The $750 Computing Challenge: Germany Versus USA

USA Versus Germany Comparison Table, Test Setup

Core 2 Duo E8500
(3.16 GHz dual-core, 6 MB L2 cache, FSB1333)
Core 2 Quad Q6600
(2.4 GHz quad-core, 2x 4 MB L2 cache, FSB1066)
CPU Cooler

Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro

EKL Alpenföhn Groß Clockner
Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3L
(P45 Chipset)
Asus P5QL-SE
(P43 Chipset)
G.Skill PI Black
2x 2 GB DDR2-800
Kingston ValueRAM
2x 2 GB DDR2-800
Hard Drive
Western Digital Caviar Green 1 TB
WD10EADS, 32 MB Cache, SATA/300, 5,400 RPM
Western Digital Caviar Blue 320 GB
WD3200AAKS, 16 MB Cache, SATA/300, 7,200 RPM
Sapphire 100245L Radeon HD 4850
512 MB
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870,
1 GB
Sound / Network
integrated on motherboardintegrated on motherboard
Antec Three HundredPNL-Tech Rasurbo BC-05
Power Supply
Antec EarthWatts EA 380
380 W
PNL-Tech ATX 64BIT 460WP
460 W
Optical Drive
Lite-On 20X DVD±R SATA
Model iHAS120-04
Samsung SH-S223F SATA
Total Cost
< $730 (570 Euros)~600 Euros ($775)

Please keep in mind that the exchange rate between Euros and dollars keeps changing. Also, the prices for Europe include a 19% VAT, while prices for North America typically exclude sales tax, which may differ from state to state.

The US team spent a larger part of its budget on the motherboard, the hard drive, the memory, and the case and power supply, while the German team focused on purchasing maximum performance by getting a quad core processor and a faster graphics card model. Let’s look at the results!

Benchmark Setup

3D Games Benchmarks and Settings
Version: 1.2.1, Video Mode: 1680x1050, Overall Quality: low, Demo: CPU-Benchmark2 + Tom's Hardware Tool
Unreal Tournament 3
Version: 1.2, Video Mode: 1680x1050, Sound and DirectX10, Video Quality: Texture Details: 1, Level Details: 1, Demo: vCTF-CONTAINMENT_fly, Time: 12/60
World In Conflict
Version:, Video Mode: 1680x1050 and 800x600, Video Quality: low details, Demo: Game-Benchmark
Audio Benchmarks and Settings
Lame MP3
Version 3.98, Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min, wave to mp3 conversion, 160 Kbps
Video Benchmarks and Settings
Mainconcept Reference 1.5.1
Reference H.264 Plugin Pro 1.5.1
Version: 1.5.1, MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264), MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2), Audio: MPEG2 (44.1 kHz, 2 Channel, 16 Bit, 224 kbps), Codec: H.264, Mode: PAL (25 FPS), Profile: Tom's Hardware Settings for Qct-Core
Application Benchmarks and settings
WinRAR 3.8
Version 3.80 BETA 4
WinZIP Commandline Version 2.3
Compression = Best
Dictionary = 4096 KB
Benchmark: THG-Workload
Autodesk 3D Studio Max 9
Version: 9.0
Rendering a Dragon picture
rendering HTDV 1920x1080
Adobe photoshop CS 3
Version: 10.0x20070321, Filtering from a 69 MB TIF-Photo, Benchmark: Tomshardware-Benchmark V1.0.0.4, Programmed by Tomshardware using Delphi 2007, Filters: Crosshatch, Glass, Sumi-e, Accented Edges, Angled, Strokes, Sprayed Strokes
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.02, Options: Performance, Graphics Test 1, Graphics Test 2, CPU Test 1, CPU Test 2
PCMark Vantage
Version: 1.00, PCMark Benchmark, Score: Memory, TV and Movies, Gaming, Music, Communications, Productivity, HDD, Windows Media Player

We used Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 for all tests.

Clock Speeds

Both the US and German teams decided to run the benchmarks at stock speeds and overclocked, to show the potential of their systems:

Clock Speeds
US: Core 2 Duo E8500
Germany: Core 2 Quad Q6600
Stock Speed
3.16 GHz (FSB1333)2.40 GHz (FSB1066)
Overclocked to
3.95 GHz (FSB1664)
3.05 GHz (FSB1352)