System Builder Marathon: Mid-Cost System

Test System & Benchmarks

Now that we've looked at our choices and justifications in detail, let's recap one more time:

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SBM Mid-Range PC System Hardware
ProcessorIntel Core2 Quad CPU Q6700, 2.66 GHz, 1066 FSB, 8 MB Cache
MotherboardAsus P5N-T Deluxe, BIOS 0903 (03/06/2008)
RAMCrucial Ballistix PC2-6400, 4x 1024 MB, CAS 4.0-4-4-12
Hard Drive1x Western Digital Raptor 150 GB1x Western Digital Caviar 500 GB
NetworkingNVIDIA nForce onboard Gigabit Ethernet NIC
Graphics CardsEVGA GeForce 8800 GTX, 768 MB RAM575 MHz GPU, 1800 MHz RAM Data Rate
Power SupplyPC Power & Cooling Silencer S75Q (750W, ATX12V)
System Software & Drivers
OSWindows Vista Ultimate 6.0.6000 (Vista Retail)
DirectX VersionDirectX 10.0
Platform DrivernVIDIA nForce Version 9.46
Graphics DrivernVIDIA ForceWare 169.25

Building the mid-range system went well, but we had to deal with a boot issue.

The problem we had with booting only occurred when we first configured the system; we could not boot to the OS because the PC would shut down in pre-boot. This also prevented us from installing Vista, and occurred when idling in the BIOS or running testing applications such as KillDisk.

After some quick research online we found out that this is a common problem with the ASUS P5N-T motherboard, and that it can be resolved with a BIOS update. Once we flashed the new BIOS, everything was smooth sailing and we had no other stability issues.

We have completely revamped our test suite this time, so unfortunately we won't be comparing results with the previous builds until the next system builder marathon.

Below are the test settings we've used for our myriad benchmarks and tests.

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Benchmarks and Settings
CrysisVersion: 1.1Video Quality 1: High Details No Anti-AliasingVideo Quality 2: Very High Details, 4x Anti-AliasingBenchmark: Benchmark_CPU.bat
PreyVersion: 1.3Video Quality 1: Default (No AA, 8x AF)Video Quality 2: High Quality, 4x AABenchmark: THG-Demo
Supreme CommanderVersion: 3.220Video Quality 1: DefaultVideo Quality 2: High Fidelity, High Shadow, 4x AABenchmark: Real 60 Game
Unreal Tournament 3Version: RetailTexture Detail: 5World Detail: 5Field of View: 100Benchmark: Botmatch (WAR-Torlan, 12 bots, 1 Minute)
Warhammer Mark of ChaosVersion: 1.6Video Quality:Default (Highest Settings)Demo: THG Timedemo (1 Minute)
iTunes 7.2Version: CD "Terminator II SE", 53 minHigh Quality (160kb/s)
Lame MP3Version: 3.98 Beta 3 (05-22-2007)Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 minwave to MP3160kb/s
TMPEGEnc 4.0 XpressVersion: File: Terminator 2 SE DVD (2 Minutes)Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9Audio: Dolby Digital, 48000 Hz, 6-Channel, EnglishAdvanced Acoustic Engine MP3 Encoder (160kb/s)
DivX 6.6Version: 6.6.1Profile: Home Theater Profile (720 x 576)1-pass, 780 kb/sEncoding mode: Insane QualityEnhanced multithreading
XviD 1.1.2Version: 1.1.2Target quantizer: 1.00 (maximum quality)
Adobe Photoshop CS3Version: 10.0x20070321Filtering 69 MB TIF PhotoBenchmark: Tom's Guide-Benchmark V1.0.0.4
Autodesk 3D Studio MaxVersion: 9.0Rendering One Video FrameQuality: HTDV 1920x1080 & 1280x720
Grisoft AVG Anti-VirusVersion: 7.5.467Virus Base: 269.6.1/776Benchmark: Scanning 3.82 GB Application Folder
Maxon Cinema 4DVersion: 10.008Resolution: 1280 x 1024Benchmark: Rose Drop, 8-bits (50 Frames)
Rarlab WinrarVersion 3.70 BETA 8Compression = BestDictionary = 4096 kBUncompressed Folder Size: 642 MB
SPECviewperf 9Version: 9.0.3
PCMark05 ProVersion: 1.1.0System, CPU and Memory TestsWindows Media Player 11.0.6000.6324Windows Media Encoder
Futuremark 3DMark 2006Version 1.10System Test Only
SiSoftware Sandra XIIVersion 2007.5.11.40CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic, MultimediaMemory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark

Once again, we will be looking at the results in isolation and conclusions will be difficult to draw in some cases. However, later in the week we will be comparing all of the systems in the marathon against each other for a more meaningful analysis.

  • crites
    Why wouldn't you put 1066MHz (PC2-8500) memory on this machine?
  • OS43
    I assume they are using Cas 4 memory, which you are not going to find in this price range at PC2-8500.
  • AngryClown
    This build is identical to my current rig, except I chose an 8800GT, and the Q6600 oc'd to 2.88. It plows through AVCHD editing, and Oblivion.

    I spent weeks researching the best price points. Good job guys.