System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: $1,600 Alternative PC

Results: 3DMark And PCMark

3DMark gets a 45% boost from the $1,600 PC’s second GPU, but its scores get even more interesting when we overclock. Tuning our machines boosts the $1,000 build by a mere 20%, but pushes the $1,600 PC even higher, giving us more bang from the same overclock.

A CPU bottleneck limiting the second GPU might help explain that disparity; processor overclocking would help open up that bottleneck. On the other hand, all GPUs are overclocked by a greater percentage than the CPUs. We’re probably seeing benefits from a combination of factors, including a faster CPU configuration and the $1,600 PC's beta graphics driver, which was added to solve an issue with OpenCL benchmarks in CrossFire.

PCMark also benefits from the $1,600 PC’s CrossFire configuration. Though the alternative motherboard’s firmware might also have been responsible for a boost in SSD performance, storage scores are scarcely affected.

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  • mi1ez
    ASRock defaults DDR3-2133 memory to 1.5665 V. Add in the 1% over-voltage we’ve been seeing nearly every board vendor sneak in over the past several product cycles, and we come up to around 1.68 V.

    1.5665 + 1% = 1.582165
  • Steveymoo
    Nice, this is a well balanced build! That's a good bit of troubleshooting you did there as well - I always wondered whether the super heavy CPU coolers would cause any problems, especially when you move the case around. I always worry that the large heatsink could sheer off when I have to transport my computer to a new flat.

    Better be careful y'all!
  • spentshells

    get a normal cooler Cm212 or even a CM tx4 and spend that other 50 bucks on some better cards. 7950's should be a minimum for a build of 1600
  • Anonymous
    Could've gone for a 7970 and a 3770k instead. I think most people would prefer to stay away from crossfire in a new build unless they're going for more performance than the best single GPU card. Maybe a board with more USB 3.0 internal headers would've been nice, i'm not a fan of having to plug devices in the back unless they are there to stay(exception being USB audio devices)
  • LePhuronn
    And the moral of this story is don't bother with archaic lumps of metal to cool your CPU. H100 people, simply no other choice.