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3D Games: Crysis, Prey

System Builder Marathon: Sub-$4000 PC

The current high-end build stomps our previous configuration thanks to the inclusion of two 9800 GX2 cards, at least in the game Crysis with no anti-aliasing, however…

Turning on Anti-Aliasing kills the newer cards when using a 24” flat panel’s native 1920 by 1200 pixel resolution. Of course a 24” flat panel would be the most common display type for a $2000-$4000 PC, and this is the reason we chose not to use 9800 GX2’s in the March SBM.

In defense of those who said “We told you so”, neither configuration was playable at 1920 by 1200 pixels in spite of the 8800 GTX’ apparent win. On the other hand, our 3-way SLI vs Overclocked System Test showed that 8800 GTX 3-way SLI provided much larger gains than today’s twin 9800 GX2 combo.

At the default settings, the old 8800 GTX pair puts the newer 9800 GX2 pair to shame in Prey.

One must crank the quality settings and resolution all the way up just to see any advantage at all for this marathon’s substitution of 9800 GX2 SLI graphics, but most $4,000 system owners will probably want to run at least 1920 by 1200 pixel resolution anyway. On the other hand, at over 100 frames per second a few FPS either way means nothing.

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