Skip to main content

Three High-End Gaming Systems Compared

Benchmark Configuration

CrysisVersion: 1.2.1Video Quality: Very High DetailsDemo: CPU-Benchmark + Tom’s Hardware Tool
Supreme CommanderForged AllianceVersion: 1.5.3599Video Quality: Highest SettingsDemo: WallaceTX_006_006Benchmark: Fraps 2.9.4 - Build 7037
Unreal Tournament 3Version: 1.2Sound and DirectX10Texture Details: 1Level Details: 1Demo: vCTF-CONTAINMENT_flyTime: 12/60
World in ConflictVersion: 1.0.0.9Video Quality: Very High detailsDemo: Game-Benchmark
iTunesVersion: 7.7.0.43Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 minDefault format AAC
Lame MP3Version: 3.98 Beta 3 (05-22-2007)Audio CD Terminator II SE, 53 minwave to MP3160 Kb/s
TMPEG 4.5Version: 4.5.1.254Import File: Terminator 2 SE DVD (5 Minutes)Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
DivX 6.8.3Encoding mode: Insane QualityEnhanced multithreadingEnabled using SSE4Quarter-pixel search
XviD 1.1.3Display encoding status = off
Nero 8 RecodeVersion: 3.1.4.0- Recode an entire DVD to DVD- Convert DVD-9 to DVD5- High-quality mode (slow recording)- Disable video preview
Mainconcept Reference 1.5.1Reference H.264 Plugin Pro 1.5.1MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264)MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2)Audio: MPEG2 (44.1 KHz, two Channel, 16 Bit, 224 Kbps)Mode: PAL (25 FPS)Profile: Tom’s Hardware Settings for Qct-Core
Pinnacle Studio 12Version: 12.0.0.6163Encoding and Transition RenderingPrivate MPEG2-Cam-MovieVideo: 720 x 576 Pixel, PAL, 25 fps, 6000 Kb/secAudio: MPEG Layer 2, 224 Kb/sec 16 Bit, Stereo 44.1 KHzFile Type: MPEG-2 (DVD Compatible)
Autodesk 3D Studio Max 9Version: 9.0Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)
Adobe Acrobat 9 ProfessionalVersion: 9.0.0 (Extended)Default Settings: StandardEncrypt all documents (128 bit RC4)
Adobe Photoshop CS 3Version: 10.0x20070321Filtering from a 69 MB TIF-PhotoBenchmark: Tomshardware-Benchmark V1.0.0.4Filters: Crosshatch, Glass, Sumi-e,Accented Edges, Angled Strokes, Sprayed Strokes
Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus 8Version: 8.0.134Virus base: 270.4.5/1533Benchmark: Scan 334 MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files
Maxon Cinema 4D Release 10Version: 10.008Resolution: 1280 x 1024Benchmark: Rose Drop, 8-bits (50 Frames)
Deep Fritz 11Version: 11Fritz Chess Benchmark Version 4.2
Winrar 3.80Version 3.70 BETA 8WinZIP Commandline Version 2.3Compression = BestDictionary = 4096 KBBenchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)
Winzip 11Version 11.2Compression = BestBenchmark: THG-Workload (139 MB)
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.02GPU and CPU scores
PCMark VantageVersion: 1.00System, Memory, Hard Disk Drive benchmarksWindows Media Player 10.00.00.3646
SiSoftware Sandra XII SP2Version 2008.5.14.24CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMediaMemory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
  • xx12amanxx
    That crossfire sure blazes through games!
    Reply
  • johnbilicki
    Falcon's overnight shipping is just plain juicy, nothing is worse then having a thousand dollar plus paper weight for two to six weeks doing nothing though why not the full three years of the warranty at these prices?

    Why only three years warranty for the entire systems? Why not extend those warranties per part in the very least. This is a major turn-off for those of us who have had parts die three days after a two or three year warranty has expired negating a full system if we can't replace the part (such as the motherboard). Especially considering Socket B will be due out in what, a month or two?

    I've seen a Mac or two that are (slightly) more affordable, would it really kill most people to replace an Intel EE with a Q9550? It's got the same amount of cache and I'm sure it'll OC to the same frequencies. I don't think someone buying one of these systems is going to care too much if it's OCed by FSB or simply the multiplier. My old 754/3200 CRUSHED my 939/3500 a few years ago 15 seconds to a full minute (and that's with single channel memory versus 939's dual channel) on several processor intensive tests such as AWStats (web statistics) pushing a 120 megabyte Apache access log and the 3500 had half the cache but a 200MHz advantage. Switching those two CPU's would easily knock off about $700 on the price tag.

    Just under six grand up over eight and no keyboard and mouse with any of these systems?

    Windows Vista is weak but then again if someone is going to spend that much money (and tax and probably shipping on TOP of that) they probably are going to be spending the vast majority of time using the system to play video games any way so mute point really. I've seen some impressive (older systems) though including a system with a 6xxx SLI setup that was being used for word documents...these are clearly intended for games.

    I'd really like to see an article here on Toms Hardware about PSU's. It'd be sweet to say, "Yeah my rig has a 1500 watt PSU" though it'd be sweeter to say, "Yeah I have my (one of these) rig running OCed and stable with a 700 watt PSU" in example. It'd be nice to see what happens when systems don't get enough power and how to determine how much power a system will need before one purchases individual parts.

    Why is Falcon's rig the only one with a BD burner?

    I like the Falcon system the most between the specs provided. The WD Raptors at 300GB might be enough if you're only playing a handful of games (at any given time) though for that price tag I'd expect at least a TB drive through in. I'd never have my music collection or work files on the same drive as any OS. Crossfire is owning there too and it's great to see ATI back in the game. Thanks for posting the review! Now how about posting some FRAPS footage of games from these systems and post them in HD on YouTube? ;-)
    Reply
  • neodude007
    Speaking of FRAPS, I can't get decent framerates in Vista x64 with it... If I install XP I can FRAPS my WoW at 60 FPS but it chugs down to like 25 and below on Vista and the games appear to lag really badly.

    Also, this article goes to show the failure of tri SLI vs a CF of X2 cards. I am very happy with my 8800GT SLI though since it beats a GTX 280 last I checked for half the price.
    Reply
  • lucuis
    Great review, i was actually thinking about what kind of performance an 8 core processor would have in today's games, regardless of optimization. Clearly we aren't ready, lol. Especially seeing as how Quads are just barely getting used.

    What was nice to see is that Quads are almost always fully utilized in non-gaming applications. Makes me feel better for buying a quad early in the game. I'm just hoping more games will come equipped with quad support.
    Reply
  • sparky2010
    well when it comes to extended warranties on custom, or "boutique" systems, you really don't need more than three.. i mean, people who buy these things want to them so that they can brag and all that, but in three years? you can easily buy a system for a quarter of the price and probably get more performance. So, there's no use for more than three years warranty because many of those people would have already updated those pcs (the insides, like mobo, cpu, gpu, ram, etc..), or the ones with deep wallets would have bought newer ones...

    Also, there are many people who like pcs, new technologies, games, and so on but don't know how or don't have the guts to build and overclock their own machines.. well, it's probably the overclocking part that weighs down on most people, so they'd rather opt to buy a machine built by.... experts.... who overclock it for them, at a nice premium.. if you can afford it, why not? not many people complain at the price of a Mercedes S 65 AMG now do they?
    Reply
  • neiroatopelcc
    I'm surprised the 3sli system did so badly. 8 cpu cores, 3 gpu cores, and yet so slow. Ofcourse a problem is the software unable to utilize them all, but I wonder how much of the fault is down to the windows kernel only running on one? or the graphics in a game only using one cpu core and treating the 3 gpu's as one etc? In any case, why are the ati cards that much faster? 3x 280 should be faster than 4x 4870 sharing two slots? does the skulltrail feature 3x16 pcie v2 lanes for the cards? or are they bandwidth starved ? and what about hte 2x 4870x2's ? are they being limited by two slots running 16x (or 16/8 / 8/8)?
    Appearently 2 x2's is better than 3 280's .... I didn't expect that. Perhaps driver's cpu overhead in the x2's is significantly lower than the nvidia driver handling 3 gpu's ? or is it just crysis and vantage that don't know how to use the gpu's without being limited by cpu power of a single core?
    Reply
  • sparky2010
    also.. ATI FTW!!!!!!!
    I hope they keep it up with their new gpus in 2009..!!!
    Reply
  • sparky2010
    well.. the 4870 X2 is better by about 10-20% (if not more) than the GTX 280, on average.. but i believe that on tri sli, the third card won't be of much help because that third pci-e slot is usually a 4x or even 1x.. so the bandwidth available to that third card is pretty low.. plus i believe that ATI has concentrated alot more on multi-card compatibility and performance, drivers wise.. so maybe that's the reason why.. maybe it's the nature of Crossfire vs. SLI that gives Crossfire the advantage, because they're two different methods in combining two cards..

    also, i wonder when they'll start coming up with dual and quad core gpus... instead of multi-gpu solutions... which would be better?
    Reply
  • ravenware
    Falcon's are always fast :) That vigor gives me a hard on, too bad its overkill.
    Reply
  • neiroatopelcc
    Could be that the ati drivers simply are better in multi card configs than nvidia. For the longest time they've had to release x2 cards to keep up withe nvidia after all, so they must've worked their arse off to make sure they actually work :)

    ps. I hope nvidia releases a new card to trumph the 4870, so that I can have proper drivers again. ati may be good at cf, but nvidia knows how to deal with multimonitor setups
    Reply