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System Builder Marathon, December 2010: $500 PC

Benchmark Results: DiRT 2 And S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of Pripyat

DiRT 2

With our $400 PC, we were forced to either drop to lower resolutions or use the DirectX 9 code path (rather than DirectX 11). Our $500 PC delivers smooth frame rates, though, appearing mostly CPU-limited at all tested resolutions.

What a blowout. The less expensive rig stands no chance at maximizing visuals, while the December PC has the graphics muscle needed through 1080p.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat

The S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat benchmark gives us another look at DX11 performance. While the demanding “Sun Shafts” test limited the overclocked $400 PC to just 720p resolution, the current rig remains playable through 1080p.

Similar to Crysis at Very High detail settings, Ultra quality with 4x MSAA was a completely unreasonable expectation for the $400 budget box. The December PC, however, does surprisingly well, averaging 30 FPS at 1080p in the Sun Shafts test at stock clocks, and 36 FPS once it's overclocked.

  • LuckyDucky7
    And this is really the only PC build that will stay relevant come January- it will remain the only budget platform that can be overclocked, after all.

    Incidentally, this would be the only PC you'd want to contemplate building right now (since the new Core i3s don't come out immediately like the i5s and i7s do- and the Pentium G8XX series doesn't allow overclocking of its platform.)
    Reply
  • Tamz_msc
    Ah, much better than the previous build!
    Reply
  • Proximon
    Great job squeezing everything into a very small budget.
    Reply
  • adbat
    Good build - but again it would be good to see old spec on test system page.
    Reply
  • rohitbaran
    That is a great combination for that budget. Balanced.
    Reply
  • yyk71200
    I wouldn't be very comfortable using a 380 watt PSU for a long time for GTX 460 even if it is good quality. Perhaps, I would put in something of 450 watt or higher.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    LuckyDucky7And this is really the only PC build that will stay relevant come January- it will remain the only budget platform that can be overclocked, after all.Incidentally, this would be the only PC you'd want to contemplate building right now (since the new Core i3s don't come out immediately like the i5s and i7s do- and the Pentium G8XX series doesn't allow overclocking of its platform.)So you think there's going to be a replacement platform for the $2000 PC in January? That's not going to happen for a while. Or are you suggesting the next $2000 PC should be downgraded to P67?
    Reply
  • dragoon190
    I haven't been keeping up with the system marathon much, but what's the reasoning for choosing nVidia card over AMD's? Just wondering since I'm thinking about upgrading my computer soon.
    Reply
  • jj463rd
    A really nice build this time.However the price of the case and power supply has gone up in price over at newegg.I haven't checked the prices of the other components though.This build seems to perform quite well especially in the gaming benchmarks.Good job!
    Reply
  • tstng
    I would've gone with a 6850 instead of the 460. It's a tad cheaper, not at all slower if you don't start cranckin' up the tesselation, and should fit the 380W psu a lot better. But a solid build by all means.
    Reply