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3D Games: Crysis And Far Cry 2

System Builder Marathon, Sept. '09: $650 Gaming PC
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3D Games: Crysis and Far Cry 2

While the $600 portable PC needed to be overclocked to achieve a playable level of performance, the $650 gaming dragon handles Crysis high details in all three of our typical SBM resolutions.

Thanks again to the pair of Radeon HD 4850s, this month’s $650 PC steps up and offers the most playable Crysis experience at Very High settings to date for a budget SBM build. Of course, this is Crysis and we are still limited to lower resolutions.

We see mostly CPU-limited results here in Far Cry 2, although the Radeon HD 4850 CrossFire configuration  and graphics drivers likely impact the comparison to last month’s SBM. While the 2.5 GHz Pentium E5200 could use a bit of overclocking to maintain smoother frame rates, this month’s Phenom II X2 550 does just fine at its stock 3.1 GHz speed.

The $650 PC’s domination comes to an end, as the picture significantly changes when cranking details and adding 4x anti-aliasing (AA) to the mix. While the pair of 512MB Radeon HD 4850s start with a lead at low resolution, their performance quickly drops off as the resolution is raised. Looking at the results carried over from the past SBM, we still see mainly CPU-limited results as the GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 used in the $600 PC runs strong through each tested resolution. We can’t help but think how different this situation may have looked if a pair of 1GB Radeon HD 4850s had fit within this month’s budget.

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