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Gaming Performance Summary

System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: $600 Gaming PC

Given a slightly higher budget, I specifically targeted last quarter's $500 machine's biggest weakness: threaded content creation- and productivity-oriented applications. First and foremost, however, these are supposed to be gaming machines. Do they still satisfy that role well enough?

Our first chart summarizes all tested resolutions and settings, exposing each platform’s limitations at settings we wouldn’t necessarily game at. Huge gains in F1 2012 obscure our results if we only look at average frame rates. So, we instead break down performance gains by game.

More than anything, our focus is on gaming at native resolutions, and we're guessing that most gamers now play at either 1680x1050 or 1920x1080. The following two charts cancel out the low resolutions and settings, focusing purely on the more interesting settings we’d want to use in the real world.

With the exception of F1 2012, Intel's Core i5 processor appears to do very little for gaming performance at these native resolutions. The chip's benefit is easier to see once we factor in graphics overclocking, though.

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