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Average Performance And Efficiency

System Builder Marathon, Sept. 2011: System Value Compared

The $1000 build’s 30 GB SSD is far too small to hold all of today’s benchmarks, so its performance doesn’t represent what a real-world user would see from our entire benchmark suite. Since it’s only capable of holding around 40% of the programs we used for our benchmarks, multiplying its score by 0.4 would have been easy. On the other hand, choosing such a low number negates the performance of its Western Digital Caviar Black secondary drive, which was used to store the remaining programs.

Based on previous benchmarks using the same Western Digital Caviar Black, we estimate that its secondary drive is worth around 20% of the score shown by the same system. So, rather than give it only 40% of its reported performance, this editor chose to use 50%.

We used -1 in all of the efficiency chart’s bars to set the slowest system as the baseline. For example, the overclocked $500 configuration’s 7% efficiency gain is shown as 7% rather than 107%, and the $1000 PC's 57% performance advantage (over the $500 baseline) is shown as 57%, rather than 157%.

Even with its exaggerated hard drive score knocked down by 50%, the $1000 machine takes a big lead in efficiency over its $500 rival. Value, on the other hand, is a subject that’s worth its own page in this review. A low-voltage overclock allows the $2000 PC to gain efficiency at the higher frequency, though it never catches its $1000 challenger.

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