System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: $1,600 Alternative PC

Results: Battlefield 3 And Far Cry 3

The $1,600 PC’s CrossFire configuration bumps up against Battlefield 3’s 200 FPS limit at 1680x1050 and 1920x1080. Naturally, though, you wouldn't buy this much graphics horsepower unless a single 2560x1600 display or three 1920x1080 screens were your goal. The 200 FPS limit certainly hurts the alternative system’s overall performance advantage, but a separate chart will show off its greater-than-90% gain at 5760x1080.

Cranking the detail levels up to Ultra quality, we find that just one Tahiti LE-based card isn't capable of achieving playable frame rates at 5760x1080 or, thanks to Battlefield 3’s high frame rate variability, 2560x1600.

Leaning hard on CrossFire yields playable Far Cry 3 frame rates at 5760x1080, but only at our lower test settings. Dialing up to the Ultra quality preset drops the $1,600 PC’s playability to 2560x1600, though you might be able to get similar performance at 4800x900.

The $1,000 PC is primarily limited to 1920x1080, High quality details, and no extra graphics features in this title.