2010 Mainstream DIY PC Reference Ė Intel Platform OC Performance Guide
Itís been years for users to select different components to make own DIY PC.
Advantage of DIY is freedom.
Comparing to brand PC, there is only one brand to provide after service.
The DIY PC can have the vendors or distributors warranty.
For this warranty, you have to go to different service center by different components.
However, you can choose your favorite brands and suitable products.
This is the main reason for DIY PC users are interested in computer technology or studying before buying.
Windwithme also mentioned in previous article that most DIY PC users are concerned about budget.
So they set the budget first and search for suitable products.
This review is introducing Intel platform with built-in GPU to make a good C/P PC.
Last review is AMD mainstream PC guide.
This time, I will use similar budget to compare the Intel platform.
My original idea was putting Intel and AMD PC in one article.
However, the content is too long, so I divided into 2 parts.
If you are interested, you can compare to these 2 guides.
I believe you can have more idea for current mainstream hardware performance and price.
Also, it can help you to make decision before buying.
I use Intel current hot sell model Core i3-540.
3.06GHz, 32nm manufacturing, 4MB L3 Cache, Revision K0.
Physical 2 Cores with Hyper-Threading for 4 threading, called 2C/4T.
K0 version is adding ID(PCID) technology into processor.
Most users all hope new version can be better at OC.
The price is 3350NTD, around 112USD.
Product manual, original cooler, Intel Core i3-540
Upper-Right is cooler bottom. Itís 100% aluminum also with thermal pate in the bottom.
Lower-Left is Intel Core i3-540. LGA 1156 Socket.
Itís recommended for H55/H57 chipsets.
You also can use P55 chipset, but the GPU function will be disable.
Recently, the DDR3 4GB price is very cheap. You can choose 2GBX2 or 4GBX2.
If you have more budget and plan to use 64Bit OS, 4GBX2 is better pick.
I use CORSAIR DDR3 1600 4GBX2. 1600 version price is a little higher.
CORSAIR is internal well-known brand and famous in quality control. The price is acceptable.
The price is around 115USD.
Core i3 can support DDR3 1333 without OC.
For Intel platform, you just pull CPU clock, the DDR3 can reach 1600~1800.
If your budget is limited, you can use DDR3 1333 or 2GX2.
H55 or H57 chipsets are first choice for Intel built-in GPU platform.
The main difference is H57 supporting Raid, but H55 price is lower.
You can find many models and spec in the market.
I choose mid-price GIGABYTE H55M-UD2H. itís 3500NTD, around 117USD.
GIGABYTE GA-H55M-UD2H Look
Ultra Durable 3, 2oz copper PCB, 100% Japanese made capacitors
3x USB Power supports On/Off Charge which can charge iPhone, iPad and iPod touch easily.
USB 3x Power also provide more stable power to external USB devices.
CPU PWM 4+2 phases
2 X PCI-E X16 supports ATI Hybrid CrossFireX technology.
The bandwidth is X16+X4.
Audio chip is Realtek ALC892. It supports 7.1 channel and Dolby Home Theater surrounding technology.
GIGABYTE also has another model, H55M-S2V, spec and components are lower. The price is 700NTD cheaper, around 24USD.
Power Supply Part
I pick Be Quiet! Straight Power Deluxe 400W which is E6 product line.
The price is 2400NTD, around 80USD.
80Plus Copper Certificate, Active PFC design, 18dBA super silent 12cm fan, 5 years warranty.
If you only use PC for word processing and no more graphic card upgrade need, you can consider Be Quiet! L6 350W.
HDD still use WD 640AAKS. The cheap price is main advantage even the performance is not the best.
If you need more capacity, currently 1T~1.5T HDD price is only a little higher. You just need to study the HD performance more.
In Intel platform, CPU and MB price are few hundred NTD higher.
If including Case, DVD-ROM, the price is around 16260NTD, 524USD.
Many users trust in Intel brand or performance due to the Intel structure.
The configuration is not absolute.
If you donít need such high performance, you can pick cheaper one.
However, if you need higher performance, you can buy the better spec one.
Per your need, budget and brand, you can make your own configuration to enjoy the DIY fun.
CPU: Intel Core i3-540
MB: GIGABYTE GA-H55M-UD2H
DRAM: CORSAIR CMX8GX3M2A1600C9
VGA: Intel Clarkdale GPU
HD: WD 640AAKS 640GB 7200rpm
POWER: Be Quiet! Straight Power Deluxe 400W
Cooler: Intel original cooler
Default Performance (C1E Disable)
CPU 133.3MHz X 23 => 3067MHz
DDR3 1333.6 CL6 7-6-18 1T 1.400V
Hyper PI 32M X4 => 19m 20.549s
CPUMARK 99 => 478
Nuclearus Multi Core => 11961
Fritz Chess Benchmark => 11.65/5590
CrystalMark 2004R3 => 131958
CPU => 2.56 pts
CPU(Single Core) => 1.03 pts
Windows Experience Index - CPU 7.3
PCMark Vantage => 6333
Compare to previous AMD X4 640. I3-540 performance is lower about 10~25% in many multi-core benchmark.
On the other hand, Spuer PI, CPUMARK for single core performance, itís higher around 18~20%.
Windows Experience Index 7.3 is same. PCMark Vantage, i3-540 is higher 2%.
X4 640 4C/4T compares to i3-540 2C/4T, the performance is different by benchmark software identity.
System Idle - 31~32
CPU Full Speed - 52~57
Intel Burn Test v2.4，Stress Level Maximum
The latest 32nm manufacture is really helpful for the temperature.
Even though the original cooler is thin, the full speed temperature is still under 60.
After enabling C1E, the temperature even goes lower. The idle status is only 19~22. Core i3 is very good at idle temperature.
System Idle - 52W
CPU Full Speed - 83W
System idle power consumption 52W is not too low.
However, the full speed is only 83W to bring out 32nm advantage.
If you enable C1E, itís only 38W at idle status. I believe itís very low consumption in PC.
Built-in GPU Intel Clarkdale 733MHz
3DMARK 2006 => 1752
3DMARK VANTAGE => P371
CPU SCORE => 8956
GPU SCORE => 281
StreetFighter IV Benchmark
1024 X 768 => 20.62FPS
Intel Clarkdale OC to 1033MHz
3DMARK 2006 => 2223
3DMARK VANTAGE => P580
CPU SCORE => 8909
GPU SCORE => 442
StreetFighter IV Benchmark
1024 X 768 => 26.85FPS
After OC GPU, the 3DMARK 2006 increase 27% and 3DMARK VANTAGE increase 56%.
For the game StreetFighter IV Benchmark, itís also 30% higher.
Even for most mid to high end GAME still cannot run smoothly, itís still helpful for normal 3D GAME performance.
If you pull high CPU/DARM ratio, the GPU OC range will be lower.
Maybe itís caused by Intel integrated GPU into CPU. If you OC the GPU, please watch out this issue.
BIOS OC Setup
Main BIOS Tuning Menu, called M.I.T.
I set CPU clock at 180MHz to match DDR3-1800 ratio.
CPU Related Items
C1E is power saving feature. When CPU utilization is low, CPU will lower the frequency automatically.
If your DRAM cannot reach 1800, you can change the ratio at System Memory Multiplier.
DDR3 Parameters Setup Page
If your system is unstable after OC, you can fine tune non-Auto items.
For example, you can change to 2T or rise the CL to enhance the stability.
Pull high CPU clock, you needs to add CPU Vcore. Pull high DDR3 clock or better latency, you need to add DRAM Voltage.
If you pull high both CPU and DDR3 clock, ex. 200/1600 or 180/1800, you need to adjust QPI/Vtt Voltage.
In general condition, I recommend DRAM Voltage 1.660V and QPI/Vtt Voltage should below 1.250V.
PC Health Status
Due to built-in GPU, i3-540 cannot run CPU/DRAM at 200/2000.
You only can set 200/1600 or 180/1800 (depends on quality) to achieve the best OC ratio.
If you want to reach 200/2000 as P55 in this All in one platform, you need to add an external graphic card.
DDR3 Bandwidth Comparison
DDR3 1333.4 CL6 6-6-18 1T 1.400V
ADIA64 Memory Read - 8855 MB/s
Sandra Memory Bandwidth - 10407 MB/s
MaXXMEM Memory-Copy - 8116 MB/s
DDR3 1800.2 CL9 9-9-24 2T 1.600V
ADIA64 Memory Read - 11181 MB/s
Sandra Memory Bandwidth - 13510 MB/s
MaXXMEM Memory-Copy - 10778 MB/s
DDR3 1600.2 CL7 8-7-21 1T 1.600V
ADIA64 Memory Read - 11902 MB/s
Sandra Memory Bandwidth - 14362 MB/s
MaXXMEM Memory-Copy - 11690 MB/s
You can see Intel Clarkdale DDR3 performance is similar to AMD platform under non-OC condition.
But after OC, the DDR3 performance is far away ahead AMD.
Even though, comparing to Intel quad-core P55, X58 bandwidth is far behind. But i3-540 has quite good DDR3 performance.
Configuring with CORSAIR 4GBX2 1600, the official spec is CL9. It looks quite conservative.
No matter Intel or AMD platform, it can reach 1600 CL7 8-7-24 1T.
The bandwidth also increases a lot. In Intel platform, it can reach 1800 CL9 2T.
OC Performance Test
CPU 180MHz X 23 => 4140.5MHz
DDR3 1800 CL9 9-9-24 2T 1.600V
Hyper PI 32M X4 => 14m 49.202s
CPUMARK 99 => 644
Nuclearus Multi Core => 16189
Fritz Chess Benchmark => 15.63/7500
CrystalMark 2004R3 => 173900
CPU => 3.46 pts
CPU(Single Core) => 1.39 pts
WindowsExperience Index - CPU 7.3
PCMark Vantage => 7701
After Core i3-540 OC to 4.14GHz, the performance increase 30% comparing to default 3.06GHz.
Also compare to previous AMD X4 640 CPU OC to 3.6GHz.
i3-540 reply on own higher performance and frequency, it only small behind most quad-core full load software.
In Nuclearus Multi and Core PCMark Vantage, Intel even leads.
Hyper PI 32M and CPUAMRK99 even have bigger gap due to Intel structure.
System Idle - 34~36
CPUFull Speed - 77~79
Intel Burn Test v2.4，Stress Level Maximum
After OC, the idle temperature is similar to default.
Full Speed temperature rise about 20. The main reason is the original cooler too thin and CPU clock increase 1.1GHz after OC.
Due to 32nm manufacture, you just need to use better cooler, you can OC it to 4.4~4.6GHz without any issues.
System Idle - 63W
CPU Full Speed - 110W
After OC, the idle power consumption increase 11W and Full Speed increase 27W.
The range is very small, but the CPU performance enhance obviously.
The power consumption of dual core plus 32nm is very impressive.
This Intel mainstream DIY PC guide is i3-540 and H55.
The previous AMD mainstream DIY PC guide is X4 640 and 880G.
Letís review the main performance difference in 2 platforms again.
3D part, in non-OC condition, they are very similar, but Intel built-in GPU has better OC ability.
After OC GPU, its 3D performance is better than AMD 880G. The most inconvenient thing is after OC CPU/DRAM, the GPU OC capability will be lower.
880G doesnít have this issue. So both platforms have different advantages.
CPU performance, Intel leads in single core and AMD leads in multi-core full speed mode.
The main reason is that Core i3 simulate HT at dual core mode.
But rely on 32nm manufacture and good OC capability, i3-540 after OC single core performance lead X4 640 a lot.
Even for multi-tasking, i3-540 also leads X4 640 in some applications.
These 2 platforms are similar price and level. It does take time to research before starting.
Includes Case, DVD-ROM to build a PC around 16500NTD and consider quality and performance, I use more high end configuration.
If you have limited budget, you can use cheaper H55, DDR3 2GX2 and 350W PSU.
The PC price will drop to 12500NTD, around 429USD. You can have a most entry Intel PC.
It takes weeks to finish these two 2010 DIY PC guide.
Windwithme will make 2011 guide with LGA 1155 platform.
Thanks for all readers and friends support in 2010. Hope next year the PC movement can be faster, and price can be lower.
Letís look forward the new platform few months later. :)
This year, I only share two DC reviews. Itís too busy for me to share more DSLR. Hopefully, next year I can improve this.
This article is also in my blog WIND 3C. Any comments are always welcome.
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