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Ours is a rough job.

Every day, were tortured with the grueling task of playing with the latest and greatest hardware on the planet. Were paid to seek out the fastest and coolest components and report our findings to you. Yeah, we know. Somewhere, the worlds smallest violin is playing a sad tune to our misery. And well understand if youre not exactly convinced that we cried in agony over the latest cruel hand that fate dealt us: assemble a ferocious gaming PC that shoots firsts and asks questions. . . . Well, it doesnt ask questions. This machine lights up benchmarks so we can light up our foes. We took one look at the rad custom paint job on our Corsair Graphite Series 600T, courtesy of RJs Paint Shop (rjspaintshop. com), and the Green Gaming Goblin was born. Read on to see how Triple G emerged from the CPU System Workshop as one of our most diabolical creations yet.

Built To Win As weve already mentioned, the army green Corsair Graphite Series 600T has that oneof-a-kind look that only a seasoned modder can pull off. There are touches of distressed paint here and there, and with the lettering on the cases right side panel, this 600T looks like it was pulled straight out of one of the earlier Call of Duty titles. It would serve as the ammo box for some frighteningly awesome firepower.
Is there a processor right now thats more awesome than Intels new hexa-core hero, the Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition? (There isnt.) This CPU comes equipped with six cores, 15MB of Intel Smart Cache,


April 2012 /

you can put in a PC, and the heinously fast Windows and game load times were all the evidence we needed. Speaking of storage, Western Digital took care of our mass storage needs with a 3TB AV-GP drive. We cant be gaming all the time, so this drive is where well stash our music, videos, and everything else. Triple G wasnt finished yet, so we relied on two more veterans, Enermax and Zalman, to tackle our power and CPU cooling needs. Enermaxs Platimax 1000W is, with its ability to pump out a kilowatt of continuous power at 50 degrees Celsius and never dip below 89% efficiency, about as close as youre going to get to a perfect power supply. Zalmans CNPS11X Performa proves that you dont need a jet turbine to keep a high-end processor cool. Finally, because this was no ordinary gaming system, we absolutely need extraordinary peripherals. Power users go to such extreme measures to put the very best components inside their PCs, but they need the very best peripherals outside their PCs in order to be a true force to be reckoned with. Corsairs Vengeance line of gaming keyboards, mice, and headsets was exactly what we needed. The K60 keyboard and M60 mouse took care of our input needs, while the Vengeance 1500 headset delivered explosive Dolby 7.1 sound to our ears.

and an integrated memory controller that opens the door to quad-channel memory configurations. The only thing we needed to set it free was an X79 motherboard. For that, we used GIGABYTEs GAX79-UD3. This is GIGABYTEs baseline X79 board, but theres really nothing baseline about it. In fact, it has the same number of PCI-E x16 slots, the same memory support, and the same 4-way SLI/ CrossFire support as its big brother, the GA-X79-UD7. With a fresh BIOS (F8), it was ready to set some records. With a green case, it only felt right to go green for our graphics. By this, were referring

to NVIDIA, obviously. Nothing but the best would do, and with Kepler still behind the curtain, we set our sights on a pair of Sparkle Computers GeForce GTX VGO cards. These Fermi-based bad boys came at our games like a couple of spider monkeys. We chose Kingston to take care of our system memory and boot drive. HyperX was the only way to go for Triple G, and even at that, we went as fast as we could. The 8GB HyperX Genesis kit (KHX2400C11D3K4/8GX) ran so fast DDR3-2400that our jaw went right through the floor and didnt stop until it hit the basement. Similarly, the 240GB HyperX SSD is some of the fastest solid-state storage

Like The Karate Kid After the Green Gaming Goblin roared to life and decimated every test we hit it with, we decided that this behemoth was more than just a great PC for gaming. It could handle the toughest tasks and barely break a sweat. Compared to all of our previous builds, Triple G was the best around, and nothing we did could bring it down.
In the following pages, we discuss many of our picks in more detail. Be sure to check out the big finale, where we reveal the results of our latest rigs romp through the benchmarks.

CPU / April 2012


So much compromise. The McRib is gone again, so we settled for a Big Mac. We were all set for some Skyrim action when Mrs. CPU said it would be fun to play Just Dance Volume Whatever together. Ugh. Now, from the safety of our top-secret CPU nerd bunker, weve decided that our unstoppable gaming PC would be our opening offensive in the war against compromise. For this systems processor, Intels new Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition is our weapon of choice. Its a six-core thermonuclear warhead built on a 32nm process and ready to lay waste to any workload you put in front of it. The Core i7-3960X is one half (the other being the X79 chipset) of Intels latest enthusiast platform, which the chipmaker released to eager power users near the end of 2011. The Core i7-3960X takes the performance crown from Intels previous six-core czar, the Core i7-990X. So what makes the Core i7-3960X so special? Lets start with its memory controller, because its pretty extraordinary. The Core i7-3960X has a quad-channel memory controller. This is one step up from the triple-channel controller that many of Intels earlier high-end Core i7s, but one step up barely does this advancement justice. When Intel pitted the Core i7-3960X against the Core i7-990X and Core i7-2600K in SiSoft Sandra 2011b, the Core i7-3960X smoked them both, delivering 102% and 114% improvements in memory performance, respectively. Running four sticks of DDR3-1600, the Core i7-3960X is capable of an insane maximum theoretical bandwidth of 51.2GBps. Of the chips many noteworthy improvements, two highlights are a boost in Smart Cache size and support for PCI-E 3.0. The whopping 15MB of Smart Cache in the Core i7-3960X is 25% more than the Core

Specs: Socket: Intel LGA2011; Clock speed: 3.3GHz (3.9GHz Max Turbo); 15MB Intel Smart Cache; Hyper-Threading; TDP: 130W; 32nm process

i7-990X offers, so even though the latter has a higher stock clock speed, the Core i73960X handily beats its predecessor in tasks such as video editing, 3D rendering, and ray tracing (as well as pretty much everything else). The Core i7-3960Xs PCI-E 3.0 is ready to take full advantage of the latest and greatest graphics cards, and you get 40 lanes to work with. By now, you know that Intel CPUs branded with an X have unlocked multipliers to encourage overclocking shenanigans. In our Core i7-3960X review (see page 25 in January 2012 issue), we were able to jack up

the processor to 4.8GHz, which is basically like taking the Incredible Hulk and blasting him with more gamma rays to turn him into some sort of Ultra Mega Incredible Hulk. (Hulk thinks this good.) If you want the fastest enthusiast processor money can buy, do what we did: Accept no compromises and get yourself a Core i7-3960X.
Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition $999 Intel

CPU / April 2012