System Builder Marathon, December 2010: $2000 PC

Test Settings

We’re comparing today’s build to our September 2010 Hand-Picked Build, which was the follow-up to September’s original $2000 PC.

Test Hardware Configurations
 Current $2000 PCPrevious $2000 PC
Gigabyte X58A-UD3R
Intel X58 Express, ICH10R
O/C to 189 MHz BCLK
Gigabyte X58A-UD3R
Intel X58 Express, ICH10R
O/C to 188 MHz BCLK
Intel Core i7-950
3.06 GHz, Four Physical Cores
O/C to to 4.35 GHz, 1.40 V
Intel Core i7-970
3.2 GHz, Six Physical Cores
O/C to to 4.0 GHz, 1.30 V
6 GB Mushkin DDR3-1333
CAS 9-9-9-24, U/C at 1.60 V
to DDR3-1133 CL 7-6-7-18
6 GB Mushkin DDR3-1333
CAS 9-9-9-24, O/C at 1.60 V
to DDR3-1400, CL 8-8-8-24
2 x EVGA GeForce GTX-470
607 MHz GPU, GDDR5-3348
O/C to 702 MHz, GDDR5-3404
2 x EVGA GeForce GTX-460
763 MHz GPU, GDDR5-3800
O/C to 845 MHz, GDDR5-4200
Hard Drive2 x A-Data S599 SSD, Striped
64 GB x 2 (128 GB Combined)
MLC, SATA 3Gb/s 
Samsung F3 HD103SJ
1 TB, 7200 RPM
32 MB Cache, SATA 3Gb/s 
OpticalLite-On iHBS112 Blu-ray Drive, 12x BD-R, 16x DVD±RLite-On iHAS124, 24x DVD±R, 48x CD-R
CaseSilverStone Fortress FT02BAntec Three Hundred Illusion
PowerSilverStone ST85F-P 850 W
850 W, 80 PLUS Silver
Seasonic SS-850HT
850 W, 80 PLUS Silver
CPU CoolerProlimatech Megahalems Rev.B,
Delta AFC1212D-PWM Fan
Scythe Mugen 2 Rev. B
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
GraphicsNvidia Forceware 260.99Nvidia Forceware 258.96
ChipsetIntel INF INF

We haven’t added any new benchmarks to address hard drive performance and program startup times, but have instead added a chart that shows the measured performance from several of PCMark’s individual hard drive tests. PCMark measures how long it takes to retrieve a group of files, including seek time and transfer time. Rather than report completion time, it divides the combined file size by completion time and reports the result in MB/s.

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2Campaign, Act III, Second Sun (45 sec. FRAPS)
Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AA
Test Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x AA
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
DiRT 2Run with -benchmark example_benchmark.xml
Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 8x AA
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: 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 GB) to .mp4, High Profile
TMPGEnc 4.0 XPressVersion:
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 1.6.1MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264), MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2), Audio: MPEG2 (44.1 KHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Mode: PAL (25 FPS)
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)
Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus 9.0Version: 9.0.663, Virus base: 270.14.1/2407, Benchmark: Scan 334 MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files
WinRAR 3.90Version x64 3.90, Dictionary = 4,096 KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)
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 VantageVersion: 1.0.1, GPU and CPU scores
PCMark VantageVersion: x64, System, Productivity, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks
SiSoftware Sandra 2010Version 2010.1.16.11, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
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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