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System Builder Marathon, June 2011: $1000 Enthusiast PC

Test System And Benchmarks

Since the current and previous $1000 System Builder Marathon PCs use the same CPU and clock rates, we don’t expect to see much difference in many of the processor-bound tests in our suite. The newer system does have a slightly-faster hard drive, but last quarter's system included lower-latency memory.

We will, however, see some differences between the firmware-unlocked Radeon HD 6950 and this quarter's pair of Radeon HD 6850 cards in CrossFire. Will the dual-card configuration rule the roost, or can the Radeon HD 6950’s 2 GB of memory even the odds at high resolutions with anti-aliasing applied?

Current $1000 Enthusiast PC Test Settings
Standard SpeedOverclocked
MotherboardMSI P67A-G43 LGA 1155, Intel P67 chipsetUnchanged
ProcessorIntel Core i5-2500K3.3 GHz (3.7 GHz Turbo Boost), Quad-Core, 6 MB L3 Cache4500 MHz at 1.4 V
MemoryG.Skill Ripjaws 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) DDR3-1333 Dual-Channel Desktop Memory Kit, CAS 9-9-9-22-1TUnchanged
Graphics2 x Gigabyte Radeon HD 6850  1 GB GDDR5 @ 1050 MHzGPU @ 820 MHzGDDR5 @ 1100 MHz GPU @ 875 MHz
Hard DrivesWestern Digital Caviar Black 750 GB 750 GB, 7200 RPM, 32 MB cache SATA 3Gb/sUnchanged
OpticalLG GH22MS7022x DVD BurnerUnchanged
CaseXclio NighthawkUnchanged
PowerCorsair CMPSU-650TX 650 W ATX12V, EPS12V, 80 PLUS-CertifiedUnchanged
March 2011 $1000 Enthusiast PC Test Settings
Standard SpeedOverclocked
MotherboardASRock P67 Extreme4 LGA 1155, Intel P67 chipsetUnchanged
ProcessorIntel Core i5-2500K3.3 GHz (3.7 GHz Turbo Boost), Quad-Core, 6 MB L3 Cache4400 MHz at 1.4 V
MemoryG.Skill Ripjaws 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) DDR3-1333 Dual-Channel Desktop Memory Kit, CAS 7-7-7-20-1TUnchanged
GraphicsGigabyte Radeon HD 6950  2 GB GDDR5 @ 1250 MHz1408-shader Cayman GPU @ 800 MHzGDDR5 @ 1300 MHz GPU modded to 1536 shaders @ 880 MHz
Hard DrivesSamsung Spinpoint 1 TB 1 TB, 7200 RPM, 32 MB cache SATA 3Gb/sUnchanged
OpticalAsus DRW-24B1ST24x DVD BurnerUnchanged
CaseIn-Win AndroidUnchanged
PowerCorsair CMPSU-650TX 650 W ATX12V, EPS12V, 80 PLUS-CertifiedUnchanged

And here's the list of benchmarks:

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
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
Just Cause 2In-game benchmark: Concrete JungleTest Set 1: Medium Details, No AA, 8x AFTest Set 2: Highest Details, 8x AA, 16x AF
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
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
3DMark 11Version: 1.0.1.0, Benchmark Only
PCMark VantageVersion: 1.0.1.0 x64, System, Productivity, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks
SiSoftware Sandra 2011Version 2011.1.17.15, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
  • seller417
    650W is enough power for this rig?
    Reply
  • kelby0320
    Radeon HD 9950 I want one
    Reply
  • whysobluepandabear
    What? 6850 x 2 = $340? Um, I could get TWO 6870's for $350~ EASY. Sure, they have mail in rebates, but who cares.


    Two 6870's would stomp the 6850's, and you would literally spend the same, if not a measly $10 more.
    Reply
  • quixilver1
    Why change the cooler from the $200 pc. It is only $5 more and still within the budget.
    Reply
  • whysobluepandabear
    seller417650W is enough power for this rig?Well, looking into my tarot cards and crystal ball, I see It peaks at 400W at full load. So yeah, I think 650W may be a bit of an overkill.
    Reply
  • quixilver1
    quixilver1Why change the cooler from the $200 pc. It is only $5 more and still within the budget.Should read $2000 pc.
    Reply
  • Tamz_msc
    Overall, its a good build.
    Reply
  • iam2thecrowe
    whysobluepandabearWell, looking into my tarot cards and crystal ball, I see It peaks at 400W at full load. So yeah, I think 650W may be a bit of an overkill.Why would it be overkill? Its the kind of headroom you should have so your not straining the psu. Sure you could get away with less, but for a few dollars more than a 500w unit you can get a 650w. Its perfectly balanced and leaves room for upgrade. Its good to see what 2 6850's can do but i think if I were building this PC i would chose a faster single card and upgrade to dual cards later.
    Reply
  • akorzan
    seller417650W is enough power for this rig?Yes. There is a misconception that rigs need over-sized power supplies. I have a Core i7 875k and a Radeon HD5850 running on a 400 Watt power-supply. Is it pushing it? Yes, if I clock it to 4.2 GHz and run Furmark and Prime95 none stop...
    No if I run Furmark and Prime95 at 3.33 GHz, and definitely no for any realistic workloads.
    Why did I get a 400 watt power-supply? Because it is darn silent and was recommended on Silent PC Review for "budget" power-supplies. (Bare in mind that "normal" are gold SeaSonics)
    Reply
  • whysobluepandabear
    iam2thecroweWhy would it be overkill? Its the kind of headroom you should have so your not straining the psu. Sure you could get away with less, but for a few dollars more than a 500w unit you can get a 650w. Its perfectly balanced and leaves room for upgrade. Its good to see what 2 6850's can do but i think if I were building this PC i would chose a faster single card and upgrade to dual cards later.
    Because he was asking if 650W was enough, when all he had to do was look at the chart and clearly see the 399W max system (CPU+GPU) load.


    So essentially, for that system, the 650W is more than enough, and ...effectively an "Overkill".
    Reply