Page 1:From CPU To GPU: Shifting The Balance
Page 2:Graphics, CPU, And Motherboard
Page 3:Memory And Storage
Page 4:Case, Cooling, And Power
Page 5:Building Our $2,000 PC
Page 7:Benchmark And System Configurations
Page 8:Benchmark Results: 3DMark And PCMark
Page 9:Benchmark Results: SiSoftware Sandra
Page 10:Benchmark Results: Battlefield 3 And DiRT 3
Page 11:Benchmark Results: Skyrim And StarCraft II
Page 12:Benchmark Results: Audio And Video Encoding
Page 13:Benchmark Results: Productivity
Page 14:Power, Heat, And Efficiency
Page 15:Does This Quarter's Build Beat Our Previous Effort?
Does This Quarter's Build Beat Our Previous Effort?
A somewhat-disappointing overclock hurt the average performance we were able to coax from this quarter's machine. But is it still a better value than its predecessor? A recent price drop on the parts we ordered (from $1,985 down to $1,900) should certainly help!
Our fourth-quarter build begins with a stellar 28% value lead over the third-quarter system. But it ends up only 2% ahead when both boxes get overclocked. Even though its value leadership tapers off after overclocking, even a small lead is good for the win.
But overclocking limitations are only one part of the overclocked machine’s diminished lead. It was also prone to bottlenecks in our low-resolution gaming tests. We can't get mad about that; it's just a side-effect of pitting one high-end build against a couple of less expensive machines. But a value comparison at 2560x1600 should more convincingly demonstrate the true advantage of this system's beefier graphics array.
Even though the new build had overclocking problems, it retains in excess of 50% gaming superiority versus last quarter's build, overclocked.
Powerful in both productivity and media transcoding applications, the new build shines most brightly in games. Casual gamers could probably have this system serve double duty as a workstation, if only it didn't look like a kid's toy. Our former build took the opposite approach, pairing killer productivity and encoding performance with moderately-high gaming capability.
Built-up today, what could we change about the Q4 configuration to match the strengths of last quarter's setup? Well, thanks to recent price drops on several of the components we ordered, we definitely could have bought a more professional-looking case. But that's not the first place we would have put our extra money. Instead, we’d begin by looking for a huge CPU cooler, ignoring the $50 budget we set for ourselves. Then, we might have picked a motherboard with a stronger voltage regulator. Only after solving our overclocking issues would we have considered a sharper-looking enclosure.
- From CPU To GPU: Shifting The Balance
- Graphics, CPU, And Motherboard
- Memory And Storage
- Case, Cooling, And Power
- Building Our $2,000 PC
- Benchmark And System Configurations
- Benchmark Results: 3DMark And PCMark
- Benchmark Results: SiSoftware Sandra
- Benchmark Results: Battlefield 3 And DiRT 3
- Benchmark Results: Skyrim And StarCraft II
- Benchmark Results: Audio And Video Encoding
- Benchmark Results: Productivity
- Power, Heat, And Efficiency
- Does This Quarter's Build Beat Our Previous Effort?