System Performance

Ordinarily we'd have split the performance pages into two sections, application and gaming, but our benchmark suite has actually undergone a bit of a refresh. The changes to our gaming suite Jarred mentioned in his post here carry over to desktops, where we'll be testing systems at the High preset only, as well as testing the High preset at 5760x1200 whenever practical (mostly SLI/CF configurations).

As a result, the only gaming results we currently have for desktops are for the AVADirect Silent Gaming PC we have on hand right now, and we'll gradually add more as more systems come in. I've also taken the opportunity to prune our existing benchmark results where possible.

AVADirect's system comes to us with three different overclocking profiles available for the i7-2700K: 4.5GHz, 4.6GHz, and a blistering 4.8GHz. It was shipped with the 4.6GHz profile enabled, and that's the one we're going with; frankly the voltage on the 4.8GHz profile is a bit on the high side and would be difficult to recommend for sustained use. That and as you'll see later on, while there's some thermal headroom, the heatsink and fan combo have to work harder and largely negate the advantages of building a silent (or at least quiet) system.

Futuremark PCMark 7

Futuremark PCMark Vantage

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R11.5

Video Encoding - x264

Video Encoding - x264

The i7-2700K's 4.6GHz clock is among the fastest overclocks we've tested, and certainly enough to steal top billing in situations that are more dependent on single-threaded performance. Once we get to multi-threaded tasks, though, any of the hex-core processors are able to produce superior performance. Note, though, that in both PCMarks the blistering fast second-generation SandForce controller powering the AVADirect system's OCZ Vertex 3 SSD is enough to produce a sizable advantage.

Futuremark 3DMark 11

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

Futuremark 3DMark06

The 3DMarks are a bit less kind to AVADirect's system, but keep in mind what it's competing against: a GeForce GTX 580 is the fastest single-GPU card in NVIDIA's stable, while virtually every other system except for WarFactory's budget gaming rig is employing at least two GPUs. In practice, a single GTX 580 is sufficient to run just about every game currently out at high detail settings and QHD/QWXGA resolutions.

Gaming Performance

With all of these games running at our High preset, a single GTX 580 is more than enough to handle 1080p gaming, and this is a point I want to drive home: SLI and CrossFire are nice ideas, but a single GPU is both less of a headache and still perfectly adequate for single monitor gaming. All of these games still have plenty of performance headroom on the GTX 580.

You'll note that Civilization V is missing from the benchmark table, though. While the game itself actually runs perfectly fine with no problems on the system, the benchmark mode refuses to run at anything but 1650x1050. It's unusual, and even NVIDIA is stumped as to why this problem materialized. For what it's worth, while I can't provide any concrete numbers I will say that my own desktop with a GeForce GTX 580 and i7-990X has had no problems at all providing a silky smooth framerate in this game at 1920x1200 with 8xAA and VSync enabled—and Jarred has been running a GTX 580 with a 30" LCD since July, with no complaints regarding gaming performance.

Introducing the AVADirect Silent Gaming PC Build, Heat, and Power Consumption
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  • Galcobar - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    42 dBA isn't anywhere near silent -- I understand it's near the floor for Dustin's measurement capabilities and something like Silent PC Review's 10 dBA lab is quite out of reach, but being near the floor of a loud room doesn't qualify for a silent or even low-noise computer.

    Noise measurement on these complete systems, particularly when reviewing systems attempting to sell themselves on noise reduction, would add a lot to these reviews. There's a gap in review sites I find: SPCR covers very quiet systems, but rarely deals with competent gaming builds, while gaming/enterprise reviewers rarely seem to give more than a superficial consideration to noise levels for these full builds.

    Boutique builds produced four years ago with roughly equivalent TDP (higher CPU, lower GPU) and much less optimally-designed cases and CPU/GPU coolers were available in the 20-30 dBA range.

    The criticism of the lazy overclock and poor component choices certainly seems accurate. For a partial comparison, Puget Systems has its i7 system using the Gelid Tranquilo, but equipped with Scythe Slipstream fans, and idles at 12 dBA (using 68W) and maxes out (Furmark + Prime 95) at 15 dBA (using 215W). Puget's Serenity uses a silent GPU, but Jarred noted the GTX 580 wasn't the problem with the AVADirect Silent.

  • JarredWalton - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    I think you missed the end of your comment, but I'm not sure about the comment that "Jarred noted the GTX 580 wasn't the problem with the AVADirect Silent PC". I think the GPU and CPU and case fans all contribute to the noise. It's hard for me to imagine anything with GTX 580 coming in under 30dB under load. Anyway, as I mentioned above, the limits of Dustin's equipment is 40dB, which is part of the reason he measures at 12". He can still hear an audible ramp up in system noise before the 40dB is crossed, though, so I'm guessing at idle the system is close to 30dB. I know my place gets down to about 30dB at night if I shut off all the PCs, but I have a different (better I suppose) SPL meter and I don't live in the CA suburbs.
  • lurker22 - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    Wow you must REALLY like PC gaming to spend $700 on a video card! lol
  • Tetracycloide - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    Could have just flashed your firmware to 6970 and been just fine performance wise assuming you're only using one monitor. If you have multiple monitors and an eyefinity set-up maybe you need that kind of power but the 6950 would have been a silly thing to buy in the first place were that the case.
  • GoGamerPro - Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - link

    I have video games and computers for sale at

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