Skip to main content

System Builder Marathon Q4 2014: Mainstream Enthusiast PC

How We Tested

The following tables include the stock and overclocked settings for this quarter's mainstream enthusiast system, followed by the configuration we put together earlier this year, which serves as our comparison point.

At the very bottom, you’ll find the programs and games used for benchmarking.

Q4 2014 Enthusiast PC Test Settings: $948 of Performance Hardware
Default ConfigurationOverclocked
MotherboardASUS Z87-A, LGA 1150, Intel Z87 ExpressN/A
ProcessorIntel Core i5-4690K (Haswell): 3.5 GHz (3.9 GHz max. Turbo Boost), 6 MB Shared L3 CacheN/A
Memory8 GB G.Skill Ripjaws-X (2 x 4 GB) F3-17000CL9D-8GBXM, 1600 MT/s, CAS 11-11-11-28 1TN/A
GraphicsZotac GeForce GTX 970 4 GB, 1076/1216 MHz base/typical GPU Boost, GDDR5-7012N/A
System DriveKingston V300 120 GB SATA 6Gb/s SSDUnchanged
Storage DriveWD Blue WD10EZEX 1 TB, 7200 RPM, 64 MB Cache, SATA 6Gb/sUnchanged
OpticalAsus DRW-24F1ST OEM DVD BurnerUnchanged
CaseDIYPC Adventurer 9601R Computer CaseUnchanged
PowerEVGA 500B 80 PLUS Bronze PSUUnchanged
Q3 2014 Enthusiast PC Test Settings: $1006 of Performance Hardware
Default ConfigurationOverclocked
MotherboardASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer, LGA 1150, Intel Z97 ExpressUnchanged
ProcessorIntel Core i5-4690K (Haswell): 3.5 GHz (3.9 GHz max. Turbo Boost), 6 MB Shared L3 Cache4.6 GHz (46 * 100 MHz), 1.335 V (Load)
Memory8 GB G.Skill Trident (2 x 4 GB) F3-2400C10D-8GTD, 1600 MT/s, CAS 11-11-11-28 1T2400 MT/s, 10-12-12-31 2T, 1.65 V
GraphicsZotac AMP! Superclocked GeForce GTX 770 2 GB, 1150/1202 MHz base/typical GPU Boost, GDDR5-7200+30 MHz GPU, GDDR5-7800
System DriveAdata Premier Pro SP920 128 GB SATA 6Gb/s SSDUnchanged
Storage DriveWD Blue WD10EZEX 1 TB, 7200 RPM, 64 MB Cache, SATA 6Gb/sUnchanged
OpticalAsus DRW-24B1ST OEM DVD BurnerUnchanged
CaseCooler Master HAF XM Computer CaseUnchanged
PowerIn Win GreenMe 650 W 80 PLUS Bronze PSUUnchanged

And here are the benchmark details:

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Arma 3V. 1.20 Current PC, V.1.08 Q1 PC 30-sec. Fraps "Infantry Showcase" Test Set 1: Standard Preset, No AA, Standard AF Test Set 2: Ultra Preset, 8x FSAA, Ultra AF
Battlefield 4Version 1.0.0.1, DirectX 11, 100-sec. Fraps "Tashgar" Test Set 1: Medium Quality Preset, No AA, 4x AF, SSAO Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 4x MSAA, 16x AF, HBAO
Far Cry 3V. 1.05, DirectX 11, 50-sec. Fraps "Amanaki Outpost" Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA, Standard ATC, SSAO Test Set 2: Ultra Quality, 4x MSAA, Enhanced ATC, HDAO AMD/ HBAO NVidia
Grid 2Version 1.0.85.8679, Direct X 11, Built-in Benchmark Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA Test Set 2: Ultra Quality, 8x MSAA
Audio/Video Encoding
HandBrake CLIVersion: 0.99, Video: Video from Canon EOS 7D (1920x1080, 25 frames) 1 Minutes 22 Seconds, Audio: PCM-S16, 48,000 Hz, Two-channel, to Video: AVC1 Audio: AAC (High Profile)
iTunesVersion 11.0.4.4 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)
TotalCode Studio 2.5Version: 2.5.0.10677, MPEG2 to H.264, MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2), Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, Two-channel, 16-bit, 224 Kb/s) Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV
Adobe Creative Suite
Adobe After Effects CCVersion 12.0.0.404: Create Video, 3 Streams, 210 Frames, Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously
Adobe Photoshop CCVersion 14 x64: Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Adobe Premiere Pro CS6Version 6.0.0.0, 6.61 GB MXF Project to H.264 to H.264 Blu-ray, Output 1920x1080, Maximum Quality
Adobe Acrobat XIVersion 11.0.0: Print PDF from 115 Page PowerPoint, 128-bit RC4 Encyption
Productivity
ABBYY FineReaderVersion 10.0.102.95: Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
Autodesk 3ds Max 2013Version 15.0 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, 248 Frames, 1440x1080
BlenderVersion 2.68a, Cycles Engine, Syntax blender -b thg.blend -f 1, 1920x1080, 8x Anti-Aliasing, Render THG.blend frame 1
Visual StudioVersion 10.0, Compile Google Chrome, Scripted
Compression
7-ZipVersion 9.30 alpha, LZMA2, Syntax "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5" Benchmark: THG-Workload-2012 (1.3 GB)
WinRARVersion 5.0, RAR, Syntax "winrar a -r -m3" Benchmark: THG-Workload-2012 (1.3 GB)
WinZipVersion 18.0 Pro, Syntax "-a -ez -p -r" Benchmark: THG-Workload-2012 (1.3 GB)
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark ProfessionalVersion: 1.2.250.0, Fire Strike Standard and Extreme
PCMark 8Version: 1.0.0 x64 Full Test
SiSoftware Sandra 2014Version: 2014.02.20.10, Processor Arithmetic, Cryptography, Memory Bandwidth Benchmarks
  • envy14tpe
    You got the wrong GPU listed in the build. It is a 970 not 770. I'm referring to the Q4 build parts list. It should be the Zotac 970 4GB.

    Other than that. Build looks decent.

    : Thanks for the heads up, fixed! :)
    Reply
  • rush21hit
    It's just perfect for 1k budget build. If I have such budget, I would gone to different casing though. Did you know Lian Li had just released their new casing that look sick awesome? They make it wall mountable too. I would go with that.
    Reply
  • rayden54
    Does anyone ever recommend a Zotac GPU?
    Reply
  • SessouXFX
    It's rare for reviewers to recommend a Zotac, At least from what I've seen, it's because just as things start to look good, Zotac make some questionable decisions with their cards. otherwise, they're quite affordable and are usually better than reference.
    Reply
  • BoredSysAdmin
    "In this last system builder marathon of 2015"
    Did I just lost a whole year?

    Derp, fixed! :P
    Reply
  • VaporX
    Okay so I looked over this build and honestly I was a bit disappointed because for the price you could have done better. Going to Newegg I got the following.

    i5 4690K with Gigabyte Z97MX Gaming, same ID cooler listed above, 8 Gig Crucial (1660) RAM, 240 Gig Crucial MX100, Thermaltake Core V21 Case, Thermaltake Smart 550 watt PSU, Sapphire Tri-X 290 and Windows 8.1 all for $1056.

    So I lost the optical drive, no real lose there, some HD space (learn not to hoard) gained better onbaord sound, a large GPU performance bump and the speed advanateg of a pure SSD set.

    IMO a much nicer gamer rig.
    Reply
  • envy14tpe
    14906749 said:
    Okay so I looked over this build and honestly I was a bit disappointed because for the price you could have done better. Going to Newegg I got the following.

    i5 4690K with Gigabyte Z97MX Gaming, same ID cooler listed above, 8 Gig Crucial (1660) RAM, 240 Gig Crucial MX100, Thermaltake Core V21 Case, Thermaltake Smart 550 watt PSU, Sapphire Tri-X 290 and Windows 8.1 all for $1056.

    So I lost the optical drive, no real lose there, some HD space (learn not to hoard) gained better onbaord sound, a large GPU performance bump and the speed advanateg of a pure SSD set.

    IMO a much nicer gamer rig.

    They built this probably 3 weeks ago...so prices change.
    Reply
  • Scorpionking20
    I got 2 of those exact gpus...sent them back due to hardware crashes and coil whine. Replaced them with 2 evga 970's and I couldn't be happier. Never again Zotac!
    Reply
  • Onus
    I think the build is good. I'm going to guess that the budget cooler isn't going to support a high overclock, but that wouldn't matter to me, since I don't use +voltage to OC.
    I'm not going to quibble over the choice of Zotac. I've read mixed reviews of them. It isn't an obvious choice to me like MSI or Gigabyte, but it isn't one to avoid either like Diamond.
    I'm disappointed that the OC numbers weren't included; maybe this build could have been presented "out of sequence" after troubleshooting?
    I'd love to win this one; it is very much like something I'd build.
    Reply
  • the1kingbob
    ID Cooling SE-213 Has three heat pipes, not four
    Reply