Skip to main content

Part 1: Building A Balanced Gaming PC

Test System Configuration And Benchmarks

Test Hardware
ProcessorsIntel Core i7-920 (Bloomfield) 2.66 GHz, LGA 1366, 4.8 GT/s QPI, 8MB L3 cache Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 (Yorkfield) 2.83 GHz, LGA 775, FSB-1333, 12MB L2 cacheIntel Core 2 Duo E8400 (Wolfdale) 3.0GHz, LGA 775, FSB-1333, 6MB L2 cacheIntel Pentium E6300 (Wolfdale) 2.8 GHz, LGA 775, FSB-1066, 2MB L2 cache
MotherboardAsus Rampage II Extreme (LGA 1366) X58/ICH10, BIOS 1504 (07/23/09)Asus Rampage Formula (LGA 775), X48/ICH9R,BIOS 0902 (4-28-09)
RAMCorsair 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2-1066, 5-5-5-15Corsair 6GB (3 x 2GB) DDR3-1600, 8-8-8-24
GraphicsATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GBATI Radeon HD 4890 1GBATI Radeon HD 4850 512MBNvidia Geforce GTX 295 1792MBNvidia Geforce GTX 285 1GBNvidia Geforce GTX 260 896MB
Hard DriveWestern Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS, 640GB, 7,200 RPM, 32MB Cache, SATA 3Gb/s
PowerCorsair CMPSU-850HX 850W
CPU CoolerXigmatek HDT-S1283Xigmatek Dark Knight-S1283V
Software and Drivers
Operating SystemWindows Vista Ultimate Edition x64, Service Pack 1
Graphics DriversNvidia GeForce 190.62AMD Catalyst 9.8
Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool, Very High Quality, No AA
Far Cry 2Patch 1.03, DirectX 10, in-game benchmark, Ultra High Quality, 4x AA
S.T.A.L.K.E.R  Clear SkyAverage of four segments 'a-tested object', DirectX 10/10.1, Ultra High Quality, EFD Lighting, no MSAA
Grand Theft Auto IVPatch 1.0.4.0, in-game benchmark, High Quality Settings, High Textures, Medium View Distance
Fallout 3Patch 1.7, Custom THG Benchmark "Capital Wasteland" (60 sec.), Ultra High Quality, 4x MSAA, 15x AF
Race Driver : GRIDPatch 1.20, Custom THG Benchmark "Detroit Circuit" (45 sec.), Highest Quality, 4x AA
World In ConflictPatch 1009, DirectX 10, timedemo, Very High Quality, 4x AA / 16x AF
  • yoy0yo
    Wow, this is an amazingly in depth review! I kinda feel that its sponsered by Asus or Corsair, but I guess you kept with the same brand for the sake of controls etc.

    Thankyou!
    Reply
  • winner4455
    I see a great series coming
    Reply
  • inmytaxi
    Very helpful stuff.

    I'd like to see some discussion on the availability of sub $400 (at times as low as $280) 28" monitors. At this price range, does it make more sense to spend more on the LCD even if less is spent initially on graphics? I would think the benefit of 28" vs. 22" is so great that the extra money could be taken from, say, a 9550 + 4890 combo and getting a 8400/6300 + 4850 instead, with the right motherboard a second 4850 later will pass a 4890 anyway.
    Reply
  • frozenlead
    I like the balance charts. It's a good way to characterize the data. This article is well constructed and well thought-out.

    That being said - is there a way we can compile this data and compute an "optimized" system for the given hardware available? Finding the true, calculated sweet spot for performance/$ would be so nice to have on hand every quarter or twice a year. I'll have to think about this one for a while. There may be some concessions to make, and it might not even work out. But it would be so cool.
    Reply
  • ghost111
    Nice one.Now i want to see part two.
    Reply
  • Neggers
    I feel like the person that did this review got it finished alittle bit late. I can only assume he did all the testing some months back and has only just finished writing up his results. But its sad to not see the new P55/i5 Systems, AMD Athlon II Quad Cores, or the Radeon 5000 series.

    Good review, but hopefully it can be updated soon with some of the newer equipment thats out, to turn it into a fantastic guide for people.
    Reply
  • brockh
    Great job, this is the information people need to be seeing; the way people provide benchmarks these days hardly tells the story to most of the readers. It's definitely important to point out the disparities in ones CPU choice, rather than just assuming everyone uses the i7 all the sites choose. ;)

    Looking forward to part 2.
    Reply
  • sinny1
    wow! Awesome works! Can't wait til you guys get to the ATI 5000 series. Keep it up! :)
    Reply
  • Onyx2291
    This will take up some of my time. Even though I know how, it's nice to get a refresher every now and then.
    Reply
  • mohsh86
    you are really kidding me by not considering the ATI 5000 series, although am a fan of nvidia , but this is not fair !
    Reply