Please keep in mind that the Nebula XL is the only system in these tests with the Windows Vista operating system. All other PCs are running Windows XP pro. Fortunately, it looks like this isn't making much of an impact on our benchmarks, but it's important to keep in mind. Also note that the benchmarks of the marathon mid-range and budget systems were taken a couple of months ago using the 6.14 graphics driver, while the Solaris systems were tested with version 7.15 GeForce drivers.
Since we're testing these Solaris systems against our homebrew system builder marathon PCs with very similar specifications, I'll wager results will be close. And if results are close, then the Solaris systems will look like a great value, as they cost almost exactly the same as our marathon PCs that we built by selecting the lowest-cost quality components we could find!
The Solaris PCs' level of performance is incredibly close to that of our homebrew marathon PCs. There is a very small variance between the Nebula XL and Midrange PC, but these PCs are using different operating systems so all we may be witnessing is the difference between Windows XP and Vista.
The difference between the Photon XLX and Budget PC is close, but there is a difference that is a little more pronounced at some resolutions. Considering the factory overclock of the Photon XLX, this is a little odd, but considering the difference in motherboards and video drivers, things are very close.
Here are more close scores with slight anomalies; the Nebula XL seems to consistently outperform its midrange rival. Could it be because FEAR likes the newer drivers, or perhaps Windows Vista?
Another round of benchmarks concludes our gaming section. Clearly, we can deduce that the Solaris PCs' price tags and levels of performance are very similar to those of our system builder marathon PCs in the gaming arena, as well.