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System Builder Marathon, March 2011: $2000 Bonus Build

Power, Heat, And Efficiency

More powerful graphics cards hurt the new build’s power consumption numbers, but only when 3D applications are running. Fortunately, we also know they increase performance. So, the efficiency charts should reflect those two figures balancing each other out. These charts only reflect one half of that equation.

CPU temperatures are excellent for both systems. Because GPU overclocking required manual fan adjustments, the numbers are not comparable in a precise manner.

The new build outperforms the original in games, but nowhere else. The former build actually beats it slightly in overall performance.

We reduced the effect of hard drive performance on overall performance scores from our previous 25% to the current 10%, since most people spend no more than 10% of their work time waiting for programs to load. Our three non-gaming application suites account for 30% each of today’s total performance score.

Small graphics performance gains that usually occur only at our highest test settings were more than offset by increased power consumption in our efficiency charts, allowing the original build to take a big lead.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.