April 8, 2012
The PCPartPicker Build Series highlights different computer builds several times a month. Sets of components are assembled, benchmarked, and reviewed, covering different price points and use cases from basic browsing to gaming.
For this build, I'll be assembling the following system:
|CPU||Intel Pentium G620 2.6GHz Dual-Core Processor|
|Motherboard||Biostar H61MU3 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard|
|Memory||Kingston 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1066 Memory|
|Hard Drive||Hitachi Deskstar 5K3000 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive|
|Case||NZXT Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case|
|Power Supply||Cooler Master 450W ATX12V Power Supply|
PCPartPicker does a considerable amount of hardware benchmarking. To accommodate this, I wanted a machine that could:
- Store a large set of hard drive images, ranging in size of 5-120GB each.
- Automate and log power measurements (via a USB-based power monitoring device).
- Automate video recording of certain benchmark sequences, with video overlays of relevant data.
- Automatically upload benchmark results to pcpartpicker.com.
- Run Linux headlessly - no keyboard, mouse, or monitor. Access via SSH.
For this set of requirements, a light-to-moderate amount of CPU power is necessary. While a single core can likely handle the load, dual cores provide a bit of processing power headroom. An Intel Pentium G620 CPU is efficient and inexpensive, and provides plenty of CPU power.
Since the Intel G620 CPU contains an integrated video controller, onboard video can be used by choosing the proper chipset. A Biostar H61MU3 motherboard hosts an H61 chipset, which supports onboard video when paired with a CPU that has integrated video (such as the G620). The onboard video is used for OS installation, configuration, and occasional maintenance, so a separate video card is not necessary. All other interaction is done over the network via SSH.
As the number of hard drive images stored on the device is only likely to increase, there needs to be plenty of space for additional drives. The NZXT Source 210 case handles this requirement with ease as it provides eight 3-1/2" internal drive bays. While the Biostar H61MU3 motherboard only hosts 4 SATA ports, additional ports can always be added via a separate SATA controller card.
Powering everything is a Cooler Master 450W power supply. At 450 watts, the supply is a bit overkill for the power draw of the components. However, it provides plenty of headroom in case all eight drive bays are populated.
March 7, 2012
After considerable development, many hardware swaps, sleep deprivation, and an abnormally large power bill for the month, I'm pleased to announce that benchmarks are now live on PCPartPicker.
The initial set is not complete, but I feel like it is a large enough sampling of hardware for people to get an idea of what it will become. As time progresses, I will be incorporating more hardware and adding more results. I will also be expanding the set of benchmarks to be run as well. I wanted more to be available, but at a certain point you just have to stop and ship it.
In addition to providing tables of benchmark data, you can also get relevant benchmark information based on your particular part list (if available). When you configure a part list, a "Benchmarks" tab will appear next to the "Prices By Merchant". If you click on this tab, it'll show you benchmark results that are available and relevant to parts you've picked out. However, as my hardware pool is somewhat limited right now, it may not show many (if any) results… for now.
I hope you find it useful. Please let me know if you have any feedback or bug reports.