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

Test System And Benchmarks

We compare our new build to the $1,500 Core i7 system we put together for our last SBM in March of 2010. That system had the benefit of two Radeon HD 5850 cards in CrossFire, in addition to the Core i7-920 CPU.

With $500 chopped off of our budget, we're not fooling ourselves into thinking we'll achieve the same performance. However, we do think that there's a good chance our overclocked performance will be in the same league as the stock performance that the $1,500 Core i7 system achieved.

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$1,000 Enthusiast PC Test Settings
Row 0 - Cell 0 Standard SpeedOverclocked
MotherboardMSI 790X-G45 Socket AM3 Chipset: AMD 790XUnchanged
ProcessorPhenom II X3 720 Black Edition 2.8 GHz  3Cores, 6MB L3 Cache (OEM)3.424 GHz at 1.5V,16x multiplier, 214 MHz Base Clock
MemoryCrucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3-1333 Dual-Channel Desktop Memory Kit, CAS 9-9-9-24-1TDDR3-1426, CAS 9-9-9-24-1T
Graphics2 x Radeon HD 5830 (CrossFireX) 1GB GDDR5-4000 Per CardRadeon HD 5830 GPU at 800 MHzGDDR5-4400 820 MHz GPU
Hard DrivesWD Caviar Blue 320GB 320GB, 7,200 RPM, 8MB Cache SATA 3.0 Gb/sUnchanged
OpticalLite-On iHas12424x DVD+R, 8x DVD+RW, 48x CD ROMUnchanged
CaseAntec Three HundredUnchanged
PowerCorsair CMPSU-650HX 650W ATX12V, EPS12V , 80-Plus CertifiedUnchanged
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$1,500 Enthusiast PC (From Previous SBM) Test Settings
Row 0 - Cell 0 Standard SpeedOverclocked
MotherboardASRock X58 Extreme LGA-1366 Chipset: Intel X58 ExpressUnchanged
ProcessorIntel Core i7-920 2.66 GHz 4 Cores, 8MB L3 Cache3.9 GHz, 195 MHz Reference Clock
MemoryCrucial 6GB (3x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3-1333 533 MHz (1,066 MHz DDR), CAS 7-7-7-59DDR3-1560, CAS 8-8-8-18
Graphics2 x Radeon HD 5850 (CrossFireX) 1GB GDDR5-4000 Per Card Radeon HD 5850 GPU at 725 MHzGDDR5-4500 775 MHz GPU
Hard DrivesWestern Digital Caviar Black 750GB 7,200 RPM, 32MB Cache SATA 3.0 Gb/sUnchanged
OpticalSamsung SH-S2232C22x DVD+R, 8x DVD+RW, 16x DVD ROM, 48x CD ROMUnchanged
CaseCooler Master CM 690Unchanged
PowerCorsair CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V, EPS12V, 80-Plus CertifiedUnchanged

And now for the benchmarks:

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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
DiRT 2In-game benchmarkTest Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AATest Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 8x AA
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2Campaign, Act III, Second Sun (45 sec. FRAPS)Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AATest Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x AA
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.:Call of PripyatS.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of Pripyat benchmark versionTest Set 1: High Preset, DX11 EFDL, No AATest Set 2: Ultra Preset, DX11 EFDL, 4x MSAA
World in ConflictPatch 1009, DirectX 10, timedemo Test 1: Very High Details, No AA / No AF Test 2: Very High Details 4x AA / 16x AF
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunesVersion: x64Audio CD ("Terminator II" SE), 53 minDefault format AAC
Handbrake 0.9.4Version 0.9.4, convert first .vob filefrom "The Last Samurai" (1.0GB) to .mp4 High Profile
TMPGEnc 4.0 ExpressVersion: File: "Terminator 2" SE DVD (5 Minutes)Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
DivX 6.9.1Encoding mode: Insane QualityEnhanced multithreading enabled using SSE4Quarter-pixel search
XviD 1.2.2Display encoding status = off
MainConcept Reference 1.6.1MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264), MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2) Audio: MPEG2 (44.1 KHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s) Mode: PAL (25 FPS)
Adobe Photoshop CS4 (64-bit)Version: 11.0 x64, Filter 15.7MB TIF ImageRadial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Autodesk 3ds Max 2010Version: 11.0 x64, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)
Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus 9.0Version: 9.0.663, Virus base: 270.14.1/2407Benchmark: Scan 334MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files
WinRAR 3.90Version x64 3.90, Dictionary = 4,096KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334MB)
7-ZipVersion 4.65: Format=Zip, Compression=Ultra, Method=Deflate, Dictionary Size=32KB, Word Size=128, Threads=8Benchmark: THG-Workload (334MB)
Synthetic Benchmarks
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.01, GPU and CPU scores
PCMark VantageVersion: x64, System, Productivity, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks
SiSoftware Sandra 2010Version 2010.1.16.11, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
  • 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.
  • scrumworks
    Nice CPU choice you morons. My grandma could build a more balanced system.
  • manitoublack
    I'm with one-shot, 6core AMD for $200 can't be beat.
  • 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.
  • adbat
    I find it surprising that you are always successful in unlocking the 4th core
  • 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.
  • Tamz_msc
    Bad choice of components especially CPU and GPU
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Lady Slayer
    A Thermaltake V3 instead of the Antec 300 would have saved you $15