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System Builder Marathon: $625 Gaming PC

Test System And Benchmarks

$625 Gaming PC System Test Configuration
ComponentBase SettingsOverclock Setting
CPUIntel Core 2 Duo E7300 2.667 GHz, FSB-1066, 3 MB Cache3.8 GHz (9.5x 400 MHz), FSB-1600 1.488 V Core
CPU CoolerArctic Cooling Freezer 7 ProArctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro 100% Fan
MotherboardGigabyte GA-EP45-DS3L Intel P45, BIOS F10 (11/10/2008)Unchanged
RAM4.0 GB Patriot Viper PC2 6400 2x 2048 MB, DDR2-800, CL 4-4-4-12 2T at 2.10 VUnchanged
GraphicsSapphire 100245L Radeon HD 4850 512 MB 625 MHz GPU, 1,986 MHz Memory Data Rate740 MHz GPU, 2,390 MHz Memory 100% Fan
Hard DrivesSeagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500 GB, 72,000 RPM, 32 MB CacheUnchanged
SoundIntegrated 8-Channel HD AudioUnchanged
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit NetworkingUnchanged
PowerAntec NeoPower 430 WUnchanged
OpticalLITE-ON 20X DVD±R SATA Model iHAS120-04Unchanged
Software and Drivers
Operating SystemWindows Vista Ultimate 32-bit, SP1Unchanged
Graphics DriverAMD Catalyst 8.12Unchanged
Onboard Device DriversIntel

The benchmarks are as follows:

3D Game Benchmarks and Settings
CrysisVersion: 1.2.1 Video Quality: Very High Details Demo: CPU-Benchmark + Tom's Hardware Tool
Supreme Commander Forged AllianceVersion: 1.5.3599 Video Quality: Highest Settings Demo: WallaceTX_006_006 Benchmark: Fraps 2.9.4 - Build 7037
Unreal Tournament 3Version: 1.2 Sound and DirectX10 Texture Details: 5 Level Details: 5 Demo: vCTF-Reflection_bot Time: 12/60
World in ConflictVersion: Video Quality: Very High details Demo: Game-Benchmark
Audio Benchmarks and Settings
iTunesVersion: Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 min Default format AAC
Lame MP3Version: 3.98 Beta 3 (05-22-2007) Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min wave to MP3<br> 160 Kb/s
Video Benchmarks and Settings
TMPEG 4.5Version: Import File: Terminator 2 SE DVD (5 Minutes) Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
DivX 6.8.3Encoding mode: Insane Quality Enhanced multi-threading Enabled using SSE4 Quarter-pixel search
XviD 1.1.3Display encoding status = off
Mainconcept Reference 1.5.1 Reference H.264 Plugin Pro 1.5.1MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264) MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2) Audio: MPEG2 (44.1 kHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kbps) Mode: PAL (25 FPS) Profile: Tom's Hardware Settings for Qct-Core
Application Benchmarks and Settings
Autodesk 3D Studio Max 9Version: 9.0 Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)
Adobe Photoshop CS 3Version: 10.0x20070321 Filtering from a 69 MB TIF-Photo<br> Benchmark: Tomshardware-Benchmark V1.0.0.4 Filters: Crosshatch, Glass, Sumi-e, Accented Edges,  Angled Strokes, Sprayed Strokes
Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus 8Version: 8.0.1 Virus base: 270.4.5/1533 Benchmark: Scan 334 MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files
Winrar 3.80Version 3.70 BETA 8 WinZIP Commandline Version 2.3 Compression = Best Dictionary = 4,096 KB Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)
Winzip 11Version 11.2 Compression = Best Benchmark: THG-Workload (139 MB)
Sythetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.02 GPU and CPU scores
PCMark VantageVersion: 1.00 System, Memory, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks Windows Media Player
SiSoftware Sandra XII SP2Version 2008.5.14.24 CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
  • spirto
    once again no amd setup? i thought you said you were going to give us amd users a smb
  • DFGum
    Sure they could give a 625 dollar AMD setup, but it just wouldnt be as good at this time so why bother?
    Its always about value at the price points.
  • JeanLuc
    What’s the point in an AMD setup when the Intel option gives you better value for money?
  • Claimintru
    Negative'd you Spirto for being a mindless fanboy.
  • V3NOM
    lol... my e5200 crapped out at 3.7ghz 1.4vcore... someone i know got his e7300 to 4.0ghz at some ridiculous vcore though lol... it really depends on teh chip. some get good VID's, some get bad. some overclock good, some overclock crap, its the natura of binning. naturally e8400's would be binned more than the 5 and 7 series, and the e8500/8600 would be better still.
  • when r u guys gonna write about the nvidia ion platform?!?!?!?!
  • zodiacfml
    i wouldn't risk buying an e7300 over an e5200. i have built amd systems, now i'm regretting why i didn't bought pentium dual core which are practically core2duo's with less cache.

    regarding nvidia ion, i think intel is thinking deeply of whether they allow nvidia to Atom since netbooks still sell without it.
  • Veesofnaught
    I actually just got done purchasing parts for a new pc that ended up being around that same price. This is my first time building a PC so I'm not sure if I could have done better, but I think it's worth mentioning if anyone is interested in going for a Quad Core instead of the Dual Core.

    Intel Quad Core Q6600
    Asus P5QL Pro Motherboard
    NVidia 9800 GTX
    GSkill 4 Gb Ram
    580 Watt PSU
    Rosewill Mid-Tower
    160 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive
    SATA CD/DVD Burner
  • Master Exon
    I guess I will share my for-Christmas build with TH.

    $82 2.5GHz E5200 45nm C2D
    $0 (no CPU cooler)
    $54 ASUS P5KPL-CM
    $34 A-DATA 2x2GB (4GB) DDR2 800
    $200 GeForce 260
    $55 WD 320GB WD3200AAKS
    $0 integrated sound
    $0 integrated network
    $12 Spray painted an old beige case black.
    $67 500W SeaSonic
    $22 LG DVD burner
    $10 card reader

    $526 Total

    I don't see why they didn't shave off $40 for the cheaper CPU
  • weinheimer
    That is a nicely configured system at fair pricing