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System Builder Marathon, Q4 2012: $1,000 Enthusiast PC

Benchmark Results: Battlefield 3 And The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Battlefield 3

Battlefield 3's single-player campaign is typically limited by graphics performance. We do see small variations at stock settings, but because the same exact Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 is used in both builds, the differences are pretty small at stock frequencies.

Last quarter's more generous graphics card overclock gives that setup a quantifiable advantage once both machines are tuned.

Skyrim

Skyrim represents the other extreme; its performance is largely platform-bound.

Using the High quality preset, Intel's Core i5-3570K has a big impact on performance, and it trounces the FX-8350 when it's overclocked. But it also wins at stock settings, too. Fortunately for AMD, even the lowest results we recorded average greater than 80 FPS. That's plenty for a smooth gaming experience.

Stepping up to the Ultra preset, last quarter's machine maintains a compelling advantage up through 1920x1080. For some reason, though, the AMD-based box is able to secure a slight lead when it gets overclocked.