TweakTown Commander PC Benchmarked (April 2011)

We don't just tell you what you should buy with a $2,000 budget, but also show you what it's capable of so you can make a more informed decision.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Mon, Apr 25 2011 3:16 AM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Manufacturer: TweakTown

Introduction and Package


Introduction

TweakTown Commander PC Benchmarked (April 2011) 07 | TweakTown.com
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This is always a great article to do as it really gives us a chance to show people just what the parts we recommend in our Commander based system are capable of. It's one thing to point people in the direction of parts, but it's another to show them the kind of performance they're able to get when combining those parts together.

As we treat the Commander PC as a system, we will take a slightly different approach to it than we normally would when reviewing a video card; instead we'll add some system benchmarks into the mix.

Before we look at the performance side of things, we'll first have a closer look at the Commander PC and some of the key components. We don't organize all the parts in our Commander PC, because not all of them are needed to give you an idea on performance. Instead we just organize the main components like Motherboard, RAM, Video Card, Storage, and of course, the CPU.

What we'll do first is have a look at these main components and why we chose them. Once that's done we'll then see how we go with the Commander PC and overclocking before we get stuck into the benchmark side of things.

A Closer look at the Commander




When it comes to testing the Commander PC, we don't need to have all the components listed in our SBG of the system here. Items like PSU, Case, Speakers etc. don't affect the overall performance, which means we don't need to have those parts on hand. Instead, we just organize the items that do contribute to performance and we'll cover those particular parts here.

The decision to go with the P67 chipset is an absolute no brainer. Its performance is nothing short of fantastic and it can be accompanied with what I consider the best CPU on the market at the moment when it comes to value for money - the Intel i7 2600k.

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The P67 board of choice? The ASRock Fatal1ty P67 Professional. And while you might not be the biggest fan of Fatal1ty, nor some of the items he's stamped his name on, this ASRock board is killer. Everything from the box to the PCB looks great and there's some really nifty little features on the board that make it stand out. When combined with the 2600k, overclocking is an absolute breeze and there's really not much more you could ask for.

TweakTown Commander PC Benchmarked (April 2011) 03 | TweakTown.com


While probably the most key components are indeed the CPU and Motherboard, the most important component for when it comes to making sure you're going to have a great gaming experience would be the video card. The aggressive pricing of the AMD HD 6000 series means we're able to put in the second fastest single GPU offering from the company in the form of the Sapphire HD 6950 2GB. This is a card and model that's always impressed us, and you'll see why today.

TweakTown Commander PC Benchmarked (April 2011) 05 | TweakTown.com


The last time we benchmarked the Commander PC which was roughly 12 months ago, we had an SSD setup. To give you an idea of how much better pricing has become on the technology, though, we've moved from a dual 30GB setup to a dual 60 GB setup in RAID 0 in the form of Mushkin Callisto Deluxe drives. 120GB of storage should be plenty to run your games off and is a really nice upgrade from the 60GB setup previously.

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Last but certainly not least is memory, and that comes in the form of a Patriot Viper Xtreme 1866MHz 8GB kit. The reason for 1866MHz over 2000MHz is that 1866MHz is a natively supported speed on the P67 platform. The next native one from that is 2133MHz and that brings with it a bit of a price jump.

The Viper Extreme series from Patriot don't just carry strong specifications, but also one of the best quality heatsinks we've seen on a memory module. Combined with 8GB of RAM of two sticks and you've got the perfect kit of RAM for your machine.

That's really all the main components out of the way, so let's have a look at the test system quickly and how we're going to be comparing the Commander PC today.

Test System Setup and AIDA64


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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASRock, Mushkin, Mittoni, Sapphire and Corsair.

On the previous page we covered our main components, so there's not much more to look at when it comes the overall test system. When it comes to comparing the system today, though, we'll simply be comparing it against itself when overclocked. The cooler we used is the Corsair A70 which I haven't used before, but has proven to be very good.

What we ended up doing was getting our CPU running at 4.8GHz, which is a really nice overclock. We also bumped our HD 6950 up. The core ended up at 900MHz which is 100MHz over stock and the memory up 200MHz QDR to 5200MHz QDR.

TweakTown Commander PC Benchmarked (April 2011) 01 | TweakTown.com


It will be interesting to see the kind of performance we get out of the Commander PC at stock, but even more interesting to see how it performs when our CPU is clocked at 4.8GHz.

Let's get started!


AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA
Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com
Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com
Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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When we overclock you can really see the extra performance that's on offer from a synthetic stand point on the CPU. It comes as no surprise to see the huge gain we're seeing here when we're clocked at 4.8GHz. It's indeed very impressive.

AIDA64 - Continued


AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA
Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com
Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com
Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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Of course, when overclocking Disk Performance doesn't vary, which isn't a surprise. What's amazing, though, is the amount of performance that's on offer from this 120GB RAID 0 setup. Random write speed of over 400 MB/s is extremely impressive.

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While we don't increase the memory speed, we can indeed see performance does sky rocket when we overclock thanks to the overall extra bandwidth on offer from the CPU being clocked so high.

3DMark 11




Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/
Buy It Here




3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

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Out of the box we're getting P5000 from our Commander PC in 3DMark 11. Overclocked, though, we can see a really nice boost in performance that equates to almost 20%.

Unigine Heaven Benchmark




Version and / or Patch Used: 2
Developer Homepage: http://www.unigine.com
Product Homepage: http://unigine.com/press-releases/091022-heaven_benchmark//



New benchmark grants the power to unleash the DirectX 11 potential in the gift wrapping of impressively towering graphics capabilities. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is ensured within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.

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Heaven again shows us the difference that overclocking brings with our 1920 x 1200 score jumping to over 1,000. Some impressive looking numbers at both resolutions, though.

Benchmarks - Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2


Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.2

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/UK/default.aspx
Product Homepage: http://www.hawxgame.com/




Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 is an arcade-style flight action game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft. The game is the sequel to Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., released in 2009.

The game begins with Colonel David Crenshaw participating in a routine patrol mission in the Middle East. After halting an insurgent attack, a volley of missiles is fired at the Air Force base that Crenshaw was stationed at, with one of the missiles disabling Crenshaw's aircraft, resulting Crenshaw being in enemy captivity. A joint strike force composed of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and a Ghost Recon squad executes an operation to rescue Crenshaw. In Scotland, Royal Navy Pilot Colin Munro encounters an unidentified passenger aircraft that explodes from an on-board bomb when undergoing training exercise. In Russia, an air force squadron led by Colonel Denisov and Captain Dmitri Sokov engages separatist aircraft but is ordered to retreat from the region after numerous Russian military installations have been attacked.

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Across the board we've got some great performance from both setups with playable numbers even at 2560 x 1600. Overclocking, though, really helps the whole setup breathe a bit more and you can see we're able to jump ahead of that 60 FPS average we aim for.

Benchmarks - Mafia II


Mafia II

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.2kczech.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.mafia2game.com/
Buy It Here




Mafia II is a third-person action-adventure video game, the sequel to Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven. It is developed by 2K Czech, previously known as Illusion Softworks, and is published by 2K Games. The game is set from 1943 to 1951 in Empire Bay (the name is a reference to New York's state nickname "The Empire State"), a fictional city based on San Francisco and New York City, with influences from Chicago and Detroit. The game features a completely open-ended game map of 10 square miles. No restrictions are included from the start of the game. There are around 50 vehicles in the game, as well as licensed music from the era.

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Mafia II shows some very impressive performance, but you can see that out of the box we struggle to hit the 60 FPS barrier at the highest resolution. Overclocked, though, we can see we're able to break that barrier and that's exactly what we hope to achieve when it comes to overclocking.

Benchmarks - Aliens vs. Predator


Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.rebellion.co.uk/
Product Homepage: http://www.sega.com/games/aliens-vs-predator/




Aliens vs. Predator is a science fiction first-person shooter video game, developed by Rebellion Developments, the team behind the 1999 original PC game, and published by Sega for Microsoft Windows, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. The game is based on the Alien vs. Predator franchise, a combination of the characters and creatures of the Alien franchise and the Predator franchise. There are three campaigns in the game, one for each race/faction (the Predators, the Aliens and the Colonial Marines), that, while separate in terms of individual plot and gameplay, form one overarching storyline.

Following the storyline of the campaign modes comes the multiplayer aspect of the game. In this Multiplayer section of the game, players face off in various different gametypes in various different ways.

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Aliens vs. Predator is an intensive game and you can see both setups struggle at the highest resolution. Like Mafia II, though, when we overclock we're able to see the 60 FPS barrier broken at 1920 x 1200, which as we mentioned on the last page is exactly what you hope to achieve when you start to overclock the CPU and video card.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF


High Quality AA and AF

Our high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before, they will start to now.

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While Mafia II does struggle, we again see overclocked that the Commander PC is able to break the 60 FPS barrier.

Final Thoughts




The Commander PC is a real beast these days and that's thanks to the Intel i7 2600k CPU being such a beast and offering us just huge overclocking potential. You can also really see what we're able to achieve when we overclock the CPU and video card. We're able to get our games from what we would label as non-playable to playable which is of course when we see the FPS average move from below 60 FPS to 60 FPS or better.

CPU performance and RAM performance is also excellent, but something that really stands out outside of the video card performance would have to be the hard drive performance. The 60GB Mushkin drives in RAID 0 not only make for a great size of 120GB, but also just some awesome performance.

It's really good to see just what kind of performance you're able to get out of the $2,000 Commander PC and as you can see, when overclocked the system has no problems dealing with games at 1920 x 1200 and even has the ability to play some games at 2560 x 1600. Considering we're dealing with only a single video card, it's pretty amazing.

Something else that was really surprising outside of all these key components, though, was the Corsair A70 cooler. I've never used a Corsair air cooler before, but this one is a really great unit and had absolutely no trouble handling our 2600k at 4.8GHz which is very impressive.

All in all, it's good to see just what kind of performance you're able to get from the Commander PC. It's also funny when writing this article to compare this PC to the previous Commander PC in June of last year which consisted of a P55 motherboard, i7 860, Sapphire HD 5850 and a 60 GB RAID 0 SSD setup. What else is interesting is that when we tested that Commander PC, we could only achieve 4GHz out of our CPU. The 2600k today, though, is able to achieve 4.8GHz which is fantastic and just gives you an idea of the amount of power on offer.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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