System Builder Marathon, March 2011: The Articles
Here are links to each of the five articles in this month’s System Builder Marathon (we’ll update them as each story is published). And remember, these systems are all being given away at the end of the marathon.
To enter the giveaway, please fill out this Google form, and be sure to read the complete rules before entering!
So satisfied were we in our initial System Builder Marathon machines that it was difficult to find a “replacement” for this month’s hand-picked build. Yet careful consideration for Intel’s P67 re-launch and AMD’s Radeon HD 6970 price drop forced us to consider alternatives anyway. The Radeon HD 6970 offers both higher clock speeds and a greater number of shaders for improved game performance compared to the original $2000 build’s Radeon HD 6950s, and best value pricing came from MSI.
Yet, even at the reduced price, the graphics upgrade would still force us to economize on some other part of the PC. We still liked the rest of our original build too much to sacrifice any of it, so motherboard manufacturers made the decision for us. MSI’s P67A-GD65 (B3) was the only CrossFire-capable LGA 1155 motherboard at Newegg by the second week of this month, and this part would save us $90 compared to the NF200-equipped model it replaced.
Graphics lane width would drop from x16 to x8 mode for each of our cards, but that couldn’t hurt much could it? The rest of our machine appeared the same, after all.
|$2000 PC Components|
|"Hand Picked" Build||Original $2000 PC|
|Motherboard||MSI P67A-GD65 (B3): LGA 1155, Intel P67 Express||Asus P8P67 WS Revolution: LGA 1155, Intel P67 Express|
|Graphics||2 x MSI R6970-2PM2D2GD5: Radeon HD 6970 2 GB, CrossFire||2 x XFX HD-695A-CNFC: Radeon HD 6950 2 GB, CrossFire|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-2600K: 3.4 GHz-3.8 GHz, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache|
|Memory||G.Skill F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM: DDR3-1600 C8, 4 GB x 2 (8 GB)|
|System Drive||2 x A-Data S599 64 GB, SATA 3Gb/s SSD|
|Storage Drive||Samsung F3 HD103SJ 1 TB, 7200 RPM HDD|
|Optical||Lite-On iHBS212 BD-RE: 12x BD-R, 24x DVD±R, 48x CD-R|
|Case||Antec Three Hundred Illusion|
|Power||Seasonic SS-850HT: 850 W, ATX12V v2.31, 80 PLUS Silver|
|Heat Sink||Scythe Mugen 2 Rev. B (SCMG-2100)|
- Price Drops = More Graphics?
- Component Installation And GPU Overclocking
- CPU And DRAM Overclocking
- Test Settings
- Benchmark Results: 3DMark And PCMark
- Benchmark Results: SiSoftware Sandra
- Benchmark Results: Crysis And F1 2010
- Benchmark Results: Just Cause 2 And S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of Pripyat
- Benchmark Results: Audio And Video Encoding
- Benchmark Results: Productivity
- Power, Heat, And Efficiency
- Value Conclusion