System Builder Marathon, March 2011: Value Compared

Benchmark Results: Productivity

The $1000 machine offers surprisingly good Photoshop performance at its stock frequency , but gains little from overclocking. The $500 machine just suffers in general as the AMD Phenom II can't get as much done per clock cycle as Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture. And that's despite the fact we're talking about quad-core CPUs.

Using similar processors based on the same core, the $1000 and $2000 machines scale appropriately with clock rate in 3ds Max 2010. The $500 machine’s older CPU architecture continues holding it back, even when overclocked.

In WinRAR, a 4.4 GHz CPU clock is barely enough to help the $1000 machine catch up to the $2000 machine’s 3.4 GHz baseline. That poor O/C scaling could be due to its slower RAM or, most likely, its lower-performance drives.

7-Zip compression times are a good reflection of CPU performance, where the $500 machine’s older architecture continues holding it back.

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  • Anonymous
    These articles are always interesting, but...

    Could you please do an EU/UK SBM at some point? It's all very well looking at these to help decisions for our builds, but there can be big differences in relative pricing over here. It would, if nothing else, be an interesting comparision, plus you could run the giveaway open to us folks this side of the pond for a change...
  • evilgenius134
    For builds across the ocean to the UK you can simply change the symbol as hardware has a tendency to be the same numerical value from US to the UK.