System Builder Marathon, Q4 2012: $2,000 Performance PC

Benchmark Results: SiSoftware Sandra

Getting two high-end graphics cards into the current build forced us to scale back from last quarter's six-core CPU. And yet, that same processor's 50%-greater core count required a 4.5%-higher overclock to show 50%-greater performance. As we already know, Intel's Ivy Bridge architecture enjoys slighting better IPC throughput, giving it a slight per-cycle advantage. 

With 50% more cores to throw into threaded workloads, a 4.5%-higher overclock to accelerate all benchmarks, and 83% more memory bandwidth, last quarter's build should lead in every real-world test except for the games. Will the new build’s 3D prowess be great enough to secure an average performance lead?

This thread is closed for comments
100 comments
    Your comment
  • Novuake
    Yeah, should have gone for an ASRock board at the same price point...
  • Crashman
    NovuakeYeah, should have gone for an ASRock board at the same price point...
    Maybe, maybe not, motherboard market has changed a little since the parts were bought and I've since seen some D5-series Gigabyte boards (with their better PWM) drop to $150...at least temporarily.
  • mayankleoboy1
    Too much of cheap CPU coolers
  • For the next SBM build, use the "SAMSUNG 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) MV-3V4G3D/US". People are posting low timings with very high frequencies. Plus it is low profile (half the size of every other non-heatsink memory modules on the market) and operates at 1.35v (overvolt it to 1.65v without worry).
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147096
  • kj3639
    After building that awful piledriver rig you go ahead and do something like this... and totally REDEEM YOURSELVES!!!

    -Good Job
  • herooftimex
    Suggested changes:

    Core i5 3570k - savings of $120
    2x - MSI N670 PE 2GD5/OC - $800 (gtx 670 OC'd to 1019 core clock)

    Rosewill FORTRESS-750 - $140 (80 plus platinum + 7 year limited warranty)
    LIAN LI PC-7B plus II - $100 (gamer cases look tacky, less is more)
  • JOSHSKORN
    I think Toms needs a new article: "The Dream Build" with gaming in mind.
  • Darkerson
    kj3639After building that awful piledriver rig you go ahead and do something like this... and totally REDEEM YOURSELVES!!!-Good Job

    They really had nothing to redeem themselves about. They went with something a little different, just to try it out. Id rather they go off the beaten path so we can get a better idea of how these builds would turn out without having to buy and build them ourselves.
    Also, if they didnt try something different, they would almost always be cookie-cutter builds until the next big thing came out. No thanks!
    At any rate, this is a really nice build. Have to say, though, I would be happy to win any of these.
  • C12Friedman
    My first thought, I kept going back to it also, was the motherboard, why? I kept going 2nd page, 1st page, 2nd page, back to first page, confusion reigned in my head. Took me a while to get past the second page. But since it was addressed at the end of the article, I guess it's known.
  • One think to consider are both Q3 and Q4 systems future proof. It's important for games and serious task to be able to extend life of your PC and Q4 in this category is certainly penny wise but pound foolish.
  • blazorthon
    kj3639After building that awful piledriver rig you go ahead and do something like this... and totally REDEEM YOURSELVES!!!-Good Job


    The CPU was hardly a bottle-neck at all according to Tom's gaming benchmarks. Sure, power consumption was high, but that cold easily be alleviated by disabling one core per module (which shouldn't hurt performance in any of Tom's gaming benchmarks anyway). Why was the rig awful?
  • blazorthon
    991702 said:
    Suggested changes: Core i5 3570k - savings of $120 2x - MSI N670 PE 2GD5/OC - $800 (gtx 670 OC'd to 1019 core clock) Rosewill FORTRESS-750 - $140 (80 plus platinum + 7 year limited warranty) LIAN LI PC-7B plus II - $100 (gamer cases look tacky, less is more)


    This was a balanced performance build, not a purely gaming build. The i5 would have hurt that significantly.
  • ojas
    Haha. Just goes to show how much more "gamey" my BestConfigs build could have been had i not been extravagant on things like liquid cooling and a Sabertooth board (and another SSD) :D
  • EzioAs
    2 7970s in crossfire, nice! Best thing I've identified straight away. Even 2 7950s would suffice I guess, but that's just me

    I agree with blazorthon and Thomas, that with $2000 to spend and it's primary usage isn't gaming, a 3770K is the better choice (depends on usage). 3930K is just too expensive while an i5 is the best if you're not doing anything too CPU intensive.

    Nice choice for power supply as well. I like that you didn't go overboard on the psu. I only question the cooler and case. While the Hyper 212 is a great cooler for the money, overclocking is limited because it couldn't withstand the heat that IB output especially after 1.3V, some even lower (but I guess most of us here know this already). I guess it's probably best if you spend just a little bit more for a better cpu cooler (I know it's closer to $2000 already but spend a little more, maybe $2030 isn't so bad).

    As for the case, well that's actually a matter of taste. If I were to spend $2k on a new build, I probably would go for at least a $120 case (but again, it's a matter of taste). But I can't argue that the CM storm enforcer is one of the best case at it's price point. If it were me, I'd go for Corsair 400R

    So overall, good build. Good job! I really like it. Not much compromise at all :)
  • RealJames
    I would have used an x79 board with 128gB of ram using a 120gB ramdisk and have it load all games/software from the ramdisk,

    I am using a 28gB ramdisk now leaving 4gB for OS, most programs and a few games installed to it, it is FAST
  • blazorthon
    RealJamesI would have used an x79 board with 128gB of ram using a 120gB ramdisk and have it load all games/software from the ramdisk, I am using a 28gB ramdisk now leaving 4gB for OS, most programs and a few games installed to it, it is FAST


    128GB of RAM would cost an incredible amount of money, undoubtedly more than this build's $2000 budget, if it had to fit in eight modules, the most that are supported by X79 *consumer* motherboards. You'd need 16GB modules and those are incredibly expensive with very high price per GB. Even an 8x8GB kit for 64GB would already be very expensive at several hundred dollars...
  • ojas
    BTW, Thomas.

    Seriously, add Planetside 2 next time. Play the same map, with the three systems together, the same firefight. That game stresses EVERYTHING. Maybe not the GPU though, at least not that much (being DX9). But it's great to test RAM and CPU overclocks/general performance.

    Add to the fact that PS2 players with AMD CPUs have been complaining a lot. I have a Core 2 Quad and it's killing my rig.
  • blazorthon
    ojasBTW, Thomas. Seriously, add Planetside 2 next time. Play the same map, with the three systems together, the same firefight. That game stresses EVERYTHING. Maybe not the GPU though, at least not that much (being DX9). But it's great to test RAM and CPU overclocks/general performance.Add to the fact that PS2 players with AMD CPUs have been complaining a lot. I have a Core 2 Quad and it's killing my rig.


    Being DX9 doesn't necessarily mean that a game can't stress the GPU ;)
  • EzioAs
    412399 said:
    Being DX9 doesn't necessarily mean that a game can't stress the GPU ;)


    True. The Witcher 2 is DX9, yet that is one of the most demanding game so far
  • ojas
    blazorthonBeing DX9 doesn't necessarily mean that a game can't stress the GPU

    True. Convenient generalization lol. :P
  • RealJames
    blazorthon128GB of RAM would cost an incredible amount of money, undoubtedly more than this build's $2000 budget, if it had to fit in eight modules, the most that are supported by X79 *consumer* motherboards. You'd need 16GB modules and those are incredibly expensive with very high price per GB. Even an 8x8GB kit for 64GB would already be very expensive at several hundred dollars...


    You're right!!
    I was looking at making a 128gB system a while back and forgot that 64gB was a lot more feasible.
    With four 16gB kits at about 50$ each, and a 200$ motherboard that's 400$ just for mobo and ram.

    But I still believe what I said is better than the proposed system, and could fit within the budget by dropping a few other components down a notch and the overall performance would be a lot better :)

    thanks for spotting that, 64gB of ram, with a 60 or 58 gB ramdisk would be sublime!!
    I am enjoying the hell out of my 1.3second CS6 start time and instant level-loads on most games when installed to the ramdisk! :)
  • blazorthon
    RealJamesYou're right!!I was looking at making a 128gB system a while back and forgot that 64gB was a lot more feasible.With four 16gB kits at about 50$ each, and a 200$ motherboard that's 400$ just for mobo and ram.But I still believe what I said is better than the proposed system, and could fit within the budget by dropping a few other components down a notch and the overall performance would be a lot better thanks for spotting that, 64gB of ram, with a 60 or 58 gB ramdisk would be sublime!!I am enjoying the hell out of my 1.3second CS6 start time and instant level-loads on most games when installed to the ramdisk!


    Sorry, I just can't see it being too different in performance from a good SSD whereas the price per GB would be very different even compared to a very expensive model such as Samsung 840 Pro and OCZ Vector. Also, I don't think that any good $200 X79 boards have eight DIMMs. That'd probably need at least one of the nearly $300 boards since many of the more * affordable* X79 boards are surprisingly unreliable for such expensive boards, especially the cheaper models with eight DIMMs.

    I'm not saying that you must be wrong, just that what you say seems impractical compared to other solutions such as SSDs. Even if you load things two or three times faster than any affordable SSD, it's still already so fast that the difference is unlikely to be noticeable IMO, especially with programs that are already limited by memory bandwidth.
  • RealJames
    Yeah i also thought it was impractical until i had a little extra cash and decided to try it out
    and the performance difference is night and day even compared to a good SSD, trust me i have one in my system also to load the ramdisk images from on boot up

    we are talking 10+ gB/s transfer rates, compared to 550mB on an SSD, as in at least 20x better for sequentials,
    when you compare 4k blocks the difference goes up to 2gB/s on ramdisks compared to maybe 80mB on an SSD

    When I load stuff from my SSD it feels the same way to me now as HDDs felt after i tried my first SSD

    and I do remember seeing an 8-dimm asrock x79 board for about 200$ 2 months ago when i was looking into it, but hell, even a 28gB ramdisk like I have now would be ideal compared to having your main games installed to an SSD, just a little tighter
  • The Scion of Balance
    Suffice to say that if you were to justify building a PC like this for gaming, you should have a 2560x1600/2560x1440 monitor. That's really where you'll see worthwhile scaling in games. If it's 1080, stick to single card.

    I'm just reminding those who want to go SLI/crossfire. Avoid, if possible, dual mid-range/low-end cards just because they have better value. More often than not, you'll see more issue or poor scaling that's almost isn't worth the money you spent