System Builder Marathon, Sept. '09: $1,250 Enthusiast Build


Because this is where we compare all of the systems, we had to leave the H.A.W.X. and Fallout 3 game benchmarks out of these aggregate scores since we recently added those to our SBM gaming suite and didn't use them to benchmark the previous SBM system. The game score therefore reflects only Crysis, Far Cry 2, and the World in Conflict.

Since these machines are really targeted at high-resolution and high-detail gaming, we only used the high-detail 1920x1200 data to come up with the aggregate score on this page. As a result, we see that the $1,250 AMD/ATI system comes up with a slight win over the previous SBM's Intel and GeForce box.

Once again, we think the new system's gaming advantage would have demonstrated itself a lot more at the 2560x1600 resolution, but without having benched the previous system at that resolution, it's hard to say. What we can say for sure is that this new $1,250 AMD build is a solid high-resolution gaming box.

Aside from gaming, when it comes to synthetics and application benchmarks, the $1,250 AMD box is humbled compared to the Core i7-920 machine, which isn't a big surprise. The stock i7 system shows a 23% application performance lead over the Phenom II at stock speeds and that figure increases to 50% when overclocked.

But we didn't really build this system with applications in mind, since this is a no-holds barred gaming setup. The $1,250 box did the job for which we built it (and you asked for), and it games at high resolution and high detail just as well as a similarly-priced Core i7-920 system sporting a pair of GeForce GTX 260 cards in SLI.

What will be really interesting is to see how it fares against Thomas Soderstrom's $2,500 AMD build tomorrow. Also, how will Paul Henningsen's budget-AMD system stack up? As always, we look forward to the concluding SBM article and final comparison to see where everything lands. It's sure to be a battle worth watching.

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  • mi1ez
    And remember, these systems are all being given away at the end of the marathon. Keep an eye on this space; this is where we'll post the link to enter the contest for all three systems once the series concludes!

    And remember folks, this competition is NOT open to UK residents!
  • rickbmb
    Nice !
    Interesting choice going with 4 cards, i wonder how much difference you would get with 2 x 4890, i bet it'd be real close to the 4 x 4850.
  • jimishtar
    four cards is simply stoopid. i mean, its 4850, who needs four of them??
  • broken_sticks
    if i won that machine, i'd swiftly put two of those GPUs to better use...
  • devilxc
    I assume the price for the intel computer was what it was in April and not now? If that is the case; the intel computer is cheaper, better at everything excluding gaming, about the same at gaming and cheaper to upgrade (2 cards instead of 4).

    Just a thought.