. Threr sould be no constraints like what parts have to be compulsory (like this quarter's ODD). How 'bout it?
    Reply