This mid-range build has taught us a few things.
First, we should probably look to other, newer CPUs for higher overclocks. While the Q6600 is still a good choice for those who enjoy the speed that quad cores bring to applications optimized for them, overclockers would likely be better off with newer quad core CPUs or even newer dual core models like the E8400. While it’s true that many folks are having better luck than we have with our Q6600, it’s served us well and we’re ready to move on for the next System Builder Marathon.
While we could be happier with the overclocking result, the application performance increases hovered around 30% to 40%, which is a tangible real-world increase that isn’t easy to dismiss. The game benchmarks showed a lower increase due to dependence on the video cards, but it was still notable:
Our second conclusion is that two Radeon 4850 cards in a CrossFire configuration are a really great, cost-effective choice for a high-performance mid-range system. These cards took everything we threw at them at resolutions of up to 1920x1200. While we didn’t compare the new mid-range system to our previous mid-range System Builder Marathon configuration (because we modified some game settings in our new benchmark suite) the performance these cards provided in Crysis decimated the previous build that sported two 8800 GTS 512MB cards in SLI configuration. And the gap increased as the resolution went up, especially when we reached 1920x1200.
Now we’ll wait and see how the mid-range system and its overclock will compare to the low-end and high-end systems later in the Marathon. As always, stay tuned to see the results.