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Gaming Performance Summary

System Builder Marathon, Q2 2013: $650 Gaming PC

Based on average performance, today's $650 gaming PC is unable to match last quarter’s configuration. The most natural conclusion to draw is that the extra computing resources and limited overclocking available on a Core i5 help overcome CPU bottlenecks encountered by Core i3 at the lowest quality settings we use for benchmarking.

Likewise, a frame rate cap in F1 2012 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim prevents my current build from matching Don's prior $800 effort or even my older $600 system, overclocked.

It's more important, however, that only the overclocked $650 and $800 configurations maintain playable frame rates at 1920x1080 in our four-game test suite without the need to drop quality levels.

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