Results: Battlefield 3 And Far Cry 3
Battlefield 3 demonstrates similar performance on both systems, in spite of the new build's potentially more powerful GPU configuration and extra CPU cores. It appears probable that this title won't scale much beyond four cores, and the previous build had better per-core performance.
Lower resolutions are less GPU-dependent, and the new system’s old CPU technology appears to hamper performance in Far Cry 3 at 1920x1080. The machines are roughly equal as we step up to the Surround-enabled resolutions.
On the other hand, Paul's single GPU was OK with 2GB. I figured we'd need a jump to 4GB with 3-way on his GPU, but 3GB on the 7970 probably would have been enough. Also, a total difference of $60 still would have fit within the budget limit, so, maybe Ivy-Bridge E and Radeons for the next build?
In order to prove what you're saying, I would have needed to search for worse-performing overpriced parts. You'll see on Day 4 that this build has the best performance of the three. So this build actually doesn't prove anything, except maybe that six core processors boost six-core benchmarks and that more graphics power gives you better frame rates at 5760x1080 (etc). But we didn't actually need any proof for those things, did we?
Tom, the future builds need to have better budget tiers. The doubling of the funds in each tier is fine in certain cases but it doesn't provide real insight into hardware choices. Having the tiers with a fixed figure increase such as a $250-400 increase in budget per tier would make more sense. Also, I would love to see the comeback of the $500 budget builds.
Lastly, what happen to the idea of themes each quarter?