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System Builder Marathon: Performance And Value Compared

Test Settings

Base And Overclocked Performance Settings
Component$600 PC$1,300 PC$2,500 PC
CPUIntel Pentium E5200Intel Core i7 920Intel Core i7 920
2.50 GHz, FSB-8002.66 GHz, BCLK 133 MHz2.66 GHz, BCLK 133 MHz
CPU Overclock3.5 GHz (10.5x 333.3 MHz)3.44 GHz (20 x 172 MHz)3.25 GHz ( 21 x 155 MHz)
FSB-1333, 1.224 V Core1.296 V Core1.0375 V Core
RAMG.Skill F2-6400CL4D-4GBHKG.Skill 10666CL7T-6GBPKMushkin 998679 (6.0 GB Kit)
DDR2-800, 4-4-4-12, 1.80 VDDR3-1333, 8-8-8-19, 1.56 VDDR3-1600, 7-8-7-20, 1.65 V
RAM OverclockDDR2-800, 4-4-4-12, 1.80 VDDR3-1378, 8-8-8-19, 1.56 VDDR3-1550, 7-7-6-14, 1.65 V
MotherboardASRock G41M-LEDFI LANParty Jr X58-T3H6DFI LANParty Jr X58-T3H6
GraphicsXFX GeForce GTX 260-2162 x BFG GeForce GTX 2602 x EVGA GeForce GTX 295
576 Mhz GPU, GDDR3-2000590 MHz GPU, GDDR3-2000576 MHz GPU, GDDR3-2000
Graphics Overclock633 MHz GPU, GDDR3-2000600 MHz GPU, GDDR3-2060652 MHz GPU, GDDR3-2444
PowerOCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550FTYPC Power & Cooling S75QBCorsair CMPSU-1000HX
Hard DrivesSeagate 7200.12 500 GBWD Caviar Black 640 GB2 x Western Digital RE3 500 GB
SoundIntegrated HD AudioIntegrated HD AudioIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkingIntegrated Gigabit LANIntegrated Gigabit LANIntegrated Gigabit LAN

Further overclocking details can be found in the build article of each system.

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Very High Quality, No AA
Far Cry 2DirectX 10, in-game benchmark
Test Set 1: Very High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra High Quality, 4x AA
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear SkyAverage of 4 segments "A-Tested Object"
Test Set 1: High Preset, DirectX 10, EFDL, no MSAA
Test Set 2: High Preset, DirectX 10, EFDL, 4x MSAA
World In ConflictPatch 1009, DirectX 10, timedemo
Test 1: Very High Details, No AA / No AF
Test 2: Very High Details 4x AA / 16x AF
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunes 8Version: 8.1.0.52 (x64)
Audio CD ("Terminator II" SE), 53 min.
Default format AAC
Lame MP3Version: 3.98 64-bit (07-04-2008)
Audio CD "Terminator II" SE, 53 min.
.wav to MP3
TMPGEnc 4.6Version: 4.6.3.268
Import File: "Terminator 2" SE DVD (5 Minutes)
Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
DivX 6.8.5Encoding mode: Insane Quality
Enhanced multithreading enabled using SSE4
Quarter-pixel search
Xvid 1.2.1Display encoding status = off
Mainconcept Reference 1.6.1MPEG2 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)
Productivity
Autodesk 3ds Max 2009Version: 11.0, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)
Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus 8.5Version: 8.5.287, Virus database 2094, Benchmark: Scan 334 MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files
WinRAR 3.80Version 3.80, WinZip Command line Version 3.0, Compression = Best, Dictionary = 4,096 KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)
WinZip 12Version 12.0, 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 2009 SP3Version 2009.4.15.92, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / Multimedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark