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Benchmark Results: Integrated Gaming

Build Or Buy? Five Sub-$500 Store-Bought Systems Compared

The Radeon HD 3000 (HP and Compaq) continues to perform at the head of the pack, and you'll get relatively smooth performance in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm as long as you stick with lower resolutions and quality settings. Once you go above 1280x720 using Fair quality, performance becomes close to intolerable.

On the GMA X4500HD, smooth performance means you're playing at the lowest quality setting (Good) at 1024x768.

Meanwhile, the EL1850-01e pairs a GeForce 6150SE with AMD's Athlon II XE 255. Unfortunately, this combination offers poor performance at every resolution and setting we try.

The scores in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Crysis 2 tell a similar (but more pessimistic) story. While these games don't crash, the frame rates are almost like watching paint dry. On any pre-built system under $500, gaming in a first-person shooter is an unrealistic expectation.

Just Cause 2 performance is the worst-case scenario. On every system except the s5704y, the game crashes to the desktop despite having updated graphics drivers. But this still isn't a win for HP. Even when we dial a back to 1024x768 and lower quality settings, we can't seem to get more than 5 FPS.

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