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Conclusion

System Builder Marathon: Low-Cost System
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Without other systems to compare it to, the only reasonable conclusions we can arrive at regarding our low-cost build is that the price is great, it's stable, and it's a capable gaming machine even at the high 1920x1200 resolution.

The system is certainly no slouch, and is pleasant to work with. The questions that remain are: How will it stack up, dollar for dollar, vs. the mid-range and high-end builds? And how much will performance improve when the system is overclocked?

Traditionally, the low-cost system has always beaten the other systems in the performance-per-dollar analysis. This is because paying 200 or 300% more money for hardware will almost never equate to a 200 or 300% increase in performance. On Friday, we'll add another view of performance-per-dollar that focuses on the potential benefits of higher cost systems for gaming at higher resolutions.

(Compare Prices on Radeon Graphics Cards)

As far as overclocking, the Phenom core has a dismal outlook in this regard and we're almost certainly going to see that in the overclocking tests. But perhaps the HIS ICE-Q Turbo will surprise us in this regard. Stay tuned!

Here's a list of the System Builder Marathon (SBM) articles in this five day series.

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  • 0 Hide
    romulus47plus1 , April 17, 2008 9:21 AM
    Paying $230 for a 3870?
    Get the 8800GT for that price!
  • 0 Hide
    Retrogame , May 31, 2008 5:13 PM
    The $500-$700 system is more important than you realize: it's an extremely important price point in the "Consoles vs. PC wars"

    For about $500, you can buy a top of the line current generation PS3 or XBox 360 with a few accessories.

    Of course, there are always games better on one platform than the other; and naturally, your PC is a lot more versatile; i.e. it's a "REAL COMPUTER!" Even so, it's nice to know that you can actually put together a low cost machine, overclock it a smidgen, and still run this games representative of this year's crop of PC titles... and if you were to actually scale down the graphics settings to the same level that the consoles would be running things at, probably end up with better frame rates and the advantage of using a nice monitor instead of a TV.