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Value Conclusion

System Builder Marathon, March 2011: $2000 Bonus Build
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Though today’s system did not provide the advanced performance we sought in the majority of tests, it did very well where it was expected to. That is, its high-resolution gaming capabilities were noticeably improved. Small losses in a few other benchmarks offset its lower cost, ending in a value match between systems.

Yet, high-resolution gaming was the only place we really wanted the extra performance. Comparing price only to 2560x1600 gaming performance gives us a different value perspective.

Choosing a cheaper motherboard and more expensive graphics cards allowed us to find targeted gains in high-end gaming, but there were some sacrifices. For example, the previous motherboard supported four-way CrossFire (three-way with our case limitations), while the new board would be limited to two-way CrossFire. The new motherboard’s memory overclocking capability was also slightly inferior, leading to small performance losses in various other tests.

While we were completely satisfied with our original $2000 PC and only mildly disappointed with the Hand-Picked Build, we still would like to recommend the latter, especially for our gaming audience. Though it might have been a tough choice in light of today’s test results, the fact that some components of our original build are popular, and hard to keep stocked, made this one an easy pick.

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