How We Tested Our Q2 2014 SBM Builds
The following tables include the stock and overclocked settings for this quarter's three System Builder Marathon configurations.
At the very bottom, you’ll find the programs and games used for benchmarking.
|Test Hardware Configurations|
|Row 0 - Cell 0||$600 Gaming PC||$1200 Enthusiast PC||$1600 Performance PC|
|Processor (Overclock)||AMD Athlon X4 750K: 3.4 to 4.0 GHz, Quad-CoreO/C to 4.20 GHz, 1.27 V||Intel Core i5-4670K: 3.4 to 3.8 GHz, Quad-CoreO/C to 4.3 GHz, 1.285 V||Intel Core i7-4770K: 3.5 GHz to 3.9 GHz, Quad-CoreO/C to 4.20 GHz, 1.29 V|
|Graphics (Overclock)||Radeon R7 265: 955 MHz GPU, GDDR5-5600O/C to 1050 MHz, GDDR5-5800||Radeon R9 290: 975 MHz GPU, GDDR5-5000O/C to 1100 MHz, GDDR5-5600||Radeon R9 290X: 1050 MHz GPU, GDDR5-5400O/C to 1100 MHz, GDDR5-6200|
|Memory (Overclock)||8 GB DDR3-1600 CAS 9-9-9-24, O/C to DDR3-1866 CAS 9-9-9-24, 1.63 V||8 GB DDR3-1600 CAS 9-9-9-24, no O/C||8 GB DDR3-1866 CAS 8-9-9-24, O/C to DDR3-2133 CL 9-10-10-27, 1.60 V|
|Motherboard (Overclock)||ASRock FM2A75M: Socket FM2+, AMD A75 (CPU internal O/C 2000 MHz HT)||ASRock Z97 Pro3: LGA 1150, Intel Z87 ExpressStock 100 MHz BCLK||Asus Z97-A: LGA 1150, Intel Z97 ExpressStock 100 MHz BCLK|
|Case||Rosewill Redbone U3||Apevia X-Hermes||CM Storm Scout 2 Advanced|
|CPU Cooler||AMD Athlon Boxed Fan (included)||Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus||Thermaltake NiC L32|
|Hard Drive||WD Blue WD10EZEX 1 TB, 7200 RPM, 64 MB Cache||WD Blue WD10EZEX 1 TB, 7200 RPM, 64 MB Cache||Samsung MZ-7TE250BW 250 GB SATA 6Gb/s SSD|
|Power||EVGA 100-W1-0430-KR: 430 W, ATX12V v2.31, 80 PLUS||Corsair CX750: 750 W, 80 PLUS Bronze||Rosewill HIVE-750: 750 W Semi-Modular, 80 PLUS Bronze|
|OS||Microsoft Windows 8 Pro x64||Microsoft Windows 8 Pro x64||Microsoft Windows 8 Pro x64|
|Graphics||AMD Catalyst 14.4||AMD Catalyst 14.4||AMD Catalyst 14.4|
|Chipset||Row 12 - Cell 1||Intel INF 22.214.171.1246||Intel INF 126.96.36.1996|
You’d expect at least 4.3 GHz from a Core i7-4770K, right? That average is what, around 4.4 GHz? And our own samples frequently reach 4.7 GHz. It's tempting to blame the previously-untested CPU cooler for my $1600 machine’s poor results, but that mid-priced part still managed to support the CPU to our previous limit voltage. And voltage is the biggest variable in heat, particularly when most of that heat is trapped under a layer of sub-par thermal interface material that Intel previously used between its die and heat spreader.
Overclocking issues are virtually non-existent for any of the other parts in this competition. Don usually reaches 4.3 GHz on his Core i5s, and usually leaves his memory underclocked for initial testing whenever standard clocks require XMP (since this was supposed to be an overclocking technology). Paul reached only 4.2 GHz where he might have hoped for 4.4 GHz. But he didn’t spend any money on CPU cooling, so he doesn't fare badly at all.
|Arma 3||V. 1.20 Current PC, V.1.08 Q1 PC 30-sec. Fraps "Infantry Showcase" Test Set 1: Standard Preset, No AA, Standard AF Test Set 2: Ultra Preset, 8x FSAA, Ultra AF|
|Battlefield 4||Version 188.8.131.52, 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|
|Far Cry 3||V. 1.05, 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 AMD/ HBAO NVidia|
|Grid 2||Version 184.108.40.20679, Direct X 11, Built-in Benchmark Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA Test Set 2: Ultra Quality, 8x MSAA|
|HandBrake CLI||Version: 0.99, Video: Video from Canon EOS 7D (1920x1080, 25 frames) 1 Minutes 22 Seconds, Audio: PCM-S16, 48,000 Hz, Two-channel, to Video: AVC1 Audio: AAC (High Profile)|
|iTunes||Version 220.127.116.11 x64: Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 minutes, default AAC format|
|LAME MP3||Version 3.98.3: Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min, convert WAV to MP3 audio format, Command: -b 160 --nores (160 Kb/s)|
|TotalCode Studio 2.5||Version: 18.104.22.16877, MPEG2 to H.264, MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2), Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, Two-channel, 16-bit, 224 Kb/s) Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV|
|Adobe Creative Suite|
|Adobe After Effects CC||Version 22.214.171.1244: Create Video, 3 Streams, 210 Frames, Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously|
|Adobe Photoshop CC||Version 14 x64: Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates|
|Adobe Premiere Pro CS6||Version 126.96.36.199, 6.61 GB MXF Project to H.264 to H.264 Blu-ray, Output 1920x1080, Maximum Quality|
|Adobe Acrobat XI||Version 11.0.0: Print PDF from 115 Page PowerPoint, 128-bit RC4 Encyption|
|ABBYY FineReader||Version 10.0.102.95: Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages|
|Autodesk 3ds Max 2013||Version 15.0 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, 248 Frames, 1440x1080|
|Blender||Version 2.68a, Cycles Engine, Syntax blender -b thg.blend -f 1, 1920x1080, 8x Anti-Aliasing, Render THG.blend frame 1|
|Visual Studio||Version 10.0, Compile Google Chrome, Scripted|
|7-Zip||Version 9.30 alpha, LZMA2, Syntax "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5" Benchmark: THG-Workload-2012 (1.3 GB)|
|WinRAR||Version 5.0, RAR, Syntax "winrar a -r -m3" Benchmark: THG-Workload-2012 (1.3 GB)|
|WinZip||Version 18.0 Pro, Syntax "-a -ez -p -r" Benchmark: THG-Workload-2012 (1.3 GB)|
|Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings|
|3DMark Professional||Version: 188.8.131.52, Fire Strike Standard and Extreme|
|PCMark 8||Version: 1.0.0 x64 Full Test|
|SiSoftware Sandra 2014||Version: 2014.02.20.10, Processor Arithmetic, Cryptography, Memory Bandwidth Benchmarks|
I got my two licenses for like, $20. Though I probably couldn't get any more like that, I don't need any more at the moment, thanks. If you don't want the OS, and you win my PC, just tell me and I'll keep it. Thanks!
Disposition should I be a fortunate winner:
1. Having not messed with a "new" Athlon, I might put a 92mm cooler on it and see what I can get out of it for a week or three. I'd almost certainly contribute a SSD to it, then most likely donate it to a startup I know of that actually is more in need of office-type PCs (but they do play some games).
2. If the motherboard were micro-ATX, I'd probably use most of these parts to upgrade / replace my Phoenix PC, as they represent a platform upgrade. It would be a substantial upgrade to my Omega PC, but I like the idea of maintaining that AM3+ system due to the overall quality of the parts in it. If the Apevia case surprises me due to its quality, I may use it anyway. One way or another, this would lead to another complete system donation though.
3. The parts in this one appear to be of sufficient quality / durability that I would probably end up forsaking the Omega PC for this one. I'd put its 990FX onto my test bench though to keep it around, and donate that one (MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming) as above.