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Results: Battlefield 3 And The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: $800 Enthusiast PC
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Battlefield 3

Battlefield 3's single-player campaign is typically limited by graphics performance. Given the dissimilar graphics cards we're using, it's actually really surprising to see our results so close together at this title's Medium quality preset. Once we step up to the more demanding Ultra settings, though, Nvidia's GeForce GTX 670 assumes a lead.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Unlike Battlefield, Skyrim tends to be limited by processor performance rather than the graphics card.

At the High detail preset, this quarter's Intel-based build takes a notable lead. Using the Ultra preset with 8x MSAA, that advantage is maintained until 2560x1600, where the bottleneck shifts to the GPU.

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  • 17 Hide
    manitoublack , February 27, 2013 3:49 AM
    That's a great value PC there. Would be hard pressed to think of a more compelling combination for the money. Well done.

Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    DragonClaw , February 27, 2013 3:16 AM
    The table outlining the components of the build. It should read 800$ and not 1000$, I think?
  • -1 Hide
    abbadon_34 , February 27, 2013 3:29 AM
    guessed they reused the previous template, sure it'll be fixed soon and people will wonder what we're talking about
  • -8 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , February 27, 2013 3:41 AM
    Quote:
    Although we're going to miss the snappy boot-up times and almost-instant application launches the solid-state drive enabled, we probably won't be penalized too much in the benchmark results.


    And therein lies the problem with benchmarks.
    An enthusiast PC, without a SSD boot drive?
  • 17 Hide
    manitoublack , February 27, 2013 3:49 AM
    That's a great value PC there. Would be hard pressed to think of a more compelling combination for the money. Well done.

  • 0 Hide
    qTrueno , February 27, 2013 3:59 AM
    The heat sink breaks easily but it is a good cheap solution, as long it doesn't break.
  • -1 Hide
    ipwn3r456 , February 27, 2013 4:30 AM
    If this machine were at $1000 budget, might as well add a 128GB SSD, and replace the HD 7870 to a HD 7950.
  • 0 Hide
    butremor , February 27, 2013 4:38 AM
    "Overclocking

    Overclocking the Core i5-3550K is"
  • 2 Hide
    dudewitbow , February 27, 2013 5:02 AM
    ipwn3r456If this machine were at $1000 budget, might as well add a 128GB SSD, and replace the HD 7870 to a HD 7950.



    there would be marginal performance boost from switching from a 7870 LE(nerfed 7950, heck can call it a 7930 and it would be partially correct in a way) to an actual 7950. Though its likely the outcome for the 1k budget coming up next.
  • 2 Hide
    abhijitkalyane , February 27, 2013 5:04 AM
    I really wasn't expecting the AMD chip to be so close to the i5. I'm a bit surprised. The power consumption figures look bad for the FX though.
  • -2 Hide
    Chairman Ray , February 27, 2013 5:20 AM
    I would like to see builds for non-overclocking as well if they are comparing non-overlocked benchmarks. The $800 isn't a good estimate of what you can achieve in a non-overclocked build when you are paying all that extra for unlocked parts. A locked i5, locked mobo, no heat sink, and smaller PSU will scrape enough for a small SSD. This would be a more well-rounded build that a lot of people would choose especially if they are not planning on overclocking.
  • 4 Hide
    stickmansam , February 27, 2013 5:21 AM
    abhijitkalyaneI really wasn't expecting the AMD chip to be so close to the i5. I'm a bit surprised. The power consumption figures look bad for the FX though.


    That's cuz the 8350 is using a 670 which in GPU heavy titles will boost its numbers higher. Same GPU would show a more different story and the price difference between a 8350 and a i5 3570k is only able to bump a 7870xt to a 7950 at most, not to a 670

    Quote:
    Quote:
    Although we're going to miss the snappy boot-up times and almost-instant application launches the solid-state drive enabled, we probably won't be penalized too much in the benchmark results.


    And therein lies the problem with benchmarks.
    An enthusiast PC, without a SSD boot drive?


    For a $800 budget, I would rather get all the real in game performance I can first while and add a ssd later than lose out on fps and get faster load times

    higher fps(stronger cpu, gpu) > faster load times

    Quote:
    I would like to see builds for non-overclocking as well if they are comparing non-overlocked benchmarks. The $800 isn't a good estimate of what you can achieve in a non-overclocked build when you are paying all that extra for unlocked parts. A locked i5, locked mobo, no heat sink, and smaller PSU will scrape enough for a small SSD. This would be a more well-rounded build that a lot of people would choose especially if they are not planning on overclocking.


    $35 saved from cutting cooler and k is not enough for an SSD
  • 1 Hide
    jdwii , February 27, 2013 5:25 AM
    abhijitkalyaneI really wasn't expecting the AMD chip to be so close to the i5. I'm a bit surprised. The power consumption figures look bad for the FX though.


    After looking at this it would seem illogical to buy a 8350 over a I5. But yes it does do decent interns of price/performance.
  • -4 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , February 27, 2013 5:36 AM
    StickmansamFor a $800 budget, I would rather get all the real in game performance I can first while and add a ssd later than lose out on fps and get faster load timeshigher fps(stronger cpu, gpu) > faster load times


    This would have been correct for a "$800 Gaming PC" .
    But for a "$800 Enthusiast PC " , a SSD is a must. Even a 64GB, lower end SSD would have been OK.
  • -2 Hide
    de5_Roy , February 27, 2013 5:54 AM
    i am a bit surprised.
    this build looks like a budget-upper-midrange build (if that makes any sense). the mobo... looks weak. the cooler and gfx card looked... cheap. i didn't expect the oc core i5 3570k build to keep up with oc fx8350 build in threaded benches (for $200 less, even). only 7zip seems to take advantage of 8 integer clusters/cores properly and the rest of them don't seem to scale well beyond 4~ cores. i noticed that trend in games but this is the first time i've seen it in non-games softwares. i use handbrake, lame mp3 and archivers (7z, zip/rars), so those benches were very informative for me. thank you.
    when i first started reading, i wanted to see an fx8320, cm hyper 212 evo(or a corsair clc) with a sturdy 970 mobo + radeon 7870xt. as i read on, this current build and its performance started to look more and more interesting.
  • 1 Hide
    blazorthon , February 27, 2013 5:57 AM
    dudewitbowthere would be marginal performance boost from switching from a 7870 LE(nerfed 7950, heck can call it a 7930 and it would be partially correct in a way) to an actual 7950. Though its likely the outcome for the 1k budget coming up next.




    The difference between the 7870 XT and the 7950 can be huge when overclocking is considered. That lost memory bandwidth is no small matter for Tahiti LE when it runs at around 1.2GHz. I also suspect that the lost compute units from 28 to 24, although not a significant loss, are considerable.


    EDIT:
    http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/5120/powercolor_pcs_radeon_hd_7870_tahiti_le_2gb_myst_video_card_review/index7.html

    Also, not only are the 2560x1600 bencmarks not the only ones showing such a comparison, but also the 1920x1200 and 1680x1050 benchmarks. This is also fairly consistent across most games. Both of these claims are demonstrated to be true by the rest of this article.
  • -1 Hide
    blazorthon , February 27, 2013 6:07 AM
    Quote:
    That's cuz the 8350 is using a 670 which in GPU heavy titles will boost its numbers higher. Same GPU would show a more different story and the price difference between a 8350 and a i5 3570k is only able to bump a 7870xt to a 7950 at most, not to a 670



    For a $800 budget, I would rather get all the real in game performance I can first while and add a ssd later than lose out on fps and get faster load times

    higher fps(stronger cpu, gpu) > faster load times



    $35 saved from cutting cooler and k is not enough for an SSD


    We could easily scrape out enough money from the budget for a decent 60GB/64GB SSD such as Plextor's M5S 64GB without really hurting core performance, at least if we didn't stick to Nweegg (granted Tom's doesn't have much option left in that if they want free systems to hand out). Loading times alone could be worth it.
  • 1 Hide
    silverblue , February 27, 2013 7:11 AM
    The i5-3570K's overclock appears to be "4.4 GHz @ +0.085 V" as opposed to showing "4.4GHz @ 1.15 V".
  • 0 Hide
    silverblue , February 27, 2013 7:26 AM
    de5_Royi didn't expect the oc core i5 3570k build to keep up with oc fx8350 build in threaded benches (for $200 less, even). only 7zip seems to take advantage of 8 integer clusters/cores properly and the rest of them don't seem to scale well beyond 4~ cores. i noticed that trend in games but this is the first time i've seen it in non-games softwares. i use handbrake, lame mp3 and archivers (7z, zip/rars), so those benches were very informative for me. thank you.


    I'm wondering if Blaz's disable-one-core-per-module trick would help Piledriver here, as you'd have a single core with access to 2MB L2 and 2MB L3 without the scheduler needing to worry about the second integer core. As it is, even if the software could make full use of all the CPU cores, they'd likely have a memory contention or bandwidth issue.

    Steamroller will definitely improve matters but AMD will continue to be behind until anybody but the creators of 7Zip thread their software to hell (outside of rendering and productivity apps, of course).
  • 2 Hide
    m32 , February 27, 2013 7:29 AM
    These results are pretty eye opening! I already knew it, but dang. As an AMDer, I can't wait for Steamroller (good thing I get to see Haswell first). They need to improve performance, but power consumption as well. No excuse this time around.
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