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System Builder Marathon, June 2011: Value Compared

Test Settings

 

Test Hardware Configurations
$500 PC$1000 PC$2000 PC
Motherboard (Overclock)ASRock H61M-VS LGA 1155, Intel H61 ExpressNo BCLK O/CMSI P67A-G43 LGA 1155, Intel P67 chipsetNo BCLK O/CASRock Z68 Extreme4 LGA 1155, Intel Z68 Express100.1 MHz BCLK
Processor (Overclock)Intel Core i3-2100 LGA 1155 3.1-3.1 GHz, 3 MB CacheNo Core O/CIntel Core i5-2500K LGA 1155 3.3-3.7 GHz, 6 MB CacheO/C to to 4.49 GHz, 1.40 VIntel Core i7-2600K 3.40 GHz, 8 MB CacheO/C to to 4.70 GHz, 1.38 V
Memory (Overclock)4 GB Crucial DDR3-1333 CAS 9-9-9-24, O/C at 1.60 V to DDR3-1333 CL 8-8-8-244 GB G.Skill DDR3-1333 CAS 7-7-7-20, No O/C8 GB G.Skill DDR3-1600 CAS 8-8-8-24, O/C at 1.60 V to DDR3-1602 CL 8-8-8-24
Graphics (Overclock)Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 775 MHz GPU,  GDDR5-4000O/C to 850 MHz, GDDR5-46002 x Gigabyte Radeon HD 6850 1GB 820 MHz GPU, GDDR5-4200O/C to 875 MHz, GDDR5-44002 x MSI Radeon HD 6970 880 MHz GPU,  GDDR5-5500O/C to 950 MHz, GDDR5-5800
OpticalAsus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS 24x DVD±R, 48x CD-RLG GH22NS70 DVD-RW 22x DVD±R, 48x CD-RLG WH10LS30 BD-RE 10x BD-R, 16x DVD±R
CaseXigmatek Asgard IIXclio NighthawkLian-Li PC-9F
CPU CoolerIntel boxed heatsink/fanXigmatek Loki SD963Xigmatek Gaia SD1283
Hard DriveSeagate ST3500413AS 500 GB, 7200 RPM HDDWestern Digital WD7501AALS 750 GB, 7200 RPM HDD2 x A-Data S599 SSD, Striped 64 GB x 2 (128 GB Combined)
PowerAntec EA380D 380 W ATX12V v2.3, 80 PLUS BronzeCorsair CMPSU-650TX 650 W ATX12V v2.2, 80 PLUSSeasonic SS-850HT 850 W ATX12V v2.31, 80 PLUS Silver
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
GraphicsAMD Catalyst 11.5
ChipsetIntel INF 9.2.0.1030

New to our June 2011 roundup is the latest synthetic from FutureMark, PCMark 7. While we didn’t have the data to compare our previous builds to their replacements, we can now use it to compare our three current builds to each other.

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, 8x AA
F1 2010V1.01, Run with -benchmark example_benchmark.xml Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 8x AA
Just Cause 2Version 1.0.0.2, Built-In Benchmark "Concrete Jungle" Test Set 1: Medium Details, No AA, 8x AF Test Set 2: Highest Details, 8x AA, 16x AF
Metro 2033Full Game, Built-In Benchmark, "Frontline" Scene Test Set 1: DX11, High, AAA, 4x AF, No PhysX, No DoF Test Set 2: DX11, Very High, 4x AA, 16x AF, No PhysX, DoF On
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunesVersion 9.0.3.15 x64: Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 minutes, default AAC format
Lame MP3Version 3.98.3: Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min, convert WAV to MP3 audio format, Command: -b 160 --nores (160 kb/s)
Handbrake CLIVersion 0.94: "Big Buck Bunny" (720x480, 23.972 FPS) 5 Minutes, Audio: Dolby Digital, 48 000 Hz, Six-Channel, English, to Video: AVC Audio: AC3 Audio2: AAC (High Profile)
MainConcept ReferenceVersion: 2.0.0.1555: MPEG-2 to H.264, MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2), Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 kb/s), Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV
Productivity
Adobe Photoshop CS5Version 12.0 x64: Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Autodesk 3ds Max 2010Version 12.0 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, 248 Frames, 1440x1080
WinZipVersion 14.0 Pro: THG-Workload (464 MB) to ZIP, command line switches "-a -ez -p -r"
WinRARVersion 4.0 Beta 4: THG-Workload (464 MB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"
7-ZipVersion 9.2: THG-Workload (464 MB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5"
ABBYY FineReaderVersion 10.0.102.82: Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark 11Version: 1.0.1.0, Benchmark Only
PCMark 7Version: 1.0.4, System, Productivity, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks
SiSoftware Sandra 2011Version 2011.1.17.15, 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.
  • jricha51
    Would it be possible for me to run the same benchmarks? I have a AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ Windsor 2.8GHz Socket AM2 89W Dual-Core Processor (don't laugh). It is time to upgrade. I am considering the 2500K. Will I get 10X-20X faster video encodes? Even more?
    Reply
  • haplo602
    can you guys run the phoroxin test suite pts/multicore set in the future ? usualy the other sets are worthless but the multicore is a nice one to see.
    Reply
  • compton
    Well, here's to another SBM. For the last several quarters I've been lamenting AMDs inability to keep pace with Intel's relentless cadence. I sincerely hope that the next round of SBM will feature a AMD processor -- even better if it can claw out a spot one of the big-boy builds. I know I decided not to wait to get my Sandy on, but it AMD can come anywhere close I'll sell my SB rig on ebay. AMD, you know what you have to do, and if you can do it with Bulldozer, I'll be waiting in line to get one.
    Reply
  • jestersage
    Hmmm... that ridiculously cut-down asrock mobo in the $500 build makes me want to see another 'portable' lan-gaming-rig SBM. Emphasis on the portable because the SBM that tackled that theme came up with some really 'big' cases that still needed 2 hands to carry.

    With itx form factor increasingly available on the market for cases, PSUs, mobos, and even HSFs, I think another round might come up with a more exciting SFF-SBM.
    Reply
  • SpadeM
    jricha51Would it be possible for me to run the same benchmarks? I have a AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ Windsor 2.8GHz Socket AM2 89W Dual-Core Processor (don't laugh). It is time to upgrade. I am considering the 2500K. Will I get 10X-20X faster video encodes? Even more?
    See for yourself http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/30?vs=288

    Reply
  • DavC
    jricha51Would it be possible for me to run the same benchmarks? I have a AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ Windsor 2.8GHz Socket AM2 89W Dual-Core Processor (don't laugh). It is time to upgrade. I am considering the 2500K. Will I get 10X-20X faster video encodes? Even more?i doubt it will be that much of an improvement. Got a friend who upgraded from a 5000+ to i3-2100 and the improvment on video conversion was around 2-3 times quicker. I'd imagine the jump from the i3 to an i5 would be about the same for that task, so i'd guess it would be 5x faster or so.
    Reply
  • whysobluepandabear
    Anyone should have seen this coming, mid-range is ALWAYS the best value.


    You pay to have the latest and greatest, but like said, it carries diminishing returns.


    With that being the case, It's pretty amazing what you can get these days for under $500. Obviously the $1000 build is in a MUCH better position to be upgraded, as the PSU and Mobo give you greater options. The case and cpu-cooler also are breaking points for me - leaving the $1000 build as the most sensible; In terms of performance and future upgrade paths.
    Reply
  • whysobluepandabear
    DavCi doubt it will be that much of an improvement. Got a friend who upgraded from a 5000+ to i3-2100 and the improvment on video conversion was around 2-3 times quicker. I'd imagine the jump from the i3 to an i5 would be about the same for that task, so i'd guess it would be 5x faster or so.Not quite. If whatever he's doing can utilize Quick Sync, then expect some BLAZING ass encoding times.

    The 2500k on a Z68 with Quick Sync can dramatically cut down times....
    Reply
  • jricha51
    See for yourself http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/30?vs=288

    Thanks for the link. Did AMD release 2 different 5600+? "AMD Athlon X2 5600+ - 2.9GHz - 1MB L2" and "AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ Windsor 2.8GHz Socket AM2 89W Dual-Core Processor"

    On all video benchmarks you linked to, the i5 was ~3-5 times faster. My ancient dual core is hanging in there a bit better than I expected. But I think my CPU is a generation older than that link (2.8 vs 2.9GHz)??? And since it is not all about GHz, mine may suck more than it looks?

    The charts I find with my exact CPU (like http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/desktop-cpu-charts-q3-2008/Nero-8-Recode,838.html )have older benchmarks and don't include the newer chips.

    Not quite. If whatever he's doing can utilize Quick Sync, then expect some BLAZING ass encoding times.

    The 2500k on a Z68 with Quick Sync can dramatically cut down times....

    Does handbrake use Quick Sync? I do some video editing and light gaming, but mostly converting formats & compressing video in handbrake.

    Reply
  • cknobman
    More likely is that a gamer would buy a value-oriented system for resolutions of up to 1680x1050.

    I disagree with you here. I have been gaming with a $500/dollar value build for a while now and I refuse to go lower than 1920x1080. Due to that being the standard resolution for high definition and most monitors today start there and go up I think this is a more realistic starting point for resolutions for anyone building a NEW computer (considering they are buying a NEW display to go with it).
    Reply