Test Systems And Benchmarks
We used two test systems that shared the same hard drive, CPU cooler, and memory in order to minimize the variables. The Intel system was benched both with the Pentium G6950 and Core i5-750 for comparison.
To keep the CPUs frosty, we needed something that'd work on both systems, providing better cooling than the stock pieces and cheap enough to apply to budget overclocking systems. It wouldn't make sense to put a $50 cooler on a $100 CPU. The resulting cost would approach the price of a retail Core i5-750 and its stock cooler.
For this task we chose the Cooler Master TX3. While it's far from the most effective cooler out there, its $15 price tag makes it an ideal fit. Plus, it's compatible with Socket AM3 and LGA 1156 interfaces. With the fan running at 100%, the TX3 provides fairly good cooling performance, although it's a little louder than we'd like. But when you're overclocking on a budget, performance and price are more important than comfort.
For the AMD system, we chose to use Asus' M4A785TD-V EVO motherboard, a solid piece built around the 785G chipset that has good memory support and overclocking prowess. At just under $100 online, it is a solid low-cost overclocking board.
For the Intel system, we wanted to use the P55 chipset at a reasonable price (since we weren't planning to employ Intel's on-package integrated graphics). Our choice was Gigabyte's GA-P55-UD3L that costs $105 online, fairly close to the price of our AMD board. Unfortunately we couldn't get a hold of one in time so our testing was done on the considerably more expensive GA-P55-UD4P. Performance should be identical though, as both boards use the same P55 chipset. The good news is that we will be testing the CPU on a comparably-priced board in our follow-up article.
|Intel Test System||AMD Test System|
|CPU||Intel Pentium G6950 2.8 GHz Dual-core, 3MB L3 CacheIntel Core i5-750 2.66 GHz Quad-core, 8MB L3 Cache||AMD Phenom II X2 555 (Deneb),3.2 GHz, 2,000 MHz HT, 6MB L3Cache|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte P55-UD4P LGA 1156 Chipset: Intel P55 Express||Asus M4A785TD-V EVO Socket AM3 Chipset: AMD 785G, BIOS 0410|
|Networking||Onboard Gigabit LAN controller|
|Memory||Mushkin PC3-10700 2 x 2,048MB, DDR3-1066, CL 7-8-8-24-1-1TOverclocked: DDR3-1260, CL 8-9-9-24-1T||Mushkin PC3-10700 2 x 2,048MB, DDR3-1333, CL 9-9-9-24-1TOverclocked:DDR3-1426, CL 9-9-9-24-1T|
|Graphics||XFX Radeon HD 5850(underclocked to reference speeds) 1GB GDDR5 Radeon HD 5850 GPU at 725 MHz|
|Hard Drive||Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB 7,200 RPM, 32MB Cache SATA 3.0 Gb/s|
|Power||Corsair CMPSU-750HX 750W ATX12V, EPS12V , 80-Plus Certified|
|Software and Drivers|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 7 x64|
|DirectX version||DirectX 11|
|Graphics Drivers||ATI Catalyst 9.12|
|Crysis||Patch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool High Quality, No AA|
|Fallout 3||Patch 1.7, Saved Game "Capital Wasteland" (60 sec) Highest Details, No AA, No AF|
|Far Cry 2||Patch 1.03, DirectX 10, in-game benchmark Ultra High Quality, No AA|
|Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X||Patch 1.02, DirectX 10.1, in-game benchmark Highest Settings, No AA|
|World in Conflict||Patch 1009, DirectX 10, timedemo Very High Details, No AA / No AF|
|iTunes 8||Version: 126.96.36.199 (x64) Audio CD ("Terminator II" SE), 53 min Default format AAC|
|Lame MP3||Version: 3.98.2, wave to MP3 Audio CD "Terminator II" SE, 53 min wave to MP3|
|TMPGEnc 4.0 Express||Version: 188.8.131.522 Import File: "Terminator 2" SE DVD (5 Minutes) Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9|
|DivX 6.8.5||Encoding mode: Insane Quality Enhanced multithreading enabled using SSE4 Quarter-pixel search|
|XviD 1.2.2||Display encoding status = off|
|MainConcept Reference 1.6.1 Reference H.264 Plugin Pro 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 Kb/s), Mode: PAL (25 FPS)|
|Adobe Photoshop CS4 (64-bit)||Version: 11.0 Extended, Filter 15.7MB TIF Image Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates|
|Autodesk 3ds Max 2010||Version: 11.0, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)|
|Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus 8.5||Version: 8.5.287, Virus database 2094, Benchmark: Scan 334MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files|
|WinRAR 3.90||Version x64 3.90, Dictionary = 4,096KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334MB)|
|WinZip 12||Version 12.1, WinZip Command Line Version 3.0 Compression = Best, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334MB)|
|3DMark Vantage||Version: 1.01, GPU and CPU scores|
|PCMark Vantage||Version: 1.00, System, Memory, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks, Windows Media Player 10.00.00.3646|
|SiSoftware Sandra 2009 SP4a||Version 2009.9.15.130, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark|