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Benchmark Results: Gaming

System Builder Marathon: $625 Gaming PC
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Once again, we start with Crysis—one of the most hardware-crushing games available. It would take a far more expensive system with multiple GPUs to be playable at high resolutions and the maximum DirectX 10 at Very High settings used for our testing. Even overclocked, the $625 PC is unable to average 30 frames per second (FPS) at our lowest resolution.

Things get worse when adding even more demands to the GPU by enabling 4x AA. The HD 4850 leaves last month’s 8800 GT far behind, but still neither is even close to playable.

Let’s again look at more realistic playable settings for Crysis. At 1920x1200 medium details, the system averaged 39.00 FPS at stock and 49.77 FPS overclocked. At 1280x1024 high details, the average at stock speeds was 34.61 FPS, which rose to 42.52 FPS overclocked. Once a satisfying compromise of lowering resolution and tweaking detail settings is found, Crysis can still look great and play well on such a system.

Unlike in Crysis, very playable performance is achieved at the highest detail levels in Unreal Tournament 3. Once overclocked, we see huge gains in performance and stay well above 80 FPS at even the highest resolution leaving last month’s $500 PC far behind.

Forcing eye candy in the drivers, we see a drop in FPS due to the added strain on the GPU. But the HD 4850 still does quite well and stays over 50 FPS once overclocked, which is impressive playability for such an eye-pleasing game.

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