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

Analyzing Our FX-8350 Experiment

Although we cannot compare the results from our entire benchmark suite (due to the addition of several tests and the modification of other workloads), we're still curious to see how the comparable numbers match up.

On average, the FX-8350 and Core i5-3570K do pretty well at their stock settings, the Intel-based box about 10% quicker. This will likely change as we fold more heavily-threaded tests into the Marathon, starting this quarter. Naturally, you'll want to look closest at the benchmarks that matter to you specifically when you evaluate performance, since each architecture excels in a different way.

When it comes to overclocking though, Intel extends its lead with significantly lower power consumption and much better performance. If we were measuring efficiency, that'd be a home run. Yes, Xigmatek's Loki is insufficient for overclocking the 125 W FX-8350. But let's be realistic. If we wanted to squeeze better performance out of AMD's chip, we'd need to spend more money on cooling, and power consumption would rise even faster as higher voltages paved the way for more aggressive clock rates. It'd be a great experiment, and we might even play around with it in the future, but it's clear that Intel's Core i5-3570K remains the better choice for overclockers in this price range.

Here's another idea: maybe the cheaper FX-8320 would make more sense matched up to a pricier (and more capable) cooler? While we consider what might have been, or what might be next quarter, prepare yourself for Thomas' $2,000 build and then the value comparison. We'll get to see how the $500, $1,000, and $2,000 systems compare when it comes to performance, power, and, well, overall value.