System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: System Value Compared

Results: Battlefield 3

The $800 machine’s secret-weapon beta driver doesn't help it in Battlefield 3 (already a title pretty well-optimized for), though my $1,000 machine’s higher memory data rate does appear to help performance a bit.

The cheapest PC wasn’t even tested at 2560x1600, yet its tiny Radeon HD 7850 performs impressively at Ultra quality details and 1920x1080.

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  • 13thmonkey
    thomas, your assertion that you'd expect an overall power drop as a result of the SSD is utter rubbish, the difference in power draw between an ssd and a hdd is perhaps 5W (at the outside?) whilst this is measurable for a drive on its own, any minor variations in other components, a better mobo, an extra fan (as you pointed out) and just general noise (what is idle really) will mask that benefit.

    Yes SSD's are more power efficient but you should only expect to see the benefit when you have optimised the whole build for lower power levels. Its a bit of a marketing ploy really, 7W or 2W doesn't really matter if your total system load is 150-400W, don't fall for the marketing, we need our reviewers to be immune to that and to cut through the BS.
  • Anonymous
    excellent very interesting i enjoyed reading every bit of it!
    I personally would like to take your conclusions and suspicions and see them followed through it would be nice to see a system builder marathon with the same price points but have each team given a standard ssd to start their build with. i think this would give us a good idea of the additional performance of ssd and prevent the compromise we see every time with storage vs cpu/gpu
  • Steveymoo
    Another experiment in system building. I'm guessing 90% of people that visit this site are PC gamers, and every single time I read these system builder marathons, I see poorly balanced builds. Never enough money spent on the GPU, or a single GPU option when dual GPUs would have kicked much more ass.

    Though, in absolute fairness, games are so graphically none intensive now, I don't suppose there's much point blowing a wad on GPUs.
  • Kef
    Interesting, but how about a test based around something we would prefer to live with (semi enthusiast level). The marathon series has been much of a muchness for quite a while, so I'd like to see something investigating price points. How about all three investigate at a specific price point with a list of objectives at that value - (say 600, 1000, 1300, 1800)
    1. Say all three get an 1300 budget
    2. each toss a coin between AMD/NVIDIA single card setups (some variation please)
    3. All systems should have an SSD boot drive + separate storage drive
    4. Air cooled vs water cooled vs stock cooling
    5. Would be nice to have a case that wouldn't frighten the pets.
    6. Gaming and video encoding as the objectives

    other variations might include a HTPC challenge

    A couple of these until the next big jump in GPU's / CPU's would be nice.
  • MajinCry
    Many systems built here!

    But wait, there seems to be a SMALL issue here...

    "" | "$600 Gaming PC $800 Enthusiast PC $1000 Performance PC"

  • SchizoFrog
    Just looking at the % of the price levels and who ever is working out the sums needs to go back to school. $800 is 1 third of $600 on top, which should be 133.3% not 132.5% and as for $1000, well that is 2 thirds of $600 on top so it should be 166.6% and not 163.3%. Not nearly, not about, without going in to infinite decimals it is exactly that. If they can't even get these basic sums right then how can we trust any of the figures given here?
  • moberr
    When do tomshardware.CO.UK plan to hand out Pounds?