Picking A Performance-Value Winner
A quick look at price-to-performance using purchase prices might not help you much today (since our parts were bought more than a month ago), but it can at least validate or negate each of our decisions. We do, after all, see a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking after new prices emerge.
The $750 machine yields the most bang for the buck, as expected, and the $1600 machine serves up $0.72 worth of extra performance for every dollar spent. The $2400 machine provides 58 cents of performance for every dollar spent beyond the $750 baseline, but over 80 cents in performance for every dollar spent over the $1600 PC (58%/72%, above). In other words, waste is a smaller percent of my $2400 machine's budget when I use the $1600 PC as a starting point.
Value improves slightly for the $1600 and $2400 machines after a couple months of price changes, but neither configuration will ever catch the $750 platform's high value. It would be better for enthusiasts who want a high-end machine to instead discuss their minimum performance standards.
Speaking of raising the bar on standards, gamers are the most vocal critics of our builds, and the $750 machine just isn’t quite capable of playing through our most taxing detail settings at 5760x1080. We know that because it failed a couple of tests at 4800x900.
Starting at 99.6% of the $1600 machine’s high-end gaming value, the $2400 PC appears nearly on-par with its rival...until I started overclocking it. More than $80 extra was spent to make it a better overclocker, and that expense is returned with a victory comparing my overclocking successes to Don's.
Recent price changes are even more forgiving to my $2400 effort, as it starts life with a 1.8% gaming-value lead that climbs to 7.7% (125.2%/116.3%, above) when both machines are overclocked.
Still, none of us can agree on which of these to buy. Aside from the $750 machine’s general value victory, the rest of our charts are just numbers, at the end of the day. That’s because each of us uses different games, applications, and monitor configurations in our own systems. That’s why I recommend looking at each individual benchmark result before picking a solution that best matches your needs.
Congratulations to Paul for his continuous string of System Builder Marathon victories, and thanks to all readers for the feedback that helped shape this quarter’s competition.