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System Builder Marathon, Q4 2012: $2,000 Performance PC

Benchmark Results: 3DMark And PCMark

3DMark is primarily a graphics test, and we’re not surprised to see our current PC’s CrossFire configuration beat the single GeForce GTX 670 in last quarter's build. Even overclocking can't overcome the performance delta. Might we see our value gamble pay off after all?

PCMark puts quite a bit of emphasis on storage performance, despite its purpose as a general system metric. Naturally then, we expected both Mushkin SSD-equipped builds to generate similar scores.

By now we're used to seeing this suite use only four cores. So, the fact that our Ivy Bridge-based Core i7-3770K manages to slide past a Core i7-3930K isn't particularly surprising.

Remember that last quarter's baseline score was measured using Intel's RSTe driver, which improves data security at the expense of performance. We shifted over to Microsoft's default AHCI driver for that machine's overclocked configuration.

Overclocking can make software-based drive controllers perform better, but the conditioning each drive received is a more likely reason for the overclocked Q4 build’s greater storage performance. Although we're dealing with a consistent drive image and the exact same SSD, even letting each machine sit for different amounts of time can affect the outcome of storage subsystem testing. 

  • Novuake
    Yeah, should have gone for an ASRock board at the same price point...
    Reply
  • Crashman
    NovuakeYeah, should have gone for an ASRock board at the same price point...Maybe, maybe not, motherboard market has changed a little since the parts were bought and I've since seen some D5-series Gigabyte boards (with their better PWM) drop to $150...at least temporarily.
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    Too much of cheap CPU coolers
    Reply
  • For the next SBM build, use the "SAMSUNG 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) MV-3V4G3D/US". People are posting low timings with very high frequencies. Plus it is low profile (half the size of every other non-heatsink memory modules on the market) and operates at 1.35v (overvolt it to 1.65v without worry).
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147096
    Reply
  • kj3639
    After building that awful piledriver rig you go ahead and do something like this... and totally REDEEM YOURSELVES!!!

    -Good Job
    Reply
  • herooftimex
    Suggested changes:

    Core i5 3570k - savings of $120
    2x - MSI N670 PE 2GD5/OC - $800 (gtx 670 OC'd to 1019 core clock)

    Rosewill FORTRESS-750 - $140 (80 plus platinum + 7 year limited warranty)
    LIAN LI PC-7B plus II - $100 (gamer cases look tacky, less is more)
    Reply
  • JOSHSKORN
    I think Toms needs a new article: "The Dream Build" with gaming in mind.
    Reply
  • Darkerson
    kj3639After building that awful piledriver rig you go ahead and do something like this... and totally REDEEM YOURSELVES!!!-Good JobThey really had nothing to redeem themselves about. They went with something a little different, just to try it out. Id rather they go off the beaten path so we can get a better idea of how these builds would turn out without having to buy and build them ourselves.
    Also, if they didnt try something different, they would almost always be cookie-cutter builds until the next big thing came out. No thanks!
    At any rate, this is a really nice build. Have to say, though, I would be happy to win any of these.
    Reply
  • C12Friedman
    My first thought, I kept going back to it also, was the motherboard, why? I kept going 2nd page, 1st page, 2nd page, back to first page, confusion reigned in my head. Took me a while to get past the second page. But since it was addressed at the end of the article, I guess it's known.
    Reply
  • One think to consider are both Q3 and Q4 systems future proof. It's important for games and serious task to be able to extend life of your PC and Q4 in this category is certainly penny wise but pound foolish.
    Reply