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System Builder Marathon: $500 Gaming PC

Benchmark Results: Synthetics

Synthetics

The System Builder Marathon team decided to put two 3D Mark Vantage scores in this month for the $500 PC and its GPU PhysX-enabled 8800 GT and drivers. For the first run, we used default settings, which most readers will likely use, while PPU was disabled and hardware PhysX was shut off for the second run.

Let’s now take a closer look at these scores.

The substantial boost seen in the Performance profile comes from the second CPU test, where the physics workload is shifted from the CPU to the available PhysX hardware, which in this case is not a dedicated PhysX card, but our GeForce 8800 GT. For the overclocked PC, the overall CPU score jumps from around 5,200 in each profile with PPU disabled to 26,000 at default settings. Although this doesn’t weigh in heavy in the Extreme overall score, it does in the Performance profile test.

Including both charts allows for a fair comparison of the direct scores among all our System Builder Marathon machines, but doing this also allows us to take advantage of these synthetic benchmarks to look at the exciting possibilities that GPU PhysX offers.

Owners of a GeForce 8-series card or newer who want to experience GPU PhysX now can download the GeForce Power Pack from Nvidia’s site that contains, among other things, the Unreal Tournament PhysX Mod and the game War Monger.

Also, if you want to see if your game of choice is PhysX-enabled (and therefore relevant to this comparison, check here.

The added CPU speeds and doubled FSB frequency give a good boost in the system, productivity, and even the memory test. We see little improvement in the hard drive test, though. These results relate well to what we have already seen throughout our application testing.

We close out the testing suite with significant and rather consistent gains in all three of the Sandra benchmarks.

  • radguy
    Thanks for the article. I always enjoy these sbm builds you guys do. I guessed wrong again but actually think you guys picked a better choice. Nice to know build quality is still taken into consideration even at the 500 dollar range. Also just to mention this again next time noise and power consumption charts please.
    Reply
  • "The silicon hard drive grommets"

    That wouldn't dampen much noise.

    Try silicone hard drive grommets
    (They are usually silicon-oxygen based polymers)
    Reply
  • slomo4sho
    I wish you used the E5200 CPU for this build, current prices reflect a difference of $14 only.

    Also, in the future, would it be possible for you to have two builds for the $500 budget build. One based on Intel AND the other on AMD?
    Reply
  • xx12amanxx
    I would have spent maybe 30$ on a cheapo case and put the 50$ toward's a hd4850! Most people building a 500$ pc are going to want maximun performance and not care what the case looks like.
    Reply
  • cangelini
    xX12amanXxI would have spent maybe 30$ on a cheapo case and put the 50$ toward's a hd4850! Most people building a 500$ pc are going to want maximun performance and not care what the case looks like.
    $30 for a case and PSU? Sounds like a build asking for trouble. I personally don't think $80 for a nice chassis and power supply is bad.
    Reply
  • cangelini
    Slomo4shOI wish you used the E5200 CPU for this build, current prices reflect a difference of $14 only. Also, in the future, would it be possible for you to have two builds for the $500 budget build. One based on Intel AND the other on AMD?
    Heya Slo! We're actually weighing the possibility of simply switching off each month on the $500 system since AMD has some very compelling hardware in that range.
    Reply
  • slomo4sho
    cangeliniHeya Slo! We're actually weighing the possibility of simply switching off each month on the $500 system since AMD has some very compelling hardware in that range.
    Well in this case, an AMD build might have allowed for a 4850. I look forward to seeing what you decide upon but I still think a monthly build of each platform at the $500 build is definitely something worthwhile.

    Transitioning month to month between the two usually does not allow for comparative annalist in your "Performance And Value, Dissected" write-ups
    Reply
  • cangelini
    Slomo4shO
    Gotcha. We'll discuss that as a possibility, then.
    Reply
  • lounge lizard
    I love the article and second the notion that it would be a great idea to run it every month. I for one am a firm believer of upgrading more consistently at a reasonable cost per component rather then just throwing $1500 at new machine.

    At some point it would be interesting if you guys could run an Upgrade Edition of the $500 system builder. Most people that have the courage and knowledge to overclock their new parts by over 50% (wow the E2180 rocks!)would almost definitely have components that they could and would want to swap between rigs.

    Again, great article.
    Reply
  • reasonablevoice
    king_edgar"The silicon hard drive grommets" That wouldn't dampen much noise.Try silicone hard drive grommets(They are usually silicon-oxygen based polymers)
    What the hell are you saying?
    Reply