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The $750 Computing Challenge: Germany Versus USA

USA Versus Germany Comparison Table, Test Setup

ComponentsUSAGermany
CPUCore 2 Duo E8500 (3.16 GHz dual-core, 6 MB L2 cache, FSB1333)Core 2 Quad Q6600 (2.4 GHz quad-core, 2x 4 MB L2 cache, FSB1066)
CPU CoolerArctic Cooling Freezer 7 ProEKL Alpenföhn Groß Clockner
MotherboardGigabyte GA-EP45-DS3L (P45 Chipset)Asus P5QL-SE (P43 Chipset)
RAMG.Skill PI Black 2x 2 GB DDR2-800Kingston ValueRAM 2x 2 GB DDR2-800 KVR800D2N5K2/4G
Hard DriveWestern Digital Caviar Green 1 TB WD10EADS, 32 MB Cache, SATA/300, 5,400 RPMWestern Digital Caviar Blue 320 GB WD3200AAKS, 16 MB Cache, SATA/300, 7,200 RPM
GraphicsSapphire 100245L Radeon HD 4850 512 MBSapphire Radeon HD 4870, 1 GB
Sound / Networkintegrated on motherboardintegrated on motherboard
CaseAntec Three HundredPNL-Tech Rasurbo BC-05
Power SupplyAntec EarthWatts EA 380 380 WPNL-Tech ATX 64BIT 460WP 460 W
Optical DriveLite-On 20X DVD±R SATA Model iHAS120-04Samsung SH-S223F SATA
Total Cost< $730 (570 Euros)~600 Euros ($775)

Please keep in mind that the exchange rate between Euros and dollars keeps changing. Also, the prices for Europe include a 19% VAT, while prices for North America typically exclude sales tax, which may differ from state to state.

The US team spent a larger part of its budget on the motherboard, the hard drive, the memory, and the case and power supply, while the German team focused on purchasing maximum performance by getting a quad core processor and a faster graphics card model. Let’s look at the results!

Benchmark Setup

3D Games Benchmarks and Settings
BenchmarksDetails
CrysisVersion: 1.2.1, Video Mode: 1680x1050, Overall Quality: low, Demo: CPU-Benchmark2 + Tom's Hardware Tool
Unreal Tournament 3Version: 1.2, Video Mode: 1680x1050, Sound and DirectX10, Video Quality: Texture Details: 1, Level Details: 1, Demo: vCTF-CONTAINMENT_fly, Time: 12/60
World In ConflictVersion: 1.0.0.9, Video Mode: 1680x1050 and 800x600, Video Quality: low details, Demo: Game-Benchmark
Audio Benchmarks and Settings
BenchmarksDetails
Lame MP3Version 3.98, Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min, wave to mp3 conversion, 160 Kbps
Video Benchmarks and Settings
BenchmarksDetails
Mainconcept Reference 1.5.1 Reference H.264 Plugin Pro 1.5.1Version: 1.5.1, MPEG2 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), Codec: H.264, Mode: PAL (25 FPS), Profile: Tom's Hardware Settings for Qct-Core
Application Benchmarks and settings
BenchmarksDetails
WinRAR 3.8Version 3.80 BETA 4 WinZIP Commandline Version 2.3 Compression = Best Dictionary = 4096 KB Benchmark: THG-Workload
Autodesk 3D Studio Max 9Version: 9.0 Rendering a Dragon picture rendering HTDV 1920x1080
Adobe photoshop CS 3Version: 10.0x20070321, Filtering from a 69 MB TIF-Photo, Benchmark: Tomshardware-Benchmark V1.0.0.4, Programmed by Tomshardware using Delphi 2007, Filters: Crosshatch, Glass, Sumi-e, Accented Edges, Angled, Strokes, Sprayed Strokes
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
BenchmarksDetails
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.02, Options: Performance, Graphics Test 1, Graphics Test 2, CPU Test 1, CPU Test 2
PCMark VantageVersion: 1.00, PCMark Benchmark, Score: Memory, TV and Movies, Gaming, Music, Communications, Productivity, HDD, Windows Media Player 10.00.00.3646

We used Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 for all tests.

Clock Speeds

Both the US and German teams decided to run the benchmarks at stock speeds and overclocked, to show the potential of their systems:

Clock SpeedsUS: Core 2 Duo E8500Germany: Core 2 Quad Q6600
Stock Speed3.16 GHz (FSB1333)2.40 GHz (FSB1066)
Overclocked to3.95 GHz (FSB1664)3.05 GHz (FSB1352)