System Builder Marathon, December 2010: $2000 PC

Benchmark Results: Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Our Modern Warfare 2 benchmark shows what appears to be a CPU bottleneck for the current overclocked configuration at resolutions below 2560x1600. The problem with that explanation is that the former build was clocked slower, and our previous tests have shown that the game cannot take advantage of the former build’s extra CPU cores.

To get to the bottom of this performance problem, we first looked at our June $2000 PC, which used similar cards and a similar CPU at similar speeds to the current build. Once we had a frame-of-reference, we tried various tuning tricks to reach the previous performance level.

We found that running uncore at its lowest compatible setting (twice the DRAM data rate) doubled our performance loss, while increasing memory speed and/or timings eliminated the loss. This means that running a lower uncore ratio in order to stabilize an overclock isn’t always a great move from a performance standpoint, and that memory bottlenecks do exist with some games.

We also found that DDR3-1134 CAS 6 netted similar performance to DDR3-1512 CAS 8, indicating that the bottleneck in this game is memory response time, rather than bandwidth (latency/frequency * 1000 = nanoseconds). Yet, we had to use completely different memory just to prove the insufficiency of the stuff we bought, and that’s something most builders can’t do.

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  • zanmatoer
    "The number of pixels in a 2560x1600 display is slightly higher than those of three 1280x1024 displays, so the new $2500 PC could be a good choice for Nvidia Surround gaming."

    I'm fairly certain that's supposed to be " the new $2000 PC could be..."

    Looking forward to Day 4!
  • mi1ez
    AVG’s anomalous performance is almost legendary at this site. We’d like to credit the new system’s faster drives for the win, but the benchmark difference is too small to represent the drives’ enormous performance disparity.

    And yet it's still in the SBM?
  • tobensg
    Has anyone got £1500 to build a Performance PC at the moment?! IMO these marathon builds are a waste of time.
  • damian86
    Normally those marathon pcs do not get my atraction, spending 2000 dollars in a machine with only 6gb of ram? there are better prices out there,you can make this machine more powerfull. not a long time ago THW had an article showing info about swapfile explaining that 8 gb or RAM makes a very stable just saying...
  • damian86
    I would have installed 2x6870 radeons instead of these power hungry 470's...they re cheaper as well