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System Builder Marathon, March 2012: $1250 Enthusiast PC

Benchmark Results: DiRT 3 And StarCraft II

DiRT 3

DiRT 3 is often limited by host processor performance, except at its highest detail settings and resolutions, and that’s what we see here. The Core i5-2400 system and Radeon HD 7970 combo are notably faster overall. But when we apply the Ultra preset and 8x MSAA, the overclocked FX-6100 and Radeon HD 6950s in CrossFire pulls ahead at 2560x1600.

StarCraft II

We've seen that StarCraft II can also be limited by CPU performance when a map is filled with units. But the second generation of our in-house benchmark is less stressful in that regard, and therefore more dependent on graphics performance.

As such, the Core i5-2400 and Radeon HD 7970 combo retains an advantage until 2560x1600 at Ultra quality settings with 8x MSAA applied.

  • zanny
    Sad thing is dollar for dollar the 7970 is maddeningly inefficient. It only says good things for this summer, when hopefully AMD drops the prices on their cards in response to Kepler kicking their collective butts in performance per dollar.
    Reply
  • ojas
    typo in the table on the first page, a 6970 isn't for $560! :P
    Reply
  • sempifi99
    A 64GB ssd seems very restrictive, can you even load all of the games in the test suite on it? I would think that for any real gamer you would want a SSD at least large enough to load 6 games and considering most modern games take ~10GB there is no room left for windows on it.

    For the price, the lack of a larger SSD seems like an oversight. I would think anyone really considering this build would have done better to get a larger SSD and a 7950 or 7870. Or perhaps a single large hybrid HD would be a better option.
    Reply
  • 7970 guess you wrote this before the GTX 680 review. No way you'd make that recommendation after.
    Reply
  • sempifi99
    9529252 said:
    7970 guess you wrote this before the GTX 680 review. No way you'd make that recommendation after.

    When you compare their overclocking potentials, they have about the same performance. And then there is the availability of the GTX 680, which is not. So it makes since why the 7970 was chosen.

    The 7970 has better compute potential too. But I don't think that is relevant for a gaming box.
    Reply
  • killabanks
    i would say wait for the price to come down
    Reply
  • ksampanna
    stm11857970 guess you wrote this before the GTX 680 review. No way you'd make that recommendation after.
    My thoughts exactly. This story was probably done before Kepler, but now with the 680 launched, the editor sure must be feeling a bit shortchanged.
    Of course, the fact that the 680 has disappeared off the shelves is a different story entirely. In any case, within the next few weeks, we should see significant price cuts on the 7970, potentially making this build relevant once again.
    Reply
  • ringzero
    This article has so many typos and data errors that I can't make any sense of it.
    Reply
  • pharoahhalfdead
    Mushkin, Mushkin, Mushkin... How about trying something along the lines of Corsair XMS3 or another brand? We've seen Mushkin so much, and you sometimes say you want to build different configs, but I never see Corsair in the builds.
    Reply
  • ringzero
    "Whoa. The Radeon HD 6950s in CrossFire from last quarter's System Builder Marathon beat the Radeon HD 7970 at every combination of resolutions and settings, except 1280x1600 at Ultra details."

    I desperately want a monitor at that resolution.
    Reply