System Builder Marathon, March 2011: $2000 Bonus Build

Test Settings

Test Hardware Configurations
 Alternative $2000 PCOriginal $2000 PC
Motherboard
(Overclock)
MSI P67A-GD65 (B3)
LGA 1155, Intel P67 Express
No BCLK Overclock
Asus P8P67 WS Revolution
LGA 1155, Intel P67 Express
No BCLK Overclock
Processor
(Overclock)
Intel Core i7-2600K
3.40 GHz, Four Physical Cores
O/C to to 4.80 GHz, 1.40 V
Intel Core i7-2600K
3.40 GHz, Four Physical Cores
O/C to to 4.80 GHz, 1.40 V
Memory
(Overclock)
8 GB G.Skill DDR3-1600
CAS 8-8-8-24, O/C at 1.60 V
to DDR3-1600 CL 7-8-7-21
8 GB G.Skill DDR3-1600
CAS 8-8-8-24, O/C at 1.6 0V
to DDR3-1866 CL 8-9-8-24
Graphics
(Overclock)
2 x MSI R6970-2PM2D2GD5
880 MHz GPU,  GDDR5-5500
O/C to 950 MHz, GDDR5-5800
2 x XFX Radeon HD 6950 2 GB
800 MHz GPU,  GDDR5-5000
O/C to 840 MHz, GDDR5-5300
Hard Drive2 x A-Data S599 SSD, Striped: 64 GB x 2 (128 GB Combined)
OpticalLite-On iHBS212 BD-RE: 12x BD-R, 16x DVD±R
CaseAntec Three Hundred Illusion
PowerSeasonic SS-850HT: 850 W, ATX12V v2.31, 80 PLUS Silver
CPU CoolerScythe Mugen 2 Rev. B (SCMG-2100)
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
GraphicsAMD Catalyst 11.2
ChipsetIntel INF 9.2.0.1021
Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Very High Quality, 8x AA
F1 2010V1.01, Run with -benchmark example_benchmark.xml
Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 8x AA
Just Cause 2Version 1.0.0.2, Built-In Benchmark "Concrete Jungle"
Test Set 1: Medium Details, No AA, 8x AF
Test Set 2: Highest Details, 8x AA, 16x AF
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of PripyatCall Of Pripyat Benchmark version
Test Set 1: High Preset, DX11 EFDL, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Preset, DX11 EFDL, 4x MSAA
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunesVersion:9.0.2.25 x64
Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 minutes
Default format AAC
HandBrake 0.9.4Version 0.9.4, convert first .vob file from The Last Samurai (1.0GB) to .mp4, High Profile
TMPGEnc 4.0 XPressVersion: 4.7.3.292
Import File: Terminator 2 SE DVD (5 Minutes)
Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
DivX Codec 6.9.1Encoding mode: Insane Quality
Enhanced multithreading enabled using SSE4
Quarter-pixel search
Xvid 1.2.2Display encoding status = off
MainConcept Reference 1.6.1MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 (H.264), MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2), Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 KHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Mode: PAL (25 FPS)
Productivity
Adobe Photoshop CS4Version: 11.0 x64, Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image
Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Autodesk 3ds Max 2010Version: 11.0 x64, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)
WinRAR 3.90Version x64 3.90, Dictionary = 4096 KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334MB)
7-ZipVersion 4.65: Format=Zip, Compression=Ultra, Method=Deflate, Dictionary Size=32 KB, Word Size=128, Threads=8
Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark 11Version: 1.0.1.0, Benchmark Only
PCMark VantageVersion: 1.0.1.0 x64, System, Productivity, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks
SiSoftware Sandra 2011Version 2011.1.17.15, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
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  • jckpalmer
    I originally joined Toms Hardware Shed to post on the forum, looking for someone to help me with the new i7 technology and find a perfect system.

    I posted in the Forum, I didn't get any replies. I think now I see why this was.

    Everything I need is here! This is a great article / guide, it's informative and precise, it answers my questions on a technical level I "just about" understand. Your component choice and explanation to why your using each choice is also very insightful and useful!

    One of the area's I'm now trying to explore which is quite new to me is SDD's. I notice in this set up your using a SATA Drive and 2 x SDD's.

    (I haven't read last months post yet, which I will now) If my query isn't addressed there, can you please tell me;

    What are your reasons behind having 2 x SSD drives rather than 1 larger drive i.e. a 96GB or 128GB Drive from Kingston which would cost around the same money as you've spent.

    OR

    Why have you not suggested alternatives like a Hybrid Drive (SSD/SATA) like the "Seagate 250GB Momentus XT 2.5" Hybrid HDD/SSD - SATA-II 7200rpm 32MB Cache - OEM" which I've researched and noticed exceptional speeds (VERY close to SSD Speeds) yet are much cheaper.

    Anyway, thank you for the post, your site has been my bible these last few days and I'm rekindling my love for this stuff! Each post leads me wanting to read the next!

    I look forward to your answer eagerly, kind regards, John
  • jckpalmer
    P.S. Can you direct me to recent "Sandy Bridge" Silent PC build or suggest way's I can almost silence a build like this?

    My CPU heatsink and Memory are already installed it doesn't matter, I'm using the stock HeatSink at present so in an ideal world if there's no post's you can direct me to, can I ask;

    What would be a good way to silence this build...How can I reduce the noise?

    Would it be:

    PSU
    Hard Drives
    CPU Fan
    OR
    Chassis Fans

    making the most noise in this build at this point?

    I'm asking this as my next purchase "ASAP" is going to be Case, I wanted something a little sexier than the case you've chosen but something also "very quiet"...

    So am I wasting my time looking, should I be instead thinking of water cooling, a Zalman Solution or another area of the build like the PSU?

    I'd like to mention that I understand I'll need to pay more to achieve this, I am willing to add more funds but would still like to be realistic and economical.

    Many Thanks!!

    John