Power, Heat, Efficiency And Value
Today’s alternative build might have 50% more CPU cores, but it certainly doesn’t use 50% more power. The entire machine pulled only 551W max from the wall, which means its internal components required only around 500W.
Thermal readings from the CPU and GPU maxed out are far more unfortunate. Even at a CPU setting of 1.18V, heat rising from an internally-vented graphics card pushed the CPU over 100 °C.
Our Audio and Video encoding suite started down for today’s alternative build, since the CPU is clocked slower. But overclocking gave it a far bigger boost. The entire machine ended up better by 8% over Q4’s build and 2% over the SLI build. Overclocking gave it a wild 23% performance increase.
It still ended up less efficient than the miserly Q4 build, but its inefficiency wasn’t as great as that of my original SLI build.
That overall performance increase just means that the $1750 alternative build pays for its own upgrade compared to the Q4 $1600 PC, and overcomes the pricing inefficiencies of this quarter’s original $1750 build.
But then there’s the issue of 3D performance. A do-everything gaming machine that wants to be extra-fast across the board needs all of the upgrades from both of this quarter's machines. Add a higher-quality case and a storage drive to complete the system’s functionality, and we’re suddenly shopping for a $2000 PC.
Of course, most of us can’t afford a $2000 PC. I only get hardware this good because it shows up on my doorstep. Keeping in mind that a six-core processor really does have better value in a high-end PC compared to SLI graphics, I’d like to hear your thoughts on future hardware and budgets. I can certainly build a dream machine if requested, though I’m not sure how many of you would like to read about it.
Oh, and this does mean that I was wrong about graphics being the easiest place to find more bang for your extra bucks. Ouch. It appears that I passed the point of that being true several hundred dollars ago. My consolation prize is knowing that the majority of upgrade requests supported the same idea.