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Build a hellacious PC with Intel's Devil's Canyon and AMD's dual-GPU graphics monster

Marco Chiappetta | Oct. 30, 2014
Combining Intel's fastest processor with AMD's beefiest graphics card melted our faces--in both gaming performance and sheer power usage. Join us as we build the beast.

After relocating the Blackhawk's stock fan to the top of the case where there was a second available mounting location--and where the Radeon's radiator also wouldn't fit, thanks to our oversized CPU cooler--we attempted to squeeze in the radiator, but it still bumped up against a ridge just above the motherboard's rear I/O panel. Ultimately, we simply used two of the holes in the case's fan grille to mount the radiator, rather than the pre-drilled screw holes, which worked well enough. We would have preferred to use all four screws to hold the radiator in place, but it was secure enough with two screws, so we lived with it.

Routing the Radeon's liquid-cooling tubing around the CPU cooler posed another challenge. If the tubing had butted up against sharp metal in the CPU cooler, we would have had to find another solution. The tubing barely touched the edge of a plastic fan and didn't hinder the blades, so we wrapped the tubing around the front of the CPU cooler and let it ride.

Mounting and installing all of the other components posed no problems, thankfully.

If you'd like more detailed steps on assembling a PC, familiarize yourself with PCWorld's guide to PC building best practices. Our instructions on how to properly install a CPU cooler will help ensure you get that critical installation right the first time, every time.

The end result
This system was worth the bruised knuckles and stress. It's a beast even without tapping into Devil's Canyon's overclocking potential.

We used a handful of readily-available benchmarks to quantify the performance of our Devil's Canyon-based rig, including 3Dmark, Unigine Heaven, Cinebench, and PCMark. If you'd like to compare the performance of your system against ours, go for it, but be warned--you'll probably feel a little inadequate afterward.

In the 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme benchmark, our system put up a very strong score of 8,626, which was higher than 90-plus percent of the systems in Futuremark's database. In the Unigine Heaven benchmark (v4.0), with Ultra quality settings at a resolution of 2560x1600 with 4X anti-aliasing and maximum tessellation enabled, the system scored 1,511 (with an average frame rate of 60 FPS)--another strong showing. In the popular Cinebench R15 benchmark, the system put up 153.58 frames per second in the OpenGL test and scored and excellent 885 points in the multi-threaded CPU test. In terms of overall system performance, our Devil's Canyon build scored 6,847 PCMarks with the latest build of PCMark 7, and its storage score was an impressive 5,621.

Over and above the benchmarks scores, the system is simply as fast, smooth, and responsive as we've seen to date. The relatively high core clocks on the CPU, copious amount of memory, speedy SSD, and ultra-powerful graphics card culminate in what is essentially a no-compromise system.


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