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Benchmark Results: Battlefield 3 And DiRT 3

System Builder Marathon, August 2012: $500 Gaming PC
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Battlefield 3

Up next is Battlefield 3’s single-player campaign, the most graphically demanding test in our current gaming suite. There are more stressing areas encountered within the game than our 90-second Fraps run, so I shoot for an average of 45 frames per second as a minimum target.

Vindication! This quarter's efforts successfully reduce the CPU limitation seen at the lowest resolution. Eventually, when it comes to pushing a higher number of pixels, both rigs demonstrate similar capabilities, pretty much breezing though these medium quality settings.

With the bulk of funding poured into graphics, last quarter's rig was designed specifically to attack our most punishing gaming test, Battlefields 3’s Ultra quality preset. Our gamble paid off, as the overclocked GeForce GTX 560 Ti provided enough 3D muscle to at least consider the single-player campaign playable (albeit just barely at 1920x1080). Equally important, our potent little Celeron G530 did not disappoint.

Although this new machine is more balanced overall, shifting $40 from the graphics budget to our CPU does incur a performance hit under Battlefield 3's Ultra quality preset. Today's build trails by a small margin at all resolutions. Although a 2 to 4 FPS loss in both average and minimum frame rates might seem insignificant, actually playing through the game at those settings confirmed we were pushing this rig's limitations.

We’ve come at this from so many angles now that we can dial in hardware recommendations for these settings. In the single-player campaign, processor performance isn't heavily taxed. Any dual-core Sandy Bridge-based chips seems up to the task. As far as graphics go, a GeForce GTX 560 Ti, Radeon HD 6950, or an overclocked GeForce GTX 560 are good minimum targets for 1680x1050. At 1920x1080, we suggest at least an overclocked GeForce GTX 560 Ti.

DiRT 3

Little scaling is witnessed on either system at DiRT 3’s High graphics preset. The GeForce cards are held back by their respective dual-core CPU pairings.

Note that the new machine's 26% increase in both average and minimum framerates isn’t too beneficial, but it demonstrates the processor’s influence in this title and will boost this quarter's score when it comes time for the overall gaming performance evaluation.

The demands of Ultra details with 8x AA applied start to expose graphical limitations.

The current rig leads at lower resolutions in both average and minimum frame rates, but the two systems eventually even out at 1920x1080. Once we consider graphics overclocking, today's build pulls a 2 FPS lead in average and minimum frame rates, suggesting that June’s Celeron processor remains a bottleneck to some degree.

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Top Comments
  • 24 Hide
    crisan_tiberiu , August 20, 2012 5:19 AM
    so, looks like 500$ (Euro in europe :p ) its enaugh to play any modern game that is trown on the market... ty consoles :p 
  • 20 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , August 20, 2012 5:30 AM
    Quote:
    I think it would be interesting if next quarter for your Budget PC you try to bring the performance per watt as high as you can while still maintaining an enjoyable gaming experience. Something like a G620+HD7750/70 with a high efficiency PSU such as Rosewill CAPSTONE 450.


    On the contrary, for a 500$ build, energy consumption and heat should be least concerns. Tweaking, overclocking and extracting the last possible performance from your hardware are the primary concerns of a 500$ gaming build. Even after HEAVY overclocking, you wont get 50W over the stock settings.
  • 16 Hide
    emad_ramlawi , August 20, 2012 9:32 AM
    Now thats what i call an balanced build, good job .

    Also i agree with itzsnypah, Tom hardware should make an article on PC build with maximum performance that you can squeeze out of lowest watt, some people started to care about those things, and being green to the environment is nothing to be ashamed of.
Other Comments
  • 24 Hide
    crisan_tiberiu , August 20, 2012 5:19 AM
    so, looks like 500$ (Euro in europe :p ) its enaugh to play any modern game that is trown on the market... ty consoles :p 
  • 1 Hide
    itzsnypah , August 20, 2012 5:22 AM
    I think it would be interesting if next quarter for your Budget PC you try to bring the performance per watt as high as you can while still maintaining an enjoyable gaming experience. Something like a G620+HD7750/70 with a high efficiency PSU such as Rosewill CAPSTONE 450.

    Ever since I read the 7950B/7970GE review on here/anand performance per watt for me has been a priority when selecting components.
  • 20 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , August 20, 2012 5:30 AM
    Quote:
    I think it would be interesting if next quarter for your Budget PC you try to bring the performance per watt as high as you can while still maintaining an enjoyable gaming experience. Something like a G620+HD7750/70 with a high efficiency PSU such as Rosewill CAPSTONE 450.


    On the contrary, for a 500$ build, energy consumption and heat should be least concerns. Tweaking, overclocking and extracting the last possible performance from your hardware are the primary concerns of a 500$ gaming build. Even after HEAVY overclocking, you wont get 50W over the stock settings.
  • 2 Hide
    sam_fisher , August 20, 2012 5:55 AM
    mayankleoboy1On the contrary, for a 500$ build, energy consumption and heat should be least concerns. Tweaking, overclocking and extracting the last possible performance from your hardware are the primary concerns of a 500$ gaming build. Even after HEAVY overclocking, you wont get 50W over the stock settings.


    One may presume that someone after a $500 build is on a budget and hence doesn't want higher power consumption from overclocking.
  • 7 Hide
    loops , August 20, 2012 6:48 AM
    At least I can take less heat for recommending b75 mobo...
  • 6 Hide
    itzsnypah , August 20, 2012 6:57 AM
    mayankleoboy1On the contrary, for a 500$ build, energy consumption and heat should be least concerns. Tweaking, overclocking and extracting the last possible performance from your hardware are the primary concerns of a 500$ gaming build. Even after HEAVY overclocking, you wont get 50W over the stock settings.

    According to the performance summary and efficiency page of this article Overclocking the GPU had a 13%(average according to this article) increase in power consumption for an extra 2% (average) performance. That seems like the opposite thing I'm talking about.

    Overclocking is good for performance per dollar, not performance per watt.
  • -1 Hide
    abegnale , August 20, 2012 7:40 AM
    @Paul Henningsen,
    Why not substitute some existing parts for either an I3-2100 and/or an eVGA 560 Superclocked?
  • -5 Hide
    giovanni86 , August 20, 2012 8:45 AM
    Nice, looking forward to the next builds. Some times OC does yield its advantages, those few frames can help and have helped me in games running smoothly or just over 30FPS. I honestly don't see why people are concerned with power, PC's don't cost much to run even overclocked. Unless your poor or working at McDonald's, then i see no reason why power is an issue unless otherwise stated. This whole green thing is a pain in the ass. I'm power hungry sorry.
  • 8 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , August 20, 2012 9:22 AM
    ^ there are no existing parts. This is a new build :) 
  • 16 Hide
    emad_ramlawi , August 20, 2012 9:32 AM
    Now thats what i call an balanced build, good job .

    Also i agree with itzsnypah, Tom hardware should make an article on PC build with maximum performance that you can squeeze out of lowest watt, some people started to care about those things, and being green to the environment is nothing to be ashamed of.
  • -2 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , August 20, 2012 12:07 PM
    ^

    Then i have this Excellent VIA CPU+MB combo for you. Efficient as hell. Best bang for the Watt possible. Ever.
  • 3 Hide
    sarinaide , August 20, 2012 12:28 PM
    sarinaideWe need to enforce the "no celeron please" rule, terrible for that $500 PC.

    "Pentium"
  • 11 Hide
    supall , August 20, 2012 12:53 PM
    Thanks for this article. This gives me more ideas on how to build a computer for my brother this coming Christmas. Although, by that time, I would love to see if it might be possible for a Trinity-based gaming system to be built for around $500 and how it performs against this build.
  • 13 Hide
    MaxGardener , August 20, 2012 2:09 PM
    doggysoftStop using those f*cked up CPUs... why you keep using crappy pentiums???I bet that my good old Phenom 955 will blow away ANY pentium you've put so far in 500$ crappy pc.PLEASE I beg you stop using this sh*t... Since half a year you see a CPU limitation and you keep putting pentiums. When someone make a mistake the next time fix it but you don't... I bet Intel pays alot no other eplonation here!


    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-fx-pentium-apu-benchmark,3120-10.html

    pretty damn close, the Phenom 955 is definitely more attractive for overclockers, but offer limited upgradablilty because of motherboards etc. Pentiums use the 1155 socket, and therefore are upgradable to a better 2nd gen or 3rd gen processor, which anything above the g860 kicks the shit out of the Phenom
  • 4 Hide
    jabliese , August 20, 2012 2:10 PM
    Temperatures above Ambient chart, you have the current PC vs the current PC.
  • 1 Hide
    BSMonitor , August 20, 2012 2:45 PM
    Quote:
    One may presume that someone after a $500 build is on a budget and hence doesn't want higher power consumption from overclocking.


    Well, there is "living in my parents basement and unemployed" budget. And there is "living on my own" budget. Clearly, mayankleoboy1, is the loving parent budget.

    Not hating though, the Kardashians all do
  • -3 Hide
    blazorthon , August 20, 2012 2:55 PM
    crisan_tiberiuso, looks like 500$ (Euro in europe ) its enaugh to play any modern game that is trown on the market... ty consoles


    Of course a $500 machine should be able to play any PC games today. It can't play nearly as well as a higher end setup can, but are you so elitest that you think that people with less money shouldn't be allowed to play?
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