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System Builder Marathon, March 2011: Value Compared

Power And Heat

With AMD’s former dominance in CPU efficiency long gone, the $500 machine’s only powerplay comes from its smaller and less power-hungry GPU. A second graphics board hurts the $2000 machine’s power draw in a similar fashion, but it remains to be seen whether the performance it adds compensates.

A low-wattage graphics card also helps the $500 PC top the cooling charts. The $2000 PC’s graphics cards get cooler when overclocked, but only because overclocking necessitated manual fan adjustment.

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