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System Builder Marathon: The $5,000 Extreme PC

Test Settings

$5,000 Extreme System Test Configuration
ComponentBase SettingsOverclock Settings
CPUIntel Core i7 9654.20 GHz (28x 150 MHz)
3.20 GHz, 8.0 MB Cache1.432 V Core
CPU CoolerCooler Master Aquagate MaxUnchanged
with Swiftech Radiator/Water Block
MotherboardAsus Rampage II ExtremeUnchanged
Intel X58/ICH10R Chipset, LGA-1366
RAMMushkin 998679 Triple-Channel Kit1,800 MHz data rate
3x 2.0 GB, CAS 7-8-7-201.65 V, CL 8-9-8-20
Graphics2x MSI GeForce GTX 295 in SLICore/Shader 690/1,520 MHz
Core/Shader 576/1,242 MHz, GDDR3-1898GDDR3-2160
Hard Drives2x Intel X25-M 80 GB SATA SSD RAID 0Unchanged
80 GB, MLC, 16 MB Cache (Per Drive)
SoundAsus SupremeFX X-Fi Audio Riser CardUnchanged
NetworkingIntegrated Gigabit NetworkingUnchanged
ChassisCooler Master Cosmos-S RC-1100Unchanged
PowerCooler Master RS-850-EMBAUnchanged
ATX12V v2.2. EPS12V, 850 W
OpticalLG Blu-ray Burner GGW-H20LKUnchanged
Additional Fans3x Scythe S-FLEX SFF21FUnchanged
Software
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP1
GraphicsNvidia GeForce 181.20
ChipsetIntel INF 8.3.0.1016
Benchmarks and Settings
3D Games
CrysisVersion: 1.2.1, Video Quality: Very High Details, Demo: CPU-Benchmark + Tom’s Hardware Tool
Supreme Commander Forged AllianceVersion: 1.5.3599, Video Quality: Highest Settings, Demo: WallaceTX_006_006, Benchmark: Fraps 2.9.4 - Build 7037
Unreal Tournament 3Version: 1.2, Sound and DirectX10, Texture Details: 5, Level Details: 5, Demo: vCTF-Reflection_bot, Time: 12/60
World in ConflictVersion: 1.0.0.9, Video Quality: Very High details, Demo: Game-Benchmark
Audio Encoding
iTunesVersion: 7.7.0.43, Audio CD "Terminator" II SE, 53 min, Default format AAC
Lame MP3Version: 3.98 Beta 3 (05-22-2007), Audio CD ""Terminator II" SE, 53 min, wave to MP3, 160 Kb/s
Video Encoding
TMPEG 4.5Version: 4.5.1.254, Import File: "Terminator 2" SE DVD (5 Minutes), Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
DivX 6.8.3Encoding mode: Insane Quality, Enhanced Multi-threading, Enabled using SSE4, Quarter-pixel search
XviD 1.1.3Display encoding status=off
Mainconcept Reference 1.5.1 Reference H.264 Plugin Pro 1.5.1MPEG2 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), Profile: Tom’s Hardware Settings for Qct-Core
Applications
Autodesk 3D Studio Max 9Version: 9.0, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)
Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus 8Version: 8.0.134, Virus base: 270.4.5/1533, Benchmark: Scan 334 MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files
Winrar 3.80Version 3.70 BETA 8, WinZIP Commandline Version 2.3, Compression=Best, Dictionary=4,096 KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)
Winzip 11Version 11.2, Compression=Best, Benchmark: THG-Workload (139 MB)
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.02, GPU and CPU scores
PCMark VantageVersion: 1.00, System, Memory, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks, Windows Media Player 10.00.00.3646
SiSoftware Sandra XII SP2Version 2008.5.14.24, CPU Test=CPU Arithmetic/MultiMedia, Memory Test=Bandwidth Benchmark
Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • xx12amanxx
    Nice article!

    I wish i could own a rig like that,but it would be that or a 383 stroker for the F-body..lol I can dream cant I?
    Reply
  • Crashman
    xx12amanxxNice article!I wish i could own a rig like that,but it would be that or a 383 stroker for the F-body..lol I can dream cant I?
    383 strokers are for copycats. Basically, too many bad 400 blocks and people found a cheap way to re-use the cranks to make their 350's bigger. If you have THIS kind of money, you'd might as well go BIG BORE too. Maybe a bowtie block? At any rate, you'll win more races with a real 400 (or larger custom size) so long as the block is good.
    Reply
  • one-shot
    It is interesting to note on Page 14. On the Sandra XII Multimedia test the Core i7 965 @ 4.2GHz scored 486,971, while the i7 920 @ 4.0GHz scored 386,867. The difference was 200MHz and made such a large difference. Did the Intel SSDs influence such a large gain in performance or the DDR3 @ 1800MHz or perhaps a combination of both?
    Reply
  • Crashman
    9469314 said:
    It is interesting to note on Page 14. On the Sandra XII Multimedia test the Core i7 965 @ 4.2GHz scored 486,971, while the i7 920 @ 4.0GHz scored 386,867. The difference was 200MHz and made such a large difference. Did the Intel SSDs influence such a large gain in performance or the DDR3 @ 1800MHz or perhaps a combination of both?

    The 965 has a higher-bandwidth QPI link, so it should be good for boosting at least a few synthetic scores.
    Reply
  • gim159
    BAH!! Why is it always Intel? Only Servers and people that wish they MAC should use Intel stuffs.. Who else is going to use all of it's features? Not gamers, that is for sure!! Like a gamer is going to spend the extra $$ for ECC memory and not spend it on more important stuff like a GC or a great board. That and an economy minded PC buyer will go AMD anytime, more bang for the buck...

    Also, Ati is better a better card, for linking I mean. The support may be crap, but it is usually worth it to get them! 4850 X2, Water cool one and watch the clock go through the roof!
    Reply
  • xx12amanxx
    Intel is the fastest thats why...This is supposed to be an uber rig.

    Ya crashman thats the problem i dont have that kind of money..lol A fresh stock rebuild bolt on's and spray will have to hold me off until better times!
    Reply
  • gim159
    ¿ "Intel is the fastest" ? Amd 2.0 is a 4.0 in the intel world...
    Reply
  • JeanLuc
    I would love to seen those Windows boot times with those RAID 0 Intel SDD's!
    Reply
  • gim159
    Yeah, Optimize the heck out of it and take all of the unnecessary stuff out.. Probably 4 sec boot, Awesome!
    Reply
  • Crashman
    xx12amanxxIntel is the fastest thats why...This is supposed to be an uber rig.Ya crashman thats the problem i dont have that kind of money..lol A fresh stock rebuild bolt on's and spray will have to hold me off until better times!
    I spec'd out a friend's 406 C.I. mouse a few years ago and he got through under $4500 with aluminum heads and a roller cam!
    Reply