By Mike Clements posted Oct 20th 2011
I began this build log thinking of it as more of a pure work station. Of course, it has the guts to be an exceptional gaming machine also. So, I thought it would be fun to see how it stacks up against my last gaming build log, Yellowbeard's Revenge.
Yellowbeard's Revenge (below left) was built around an X58 based motherboard using an Intel® Core™ i7 950 CPU, and a Graphite Series™ 600T case. This workstation (below right) is built using a Z68 based motherboard and a Core i7 2600K CPU. Due to the amount of HDs and other factors, I chose the Obsidian Series® 800D case for the workstation.
Read the complete build log at Corsair Graphite Series 600T Build Log: Yellowbeard’s Revenge.
All of the pictures below are screenshots of the X58 Yellowbeard's Revenge build on the left vs. the Z68 based workstation build on the right. Considering that the X58 has a pretty good overclock, the Z68 at stock certainly holds its own in every area and even comes out ahead in some. Here's the obligatory CPU-Z screenshot. As you can see, the X58 + Core i7 950 rig shown on the left boasts a 400MHz frequency advantage. But, will that translate into superior performance?
One of my favorite benchmarks that I include as often as possible is the Auto Gordian Knot encoding test. This tool is multi threaded and uses multiple cores very well. It's also sensitive to OCing changes so it's a good tool to use for comparisons like this one. As always, the movie used for the endoding test is Yellowbeard!
We noted in the first installment of this build log, the Z68 system at stock comes out ahead of the OCd X58 system by a full 26 seconds. And, this is even with the X58 system having an advantage of approximately 400MHz. Makes you think socket 2011 and X79 should be pretty interesting huh?
Super PI is another perennial favorite among benchmark junkies and OCing guys alike. Pure CPU power and memory performance both help with this score. Again, the Z68 system at stock makes a very respectable showing in both the 1M and 32M calculations.
When you compare the graphics performance of these 2 machines, it gets interesting. Yellowbeard's Revenge has a CPU clock advantage and is using a dual core AMD HD5970 GPU, which is one generation older than the single core NVIDIA GTX580 in the workstation. The AMD HD5970 comes out ahead but only by a very small margin of approximately of 1.6%.
It's impressive how much more graphics processing power the current generation 5XX Nvidia GPUs and the current AMD 6XXX series GPUs are. This benchmark just goes to show that a newer single core GPU is approximately the equal of the last generation dual core GPUs in some instances. Of course, driver optimazations and the tests used can influence this result but it's impressive nonethless. Just imagine what ATI 6XXX CrossfireX or Nvidia 5XX SLI is capable of?
The final test I ran for this comparison used the Crysis Warhead FBWH bench tool version 0.33 developed by "Mr. John". Even though this tool is not a DX11 tool, the Crysis titles are still extremely demanding and illustrate sheer brute system power or lack thereof. I ran the test using two different presets. The first is the GAMER preset which is graphically much more intensive than the second preset, PERFORMANCE. The PERFORMANCE setting will illustrate differences in CPU power.
Based on these benchmarks, the newer Sandy Bridge CPUs are quite capable. This 2600K is looking like an excellent CPU to have at the core of any gaming or workstation system. OCing it should be a lot of fun too as I expect to get a very solid OC using the plethora of OCing features and the cooling ability of the Hydro Series H100 CPU cooler.
I'll be back soon with those overclocked benchmark results.