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Performance Summary And Efficiency

System Builder Marathon, March 2012: $650 Gaming PC

We’ll summarize performance and efficiency using December’s stock $600 system as a base.

Performance Summary

The Core i5-2400 maintains dominance over less expensive dual-core models like the Core i3-2120 we're using today, as well as the overclocked Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition from back in September of last year. With this budget, there is simply no touching the all-round potency delivered by a second-gen Core i5 and Radeon HD 6870.

As a result, the performance averages we see are pretty much what we expected. This quarter's PC lags behind in all of the threaded encoding and productivity applications, while CPU-oriented bottlenecks at more entry-level graphics settings prevent the machine from shining when we look at average frame rates in all of our gaming tests. Consequently, we know that today's effort isn't going to compete very aggressively against Don's mid-range and Thomas' enthusiast-oriented builds, which are usually disadvantages in terms of performance-based value comparisons.


Consuming, on average, just 95% of the energy at idle and load, but, at the same time delivering in total only 85% of the overall performance, this quarter's machine is disappointingly unable to match last quarter's amazing efficiency potential.

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