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.

Create a new thread in the UK Article comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
Comment from the forums
    Your comment
  • mi1ez
    ASRock defaults DDR3-2133 memory to 1.5665 V. Add in the 1% over-voltage we’ve been seeing nearly every board vendor sneak in over the past several product cycles, and we come up to around 1.68 V.

    1.5665 + 1% = 1.582165
  • Steveymoo
    Nice, this is a well balanced build! That's a good bit of troubleshooting you did there as well - I always wondered whether the super heavy CPU coolers would cause any problems, especially when you move the case around. I always worry that the large heatsink could sheer off when I have to transport my computer to a new flat.

    Better be careful y'all!
  • spentshells

    get a normal cooler Cm212 or even a CM tx4 and spend that other 50 bucks on some better cards. 7950's should be a minimum for a build of 1600
  • Anonymous
    Could've gone for a 7970 and a 3770k instead. I think most people would prefer to stay away from crossfire in a new build unless they're going for more performance than the best single GPU card. Maybe a board with more USB 3.0 internal headers would've been nice, i'm not a fan of having to plug devices in the back unless they are there to stay(exception being USB audio devices)
  • LePhuronn
    And the moral of this story is don't bother with archaic lumps of metal to cool your CPU. H100 people, simply no other choice.