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System Builder Marathon, June 2010: $1,000 Enthusiast PC

Benchmark Results: DiRT 2 And S.T.A.K.L.E.R.: Call Of Pripyat

DiRT2 appears CPU-limited where the overclocked/core-unlocked Phenom II X3 720 system achieves virtual parity with the stock Core i7-920 build. The stock Phenom II X3 720 numbers are playable, but with 8x anti-aliasing (AA) enabled, the $1,000 system has a little trouble at higher resolutions.

As mentioned in our system assembly notes, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat refused to run properly on our $1,000 system when CrossFire was enabled, forcing us to physically remove the second card to achieve smooth performance. This is disturbing because we've run this benchmark in CrossFire mode on many configurations and haven't seen this behavior.

The likely culprit, specifically, is the Gigabyte Radeon HD 5830 cards, a relatively new model that the Catalyst 10.4 drivers refused to acknowledge at all. The Catalyst 10.5 drivers would work, but CrossFire continued to give us problems.

While unfortunate, the results show us how GPU-dependent this title is. Where we've seen performance parity compared to the stock Core i7-920 system in other games, the overclocked/core-unlocked Phenom II X3 720 system can't even reach half the performance of the stock Core i7-920 in most of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat results.

  • alikum
    When you say SBM: Enthusiast System, I am expecting this to be more than just another gaming rig. You may have your own reason for sticking to a Phenom II x3 720 and HD5830 crossfire but I believe a Phenom II x4 955 and HD5770 crossfire would make more sense or more well-balanced (instead of trying your luck by unlocking cores). In fact, we could also grab a HD5870 and downgrade our mobo a little and that would make a truly well balanced enthusiast system.
    Reply
  • scrumworks
    Nice CPU choice you morons. My grandma could build a more balanced system.
    Reply
  • manitoublack
    I'm with one-shot, 6core AMD for $200 can't be beat.
    Reply
  • one-shot
    It would have been nice to see the PII X6 1055T with a moderate downgrade in GPUs to afford the higher cost of CPU and motherboard. The i7 embarrasses the PII X3.
    Reply
  • adbat
    I find it surprising that you are always successful in unlocking the 4th core
    Reply
  • IzzyCraft
    not a fan of the 5830's or the 720 cpu choice is all.

    Would have rather seen a dual 5770's or a 5870 with a i5-750 or a 955

    games more and more are using cpu for doing things. I also tend to use a comp for other things more then games.
    Reply
  • Tamz_msc
    Bad choice of components especially CPU and GPU
    Reply
  • Tamz_msc
    A phenom II 955 BE:160$+2 Xfx hd 5770sfor320$+GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H for 140$=620$ would certainly have been a better choice than your 670$ for CPU+GPU+mobo.
    Reply
  • Tamz_msc
    Tamz_mscA phenom II 955 BE:160$+2 Xfx hd 5770s for 320$+GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H for 140$=620$ would certainly have been a better choice than your 670$ for CPU+GPU+mobo.
    Reply
  • The Lady Slayer
    A Thermaltake V3 instead of the Antec 300 would have saved you $15
    Reply