It's been a little while coming but finally, now the huge amount of Graphic Card releases has slowed down, we can bring you the overview of the Cincinnati Bengal rig.
For those of you who don't frequent the forums or Youtube you might not know that this was a surprise system built by Tom for me as a thanks for the swathes of work that I do for the site. Obviously Tom is the face of the site, but as always there is a lot of behind the scenes stuff. Anyway with a combination of some wonderful companies and much secrecy, I am the very proud owner of a gorgeous water-cooled system.
Rather than just go "wahoo" and then get on and play we thought you might like a little overview of a system freed from the constraints of our bench testing procedure. With so many new bits of hardware on the market it can be very tempting to think that a high end system on current technology wont be enough. Let's have a shuftie.
Now of course there are a couple of serious bits of hardware in this, that definitely don't come under the 'average system' specifications. They are of course the dual Corsair Force GT's that I reviewed earlier, and the Zotac GTX590 with waterblock.
Intel Core i7-2600K @ 4.6GHz
ASRock Z68 Extreme4 Gen3
16GB Kingston T1 1600MHz
2x Corsair Force GT 240GB in RAID0
Phobya 360 Radiator
Phobya Dual-bay Reservoir
Mayhem Custom Coolant
CoolerMaster ATCS 840
BitFenix Spectre Orange LED Fans
BeQuiet Dark Power 850W PSU
Now I'm just going to rattle through a few tests to give a flavour of what it has to offer.
Starting off with the Intel i7-2600K which on the Asrock Extreme4 is currently clocked to 4.6GHz which is nice and stable for the time being. When the window arrives and the system can be 'locked down' I'll see what the ragged edge is. The AlphaCool CPU block keeps the CPU around 55°C under load which is good considering the system is designed for silence more than absolute cooling performance.
In AIDA we can see how good the performance of the 2600K is. Although it's giving 400MHz away to our 5GHz example the performance is damn good.
Alongside the CPU is 16GB of Kingston memory in the black T1 heatsink, which matches the black and orange theme perfectly. Given how much work goes on in Photoshop and the like the 16GB is more important than absolute performance, but it looks damn good against the black slots of the Asrock Z68.
Intel certainly got the memory side of the Z68 chipset worked out perfectly. When we consider that this 1600MHz setup is faster than the quad-channel GTX8 in the X79 rig it's proof of how nailed on the underlying controller is. Although the 2133MHz kit on the stock 2600K setup shows how much extra performance would be available from a faster setup.
Of course the heart of any system, and the part that affects the gaming performance more than any other by a huge margin is the graphics card, and the Bengal rig has a Zotac GTX590 beating at the heart of it. The block is magnificent, keeping the card at a frosty 44°C maximum no matter what I've thrown at it, and as you'll see from the bottom graph that's a fair bit of stuff.
3D Mark is always a fun test to run, mainly because you can set it going and make a coffee, and nerds like me are 50% coffee at all times. 30000 H Marks and 20000 X Marks allow huge resolutions and anti-aliasing without grinding everything to a halt, and even 3D Mark 11 doesn't really put the GTX590 under any pressure.
For comparison purposes (and because they're good titles) some of the games are the same as those we bench with here at OC3D, but a couple of my own time-sinks are included because they're damn fine games too. The buggy but still fun F1 2011, and the ultra-popular Skyrim.
Skyrim deserves a special mention here because the 60FPS average is at maximum in-game settings, with Ambient Occlusion turned on in the nVidia control panel and the latest set of 2K HD textures. Eye candy to the max.
Isn't it a beauty! The carbon look is gorgeous and looks, as everything does, much better in real-life than it does in photos. Although ParcelFarce damaged it so badly that even the corners of the Phobya reservoir cover have broken, thankfully the res itself wont leak any of its Mayhem coolant.
So if you've ever wondered how much potential exists in a system such as this when freed from the constraints we place upon our bench setups, here are a couple of jaw-dropping demonstrations. PC Mark 7 with the power of the Corsair Force GTs and Zotac GTX590 behind it easily demolishes the Rampage IV Extreme LGA2011 setup. Proof you don't need to break the bank for a whole system when some choice upgrades could spark new life in to your current setup.
We all have run the Windows 7 performance test, and we've all wondered exactly what it would take to maximise it. We're damn close here and with some quicker RAM and a more concerted effort at overclocking the CPU, I should see 7.9 across the board.
All in all the Bengal rig is a peach. It's a damn shame that the ATCS 840 was so brutalised in the post, but it's a testament to the extraordinary engineering behind modern hardware that even the kind of knock that can bend the chassis, didn't affect the hardware one iota. Of course none of this would be possible without the many companies who helped put it all together, and the secret squirrel abilities of Tom.
So of course I have to thanks Corsair, Asrock, Intel, Kingston, Phobya, BitFenix, BeQuiet and Zotac for their assistance with bringing a little bit of Cincinnati to Southern England.
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