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System Builder Marathon: Low Cost System

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September 17, 2007 4:01:34 PM

http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/09/17/sbm_low_cost_system/index.html

We build the highest-performance PC that $1,000 can get, and prepare it to fight some upcoming system builder marathon competitors.
September 17, 2007 4:37:09 PM

Much better than the $500 build in parts selection.
September 17, 2007 4:51:06 PM

A balanced and intelligent selection of components yeilds a great blend of performance and value.

I too look forward to the comparison with the midrange system.
Related resources
September 17, 2007 5:09:48 PM

I fail to see how $1000 is a low cost system.
September 17, 2007 6:08:34 PM

That's easy.

$1000 is a low-cost system when it's getting compared against a $1500 and + systems... ;) 

September 17, 2007 6:23:25 PM

$1000 is more realistic for the kind of user reading Tom's. All the $500 builds were compromised and didn't include an OS. If someone asked me for a $500 build I'd direct them to Walmart for a prebuilt Dell.

Edit to add link:http://www.walmart.ca/wps-portal/storelocator/Canada-FeaturedPage.jsp?selection=listingDetails&tabId=0&singledept=null&lang=null&assetId=25016&imageId=34601&suggestedItem=&priceType=1&page=null&departmentId=70&categoryId=387

There for 497.88 CDN including Vista premium.
September 17, 2007 6:31:32 PM

agreed, at $500 you are hard pressed to build a better system (including OS and monitor) than what you can get from HP or Dell.
September 17, 2007 6:42:02 PM

my computer is ok and it was around 500
September 17, 2007 6:50:33 PM

I gotta say, I'm interested to see how the $1000 dollar rig will compare to the $1500 rig, since my budget for a new gaming rig is somewhere in between.

Another thing... try benchmarking with some newer games like maybe Bioshock?
September 17, 2007 6:50:48 PM

Nobody's saying your $500 computer isn't OK, Mega man. I made a $500 budget machine in our first marathon. It can still be done today.

However, alot of our readers commented that the $500 point was a little low, so we upped the ante this time around. We might lower it again next time. We'll see.
September 17, 2007 6:52:51 PM

18Amps per-rail for a total for 36Amps? That PSU really has 36Amps?
And a slight typo... top of page 6 you call the cooler an Arctic Cooling HyperTX 2.
Pretty good article though.
September 17, 2007 6:52:56 PM

fumuthabeotch said:
Another thing... try benchmarking with some newer games like maybe Bioshock?


Yeah, we're in the middle of updating our benchmarking suite now so this is probably one of the last roundups using the old guard.

Still, Oblivion and FEAR aren't too easy on the hardware.
September 17, 2007 6:59:46 PM

ok just sayin
September 17, 2007 7:03:14 PM

Kazzi1 said:
18Amps per-rail for a total for 36Amps? That PSU really has 36Amps?


I believe if the PSU is being maxed out, it can handle a total of 29A between both of the 12v rails, although each rail is capable of 18A max - just not at the same time.

Still, 29A is very respectable on a budget PSU like this.
September 17, 2007 7:20:05 PM

I just dont understand the point in comparing the new system to the old system when the old system has a E4300 that was clearly meant to be overclocked. And then NOT overclocking it. Do you guys have rocks in your brains? Why didnt you overclock them both and run at least one freakin test?
September 17, 2007 7:28:06 PM

*sigh*

We're comparing it because the price is similar, shadowmaster, as explained in the article.

As also explained, the overclocking tests are coming later in the week.

Please, read the article before insulting it. Throwing out an insult because you don't understand what's going on isn't flattering... trust me on that.
September 17, 2007 7:37:43 PM

The results are rather underwhelming since both systems can be overclocked like crazy. That's when the real story will be told, when the GTX is allowed to really run with a 3.0ghz e4300 instead of the stock speed. How will the video card vs cpu choice look then? tune in next week, same bat-time, same bat-channel.
September 17, 2007 7:42:42 PM

I'm satisfied with the system I built, would've been around $2000 if I bought the Samsung 226BW with it, but I priced it against Dell, Alienware, and Ibuypower and lesser systems from them all were of $3000.

That is a very good point to whoever said that it is difficult to make a cheaper/better system at $500 then Dell/HP at Walmart.
September 17, 2007 8:52:27 PM

This is very interesting for the most part, And I am very anxious to find out the outcome of it all:)  I just ordered a Antec P180b case and am in the process of building a good combination Media, Gaming, computer to have in the Living room to hook up to a 50" flat screen tv with surround sound and all he,he,he and this articale may help decide on which way to go..... Thanks :) 
September 18, 2007 4:33:58 AM

I really think it should be made clear- no matter how high the numbers are in games and even though it reflects some CPU bottlenecking, no mainstream monitor will show over 160 FPS (160 Hz)@1024x768. For that you need 130 kHz horizontal refresh which is rare even on professional CRTs. Same monitor will wind up at 120@1280x1024 and just over 100@1600x1200. For a normal LCD monitor 85kHz-92kHz is common which translates into maximum possible vertical refresh of 100 Hz@1024, and capped to 85 Hz on most.
So it may be fine and dandy game benchmarks proving it's better CPU but the results are useless in real life games. Unless extra eye candy is turned on there is hardly a difference since both GTS and GTX will be better than the monitor, not even speaking about what the human eye could possible notice over 60 FPS.
And when the extra eye candy is turned on, most games are bound to be GPU limited and GTX will win.
When different resolutions are compared on the same system in the Doom and F.E.A.R. benchmarks it's clear that the old system is CPU bound and the new system is GPU bound- so no matter the net increase , the slower GPU shows. IMHO Doom and F.E.A.R. are getting old to compare brand new hardware and not even get in high (1920 and above) resolutions. Oblivion is the only game on the test that shows the better scaling of the older system (GTX) as the resolution increases.
So to recap, the entire game section (almost) proves nothing. The choice of cpu is hardly a deciding factor in quality of game play, just as FPS is a poor quality indicator. Minimum FPS and FPS fluctuation has much greater impact on game play. In that light you managed to effectively lower the real game performance while increasing encoding and other CPU intensive application's performance. So it's not win-win situation, or balanced system- it's called trade off.
@randomizer
Do you even know what vsync is? Vertical refresh is how many times the screen is refreshed per second. If you have 100Hz, the monitor will not display 101 FPS but 100 with or without vsysnc. Period. Also you can't assume that if your top FPS are 120 everything else is fine- whats the point of comparing systems then? It's very possible that the GTX will have higher min FPS, which would be low enough on both cards to be noticable( below your monitor's maximum vertical refresh).
@zenmaster
I only pointed that the choice of games and resolutions doesn't allow fair comparison since both systems are over what normal monitor will display(in a way the monitor is bottleneck), and then there is a claim( at the end) this system is faster by 18%- yes it is, but on old games like Doom 3 and FEAR and on resolutions lower than 1600x. You don't buy a brand new computer and use over 3 year old game( Doom 3) to compare it.
I said both Doom and FEAR are CPU bound on the old system which is logical since the video is so powerful , but even then the FPS are above the capability of 99% of the monitors sold. The second point is that the current system doesn't scale well in the same game with different resolutions- meaning that if tomorrow I get HD 2560x1600 this system will suck. You can argue that hardly anyone will use that resolution, I can argue the opposite. My point is for gaming it's always more important to be well prepared- spend your money on a better video card- it costs more but it lasts longer, and you can't put a price on smooth game play. I do agree with you on the $500 system.
@cleeve
I only disagree with the final conclusion, which is that this system is 18% faster and I argue it is so because of the choice of games and resolutions. I use the benchmarks, assuming they are solid facts, to show you that the games chosen do not show the difference that well because both system exceed the video bandwidth of most monitors. The "almost" I left there for Oblivion. All in all my argument is that almost everyone falls into the hype "higher FPS is better, who cares you can't see it" which IMHO is pushed by the graphics chips makers.
September 18, 2007 9:27:28 AM

extrasalty said:
I really think it should be made clear- no matter how high the numbers are in games and even though it reflects some CPU bottlenecking, no mainstream monitor will show over 160 FPS (160 Hz)@1024x768. For that you need 130 kHz horizontal refresh which is rare even on professional CRTs. Same monitor will wind up at 120@1280x1024 and just over 100@1600x1200. For a normal LCD monitor 85kHz-92kHz is common which translates into maximum possible vertical refresh of 100 Hz@1024, and capped to 85 Hz on most.

What's your point? That's why you get tearing and you use VSync to fix that. Dude who cares what the monitor can and can not display, the framerate is higher, therefore the gameplay is smoother.

extrasalty said:
So it may be fine and dandy game benchmarks proving it's better CPU but the results are useless in real life games. Unless extra eye candy is turned on there is hardly a difference since both GTS and GTX will be better than the monitor, not even speaking about what the human eye could possible notice over 60 FPS.
And when the extra eye candy is turned on, most games are bound to be GPU limited and GTX will win.
When different resolutions are compared on the same system in the Doom and F.E.A.R. benchmarks it's clear that the old system is CPU bound and the new system is GPU bound- so no matter the net increase , the slower GPU shows. IMHO Doom and F.E.A.R. are getting old to compare brand new hardware and not even get in high (1920 and above) resolutions. Oblivion is the only game on the test that shows the better scaling of the older system (GTX) as the resolution increases.

Read what Cleeve said before. And the GTS/GTX are better than the monitor? I assume you are referring to what you said at the start, but then, you can say the same thing about many cards. My x1950 pro is also "better" than my monitor, if I play on low res and not-so-new games.

extrasalty said:
So to recap, the entire game section (almost) proves nothing. The choice of cpu is hardly a deciding factor in quality of game play, just as FPS is a poor quality indicator. Minimum FPS and FPS fluctuation has much greater impact on game play. In that light you managed to effectively lower the real game performance while increasing encoding and other CPU intensive application's performance. So it's not win-win situation, or balanced system- it's called trade off.

If you get an average framerate of 120+FPS you can be pretty certain that you aren't getting a low min FPS very often. If you are worried about FPS fluctuation, use VSync or another form of framerate cap. I don't remember where they said it was a win-win situation, but feel free to quote it.
September 18, 2007 11:53:47 AM

deuce271 said:
I'm satisfied with the system I built, would've been around $2000 if I bought the Samsung 226BW with it, but I priced it against Dell, Alienware, and Ibuypower and lesser systems from them all were of $3000.

That is a very good point to whoever said that it is difficult to make a cheaper/better system at $500 then Dell/HP at Walmart.


The guy said a $500 system, not a $1500-$2000 system.
BIG difference.

The Retailers tend to add bigger and bigger margins to more expensive systems.
I don't want to start the discussion here, but read or post in the $500 section.
I know some people linked in Retail packages that were cheaper and included LCD and printer and OS.
These system also included faster processors, more ram, larger HDD, and niceties such as media readers, speakers, mice, keyboard, etc.. etc.. etc..

September 18, 2007 12:13:51 PM

extrasalty said:

So to recap, the entire game section (almost) proves nothing. The choice of cpu is hardly a deciding factor in quality of game play, just as FPS is a poor quality indicator. Minimum FPS and FPS fluctuation has much greater impact on game play. In that light you managed to effectively lower the real game performance while increasing encoding and other CPU intensive application's performance. So it's not win-win situation, or balanced system- it's called trade off.


Your analysis is off more than a touch.
I would recommend rereading the article.

1) In your message you note how some games are limited by the CPU then you say it goes not matter.

2) There is not really a "trade-off". The first build was not really a $1000 build despite its claims. It went over by a large amount. This build could have fit in the GTX, it chose to not spend as much money as was noted in the article. A slightly cheaper Mobo could have even kept the prices the same and not much else would have changed.
Heck, the 2900XT would have fit in nicely without any other changes and still come in less.

So, yes it is a Win-Win. The system is better top to bottom as is with only losing a few benchmarks on people with very large monitors. And this could have been easily remedied if the article had kept the same budget, but it chose to live up to the title.

It is also balanced because money is spent appropriately.
An example of an unbalanced system was the recent $500 build which had a $100 power supply, but a GPU too weak to play any games. The argument that it would be good for upgrades did not hold water because the system was currently not usable as a "Gaming" system which is what the title of the article called it.

September 18, 2007 2:46:08 PM

extrasalty said:

So to recap, the entire game section (almost) proves nothing. The choice of cpu is hardly a deciding factor in quality of game play, just as FPS is a poor quality indicator. Minimum FPS and FPS fluctuation has much greater impact on game play. In that light you managed to effectively lower the real game performance while increasing encoding and other CPU intensive application's performance. So it's not win-win situation, or balanced system- it's called trade off.


I find it amusing that you say it proves (almost) nothing, and then immediately use the information in the benchmarks to draw a lengthy conclusion (something).

I therefore disagree with your suggestion that it proves (almost) nothing.

Maybe you wanted it to prove something different, but it most certainly proves something... :D 
September 18, 2007 4:16:00 PM

cleeve said:
I find it amusing that you say it proves (almost) nothing, and then immediately use the information in the benchmarks to draw a lengthy conclusion (something).

I therefore disagree with your suggestion that it proves (almost) nothing.

Maybe you wanted it to prove something different, but it most certainly proves something... :D 

[:mousemonkey:5]


hmm, "I only knew that you'd know that I knew. Did you know THAT?"

[:mousemonkey:2]
September 18, 2007 4:18:33 PM

Awesome, this new builders marathon is just in time :p  I've been looking at building myself a new system for a while now, and I was basing a good portion of my decisions off the Mid-Price system of the last marathon. This new marathon seems like a good chance to revise my parts list, maybe mix up the low and mid price systems to get something in the 1200-1400 range.

I've been having trouble deciding about OS and monitor, however. I can't decide if I should stick with tried and true XP or plan for the future and get Vista..

also, I'm unsure about widescreen LCD or regular LCD.. I've seen a lot of games struggle with widescreen (bioshock apparently just clips off the bottom and top instead of actaully widening your FOV?) What kind of monitor is used during the system testing for these Marathons?

In any case.. looking forward to the rest of this marathon :D 
September 18, 2007 5:15:20 PM

Since this Article is titled Low Cost System:
The 3 most expensive performance determining componants would be the video card, CPU and monitor. When deciding on your system parts it is necessary to balance these parts to get the best value. No sense having a 26" widescreen if nothing left in the budget to buy the GPU to drive it.
To assist those planning a new "system" it would really help if the results catered to max performance at given monitor resolutons which would allow builders to budget total system including monitor.

Parts to easily play a game at 1280X1024 maxed candy vs 1920x1200 maxed will be drastically less expensive, especially if you factor monitor cost. With prices of parts continuosly dropping per performance - I don't believe in future proofing too much more than 6 months if at all. A "Matched" system will give greater value over the long haul
September 18, 2007 5:44:17 PM

sojrner said:
agreed, at $500 you are hard pressed to build a better system (including OS and monitor) than what you can get from HP or Dell.


Yah, I built a budget system for my friend, including monitor, and that came to 800. The monitor was 150(somehow found a 19 inch monitor for cheap with a decent picture lol) so overall 650. But it was a decent computer with a a gig of RAM and a slightly OCed E4300 on stock cooler. Overall I was happy with the value. It's nice to compare what I did with this system and the 500 dollar system :) 
September 18, 2007 5:46:03 PM

cleeve said:
Yeah, we're in the middle of updating our benchmarking suite now so this is probably one of the last roundups using the old guard.

Still, Oblivion and FEAR aren't too easy on the hardware.


Cool, good to know that your updating the benchmarking suite. Can't wait for the rest of the builds!
September 18, 2007 6:20:01 PM

Is there any chance we can get a bioshock benchmark?
September 18, 2007 6:57:53 PM

snyper said:

To assist those planning a new "system" it would really help if the results catered to max performance at given monitor resolutons which would allow builders to budget total system including monitor.


This is a valid way of looking at it and I see your point, but it's no more or less valid than the way we've done it I think.

These are not gaming-only builds - but multi-purpose boxes. We could recommend some, or folks could add the cost of the monitor of their choice. Either way the cost is going to go up some.
September 18, 2007 7:22:34 PM

would it be possible to plunk the e4300 into the new box?
- then putting the 6750 into the old box as well for comparison -

I would think it would be an apples to apples test then
If you were to use the least expensive parts from the two systems gives you a total ~$860 saving an additional $130 over new system and $315 over old system - for how much of a performance hit?
September 18, 2007 7:37:42 PM

Sure it's possible, if I wanted to do a pure CPU comparison.

But what I wanted to compare is the budget OC system of a couple months ago to the low-cost system from this marathon. It's foir interests sake, really. The budget OC system is included only as a baseline to compare the new system with, and it did it's job.

The real comparisons will be between the mid-range and high-end systems in this marathon, and we'll be doing that in the conclusion articles.
September 18, 2007 7:38:28 PM

and could you be sure to do that while wearing a pink tutu and standing on your head? :pt1cable: 


j/k snyper... couldn't resist... it was compulsion really... just had to do it. :sol: 
September 18, 2007 8:29:49 PM

for clarification;
by swapping CPUs ALL componants would be tested
ie how much is the GPU being held back by CPU and the reverse as well

It seemed a reasonable request as a simple 5 min hardware change, but I appreciate that the testing would be doubled :( 

I'm looking forward to the next installment and the upcoming 'real' comparison.

And as a side note Cleeve - you might want to pull the blinds while you do your testing as it appears that someone can see you and would like to see MORE of you - you have to watch out for those ..... compulsive types who can't ......uhmmm..... control themselves.

j/k sojrner - I didn't have to do it but since you intend to make this forum a comedy site - I might as well make it funny
September 18, 2007 8:41:27 PM

no offense taken at all man... I am all about seriously discussing comp hardware, mods, tweaks on it, etc... I however also think there are many times that we all just need to laugh a bit and take life a little LESS seriously. This forum is but a minute subset of the world and yet is full of proportionally more, uhh, "intense" individuals. Apparently you are one that can receive some humor w/o freaking out. That is good. We can use more ppl like that here. ;) 

plus, I am in a whacked mood today... so the humor fits for me. lol. :p 
September 19, 2007 3:16:36 AM

I thought an AMD CPU would fit in the low cost category???
I have built the following for about 565 USD in retail
AMD BE2350,
ASUS M2AV,
ASUS ATI 2600 XT DDR4,
2GB DDR 800,
coolermaster case,
HD 250 Gb
far less than 1000 USD and this system flies...

Why only focus on the Intel CPU that costs more than the cool and overclockable BE2350?
September 19, 2007 5:35:44 AM

Yes, but for gaming at any decent resolution and with lots of eye candy, that 2600XT will crumble. The 8800GTS (not exactly budget I guess) would absolutely annihilate it. The last low-cost system they spent around 500 on and people complained about it, now you are telling them to do it again?
September 19, 2007 4:19:50 PM

they left a few things out, that puts the setup over 1,000.

the OS. costs about 100 or more.

no monitor>?

no keyboard or mouse?

It is a incomplete job at best, and an attempt to squeeze in the $280 dollar video card is plain stupid.

Incomplete job.
September 19, 2007 5:30:46 PM

cleeve said:
*sigh*

We're comparing it because the price is similar, shadowmaster, as explained in the article.

As also explained, the overclocking tests are coming later in the week.

Please, read the article before insulting it. Throwing out an insult because you don't understand what's going on isn't flattering... trust me on that.


what's going on is that it looks like you're trying to sell computer components. You're the one who billed the older system as an OC system. So it should have been OC'd. Who here is going to build their own E4300 system and not overclock it? It just seems like you're trying to make the old one look bad so as to convince people to spend their hard earned cash on something new. When in reality the E4300 system when overclocked would perform very closely to the 6750 system, even when comparing them at the price each system costed when it was first built! I feel you are trying to obscure the fact that budget system price/performance ratios have not changed much in the last 6 months. Certainly not by the rediculous amounts shown in that article.

What you need to do is assemble a system with an E2160 (+stock HSF OC) and an 8800GTS and compare that with an E6750 (+ stock HSF OC) system with an x1950pro. They will cost about the same and I think that's really the question most people are asking when trying to build a budget gaming pc.
September 19, 2007 9:04:08 PM

shadowmaster625 said:
what's going on is that it looks like you're trying to sell computer components.


Heheh. You failed to read the article, made yourself look silly by slamming facts you were off base about, and now you're deflecting blame for your comments instead of taking responsibility for them.

At this point lad, it's become hard to take you seriously. I don't have a contractual obligation to give the time of day to anyone who jumps in calling names and pointing fingers. I communicate with forum members as a courtesy because I'm genuinely interested in opinions and would like to give the readers what they want, and to explain the rationale for my decisions, not because I have to.

I guess the moral of the story is, if you truly would like a dialogue about the decisions I made in this article and would like to suggest change for the future, you can do it in a respectful way and I'll be glad to talk about it with you. Alternatively, you can be ignorant about it, throw accusations and disrespectful comments, and be completely ignored.

Your call.
September 20, 2007 12:31:30 AM

I noticed on a hardware retailer's website here in Australia http://www.scorptec.com.au/ that the two most common resolutions for visitors were 1280x1024 closely followed by 1680x1050 thirshalf those was 1920x1200. The 1280x1024 would be most office staff plus a lot of home users. 1680x1050 is all the 20" and 22" widescreen users gaming and watching movies and 1920x1200 is the 24", 26", and 30" elite crowd. Sadly enough the steampowered hardware survey http://www.steampowered.com/status/survey.html lists 1024x768 as the second most common? :( 

Given the push toward - and higher incidence of - widescreen is there a chance 1680x1050 could be substituted for 1600x1200 for reviews? If possible both could be included since widescreen would have more work for the card to do per avg pixel because a greater % of the screen is where the action is instead of sky and feet. Also 1680 gives a nice point in the total screen pixels.

1280 x 1024 = 1.344 MP
1680 x 1050 = 1.764 MP
1600 x 1200 = 1.920 MP
1920 x 1200 = 2.304 MP

TJ
September 20, 2007 1:53:49 AM

tj_the_first said:

Given the push toward - and higher incidence of - widescreen is there a chance 1680x1050 could be substituted for 1600x1200 for reviews?


We're one step ahead of you!

We only used 1600x1200 to compare against the old systems. In the upcoming overclocking section and summary section later this week, we bench 1024x768, 1280x1024, 1680x1050, and 1920x1200.
September 20, 2007 5:15:08 AM

Why do they make standard LCDs in 5:4 instead of 4:3? Theres about a 6% difference in the number of pixels, so it's not like you are gaining a huge amount of extra working space.
September 20, 2007 5:24:08 AM

randomizer said:
Why do they make standard LCDs in 5:4 instead of 4:3? Theres about a 6% difference in the number of pixels, so it's not like you are gaining a huge amount of extra working space.

Thats a good question

@ op - They should fix the psu thing...after all 36 amps of 12 volts is like 432 watts....if that was so it would not leave allot for 5 and 3.3(not that you need allot...but at least 100watts for those...+ and 5-10 watts or so of sb5 power and some more negative voltage...)
September 20, 2007 7:25:43 AM

tj_the_first said:
I noticed on a hardware retailer's website here in Australia http://www.scorptec.com.au/ that the two most common resolutions for visitors were 1280x1024 closely followed by 1680x1050 thirshalf those was 1920x1200. The 1280x1024 would be most office staff plus a lot of home users. 1680x1050 is all the 20" and 22" widescreen users gaming and watching movies and 1920x1200 is the 24", 26", and 30" elite crowd. Sadly enough the steampowered hardware survey http://www.steampowered.com/status/survey.html lists 1024x768 as the second most common? :( 

Given the push toward - and higher incidence of - widescreen is there a chance 1680x1050 could be substituted for 1600x1200 for reviews? If possible both could be included since widescreen would have more work for the card to do per avg pixel because a greater % of the screen is where the action is instead of sky and feet. Also 1680 gives a nice point in the total screen pixels.

1280 x 1024 = 1.344 MP
1680 x 1050 = 1.764 MP
1600 x 1200 = 1.920 MP
1920 x 1200 = 2.304 MP

TJ


I'm not sure I understand your point. I use 1024x768 for my desktop because I get eyestrain trying to see the smaller web pages, icons, etc., at higher resolutions. But my games are set to the max resolutions because there I don't have to sacrifice size for quality. (Sure, you can change dpi and other settings to make things on your desktop easier to see, but many apps still conflict with that so not a valid option for most people.)

Are the visitors from these sites manually filling out what resolutions they use to play games, or are the sites just logging the current resolution? Because if they're logging the current resolution, I'd think anyone using over 1024x768/1280x1024 either has a huge monitor or uses reading glasses on their computer. ;) 

Also, we're system builders in Australia and have never sold a wide screen monitor to date. I realize the industry has been pushing wide screens for some time now, but so far our customers and us have managed to avoid being forced into hardware that we're not happy with. Pretty silly to me that a 20" wide screen has less viewable vertical screen than a regular 19" LCD.

Anyway, I'm not against the reviews showing the wide screen resolutions in tests as obviously many people are using them. I just want to make sure I understand what the statistics from these websites are trying to show, and that the information is being interpretted correctly. :) 
September 20, 2007 7:46:43 AM

I also have one question regarding the author's comment:

Quote:
Editor's Opinion
The results I'm personally looking forward to the most will be the comparison between this budget e6750 machine and the midrange q6600 machine brought to life by Shelton Romhanyi and Thomas Soderstrom. With a $500 price difference, will the extra two cores in the Q6600 CPU allow the midrange system to surge ahead in applications? Or are the applications we use in our test suite not yet sufficiently able to take advantage of quad core optimizations? We'll have to see.


I take it there's much more than just the CPU being upgraded in the midrange system to make the difference $500? I show the price difference between the E6750 and Q6600 to be less than $100AUD and $80USD.

I think this point has been made on the forum often, but apparently not often enough. If you want to compare the performance of the CPUs, simply change the CPU only and compare results. Changing anything else distorts the conclusions.
September 20, 2007 1:56:44 PM

dark41 said:
Pretty silly to me that a 20" wide screen has less viewable vertical screen than a regular 19" LCD.


For office apps and the like, the vertical difference is very noticeable... for games and movies the widescreen is more enjoyable IMO.

If you get a monitor (like the Dells or others) that can rotate to where the width becomes the height then you get the best of both worlds... max width for movies/games, max height (much more than the vanilla 19) for office apps and web surfing.

JMO of course.
September 21, 2007 5:09:24 PM

I agree with shadowmast, there is no 'one' setup that best fits a budget with the amount of variety out there. A comparison and benchmarking would be most helpful instead of just throwing a bunch of parts together.
September 21, 2007 6:35:38 PM

dark41 said:
If you want to compare the performance of the CPUs, simply change the CPU only and compare results. Changing anything else distorts the conclusions.


I think we all know that's the ideal situation, but this marathon was created to compare systems, not strictly CPUs.

However, the non-gaming benches still function really well as a real-world CPU comparison in this marathon, IMHO.
!