Greatest Gaming Rig Part Four - Benchmarking

We put our epic rig through a set of strenuous benchmarks to see what it can do.

This week, it's the moment we've all been waiting for on Greatest Gaming Rig as we benchmark our system for the first time. On the motherboard, we've got all our amazing components plugged in and wired up to our two Corsair power supplies, and we've borrowed a watt-measuring multimeter from our chums at ZDNet UK to measure power consumption. For testing, we used a number of synthetic tests, including 3D Mark Vantage, Cinebench, and Unigine Heaven, as well as more real-word results in games like Crysis, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and Modern Warfare 2. All tests are run at stock speeds and at a 1920x1080 resolution.

The rig was set up as follows:

2 x Intel Xeon X5680 @ 3.33Ghz

3 x GTX 480 1.5GB 3-Way Sli

1 x GTX 460 for PhysX

24GB of DD3 RAM

Corsair Force 120GB SSD

1 x Corsair AX1200 PSU

1 x Corsair AX850 PSU

First up are 3DMark Vantage's CPU tests. The first runs an AI test, which features a number of high-intensity cooperative manoeuvering and pathfinding artificial intelligence calculations. The second runs a physics test, which features smoke collision and various cloth and soft-body obstacles. The Xeon X5680 is the fastest CPU that Intel currently produces, and with its six cores and workstation credentials, we expected some fantastic results. As the graph shows, our system easily came out on top, almost doubling the score of the Core i7-980x.

Next we fired up Cinebench. It's based on Axon's Cinema 4D, which is a piece of software used by production houses to create 3D content for movies. The benchmark renders a 3D scene with approximately 2,000 objects, more than 300,000 polygons, reflections, area lights, shadows, procedural shaders, and antialiasing. Cinebench is a great test for the X5680 because it's fully multi-threaded. This means it uses all 24 cores, taxing the CPU to the extreme. With all those cores, our CPU easily bested the i7s and made an absolute mockery of the aging Core 2 Duo.

Kicking off the graphics benchmarks is Unigine's Heaven. It uses a number of graphical techniques designed to tax the most hardened of GPUs, including dynamic lighting, physics calculations, and hardware tessellation, a feature unique to DirectX 11. Scores were taken with all settings maxed out and hardware tessellation enabled. Interestingly, though the three GTX 480s easily beat out the single cards, it's not by as large a margin as we predicted. With some tweaking and overclocking we should be able to eke a much better performance out of them.

Synthetic benchmarks are one thing, but what's really important is how the system handles actual games. We tested Crysis, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and Modern Warfare 2 all on maximum settings, getting great results. Of note was Batman: Arkham Asylum, which didn't run all that well in the video. After we restarted the machine, though, the game ran flawlessly, and we haven't been able to replicate that slowdown since.

During our tests we monitored the power consumption of the rig; the results were not exactly eco-friendly. Power usage peaked at a massive 950 watts during the 3D Mark Vantage tests, and averaged around the 650-850 mark when playing games. This is likely to go much higher once we start overclocking the system, meaning a higher electricity bill for us, and sadness for baby seals the world over.

Check back next week when we'll be building the rig into a custom-made acrylic DangerDen case. Don't forget that we're giving you the chance to win the entire rig*, complete with accessories! Just head over here to find out more.

* To enter you have to be over 13 and a UK resident; the competition is subject to our normal terms and conditions.

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Discussion

31 comments
mumui10
mumui10

for me i dont want a computer that eat! a lot of power for me the best rig is great graphics and performance but but but low in power but the nvidia can do it?. i hope so.

TheJamin
TheJamin

maybe time to swap out the 480s for some 580s lol >.> the pc is so fast it's already out of date lol.

SFRfajardo
SFRfajardo

very sad, I im not aLlowed to join, huhu. very Lucky for those who can join,. Its an awsome Rig, And Awsome budget too For those Who want To Build It, huhu .. aNyways Can it Play Counter Strike and Red alert 2??? and Plant VS zombies? Just Kidding, @_@

ll01dm
ll01dm

what are the three monitors that they are using p.s Jane Douglas is hot!

TheJamin
TheJamin

@Monkish i use a dedicated physx card alongside my old 295. i dont get any slow downs with AA maxed out with Physx maxed. My OC is completely stable however.

lantonis
lantonis

how much did this pc cost really? 1? 2? 3 BIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLIOOOOOOOOOOOOONN DOLLLLLAAAARS?

Monkish
Monkish

Slideshow slowdown in Batman:AA is almost always due to PhysX. It's one feature that is hyper sensitive to subtle o/c instabilities. The giant Scarecrow sections are especially susceptible to this. Watch your over-clocking!

il0x0li
il0x0li

Still can't get over 50fps in Crysis. :D

TheJamin
TheJamin

@-Unreal- or maybe it will inspire them to actually review the pc games instead of using the video review from the console versions. or even get pc game reviews out on time? I'd settle for their pc game reviews to contain at least a brief overview of how games perform on top end hardware to mid range hardware.

Johny_47
Johny_47

This gaming PC is ABSOLUTE ridiculous... in a good way though but honestly(and to some, crazy) I'd hate to have it because of the electricity bill, just over 400 watts at idle? hahahaha =P

TheJamin
TheJamin

@DarxPhil or throw in another 480 and use that for dedicated physx.

doraemon1987
doraemon1987

Whats the point, most games are f****ing console ports with crappy graphics now days. Save your cash it's a sad time for PC gaming at the moment...

-Unreal-
-Unreal-

Instead of giving this rig away, perhaps they should keep it and use it to take some half decent quality screenshots of PC games for a change.

DarxPhil
DarxPhil

They should of ditched the Physx card, and threw in a forth GTX 480, the majority of games are going to be using Nvidia's Physx anyways so it doesn't belong imo. Very powerful rig overall though.

D1zzyCriminal
D1zzyCriminal

Only 400 watts at idle? Pah, thats only as much as my system maxed out, Im sure it wouldnt cause too many red letters from the electricity suppliers... Its those damned GTX480's theyre absolute beasts, they use up to 200 watts each, Nvidia really need to look at the 460 a bit harder and turn that into a high end product.

TheJamin
TheJamin

those cpu scores do look good though! and it would be nice to see those 24 likkle windows in task manager!

TheJamin
TheJamin

@markypants what do you plan on getting out of this machine? by calling this an "ultimate gaming rig" you're probably only putting off aspiring pc gamers who do not know alot about hardware. I'd rather Stick to a single CPU and use the money i would have saved from the dual socket EVGA Classified board and chip to water cool those 480's. you would not be cpu bottlenecked with only one.

anotherone10
anotherone10

One more question if i may :) When I entered, on the entry page with all the specs it said the case was a Lian Li PC-V2120. Now it says its a DangerDen Black Series Tower 29 case :o. But i already entered and your rules say one entry per person. Will this affect my entry, help!!!!!!!!!!!!

markypants
markypants moderator

@gangster480 Our answer has been bested by @anotherone10, who is bang on the money. Most games aren't multithreaded, so they can't take advantage of 24 cores, and not all games perform well with 3-way sli either. That said, we're expecting to get A LOT more out of this machine, these were just preliminary benchmarks without much tweaking, and no overclocking. Wait till next week ;-)

Pete5506
Pete5506

Wow I don't want to see the power bill

Gammet25
Gammet25

You guys are using TOO much power. That rig is like a Hardcore workstation pixar animating bad boy.

Liliroots
Liliroots

i would rather stick with a 500W rig

Liliroots
Liliroots

wow that much power will run up the bills

anotherone10
anotherone10

@gangster480Keep in mind that not all games take advantage of 12 physical cores and multiple GPU's, also hyper threading may have been left on which actually decreases fps. The Crysis result seems correct (8xAA & 1080p settings), but 58xx & 59xx series generally perform better than any current Nvidia cards in Crysis. The Batman AA was corrected after a restart as mentioned but the MW2 framerate does seem a little low. The Xeon's killed the CPU tests though :oHere's a cool youtube channel that i follow with benchmarks of a near idential system: www.youtube.com/user/trubritar

gangster480
gangster480

I don't understand. so those two processor and 3 cards can't run crysis better than my i7 overclocked with crossfire 5870. I find this very weird. they must have done something wrong. the two processors are 3500 dollars together. The cards are 1500 dollars and it can't outdo my 1800 dollars rig. a measely 45 fps for a monster like that? I was expecting it to go over a hundred.

sliperywhenwet6
sliperywhenwet6

@mariostar0001 I understand it completely from the specs to everything (I have built a PC gaming rig, because despite my being 14, I'm a huge gaming nerd) and this rig is mouth wateringly amazing.

mariostar0001
mariostar0001

I don't get a lot of it, but what I understand sure is impressive.

Curlyfrii87
Curlyfrii87

Excuse me while i move to the UK. :o Glad to see someone still has love for the PC!