System Builder Marathon Q3 2014: Budget Gaming PC

Results: Arma 3 And Battlefield 4

Arma 3

Our Infantry Showcase test is most effective when comparing graphics cards, but doesn’t properly reflect just how taxing Arma 3 can be on the processor. To compensate, I shoot for an average of at least 50 FPS, though I ultimately base my conclusion on time spent playing Altis Map showcases like Fixed Wings and Gunships.

Both rigs survive through 1920x1080 at the standard defaults, though this quarter's PC delivers higher average and minimum frame rates, regardless of the scenario or showcase I loaded.

At 4800x900, last quarter’s AMD-based box suffered frame rate drops down into the teens. Overclocking its graphics card yielded no improvements. Rather, the game needed us to crank Trinity’s frequencies up to help smooth out performance. Intel’s Pentium G3258 proves to be more capable of withstanding the demands of three displays.

Ultra quality was too much for last quarter’s PC, even overclocked. The new machine outpaces it with ease, but leans on overclocking to smooth out the more demanding sequences. Lower resolutions become playable, though 1920x1080 requires a drop to the game’s High quality defaults.

Battlefield 4

Barring any frame pacing or micro-stuttering issues, an average of 40 FPS in this demanding sequence should prove playability through the entire single-player campaign.

Battlefield 4 favors last quarter’s quad-core AMD processor, at least until we raise the resolution enough to shift the bottleneck to our graphics hardware. At medium-quality default settings, both rigs remain fully capable through all tested resolutions.

The demands of DICE's Ultra preset reward my decision to shift funding away from the platform and over to the graphics card. Both processors keep up, but this quarter's Radeon R9 270 survives more definitively at 1920x1080. In order to remain playable, last quarter’s R7 265 needed overclocking and a drop to 2x MSAA.

We did face one issue when running Battlefield’s campaign. Each and every time we entered the game and loaded up the Tashgar level, there was a one- to two-second pause during the loading scene, where the sound hung and stuttered. Thankfully, the issue disappeared once we were in and playing.

  • Memnarchon
    Wow! Pentium G3258 becoming a monster for that price, once it goes over 4Ghz...
  • g-unit1111
    I would personally love to get a Pentium G3258 for my HTPC, it's only like $50 at Micro Center and the motherboard is $70 at Newegg. Hmm... decisions, decisions. :lol:
  • ScienceGuy3
    What about the Frame Times? Isn't this processor notorious for bad frame times in heavily threaded games like BF4?
  • elbert
    serves up to 30 A across its +12 V rails.
    Its rated to serve up to 30 Amps but can do far more. Tests on this little gem shows it can output 22amps on each rail and maxes out around 38~39 Amps on both. Im paraphrasing a popular power supply testing site. Max wattage is about 553ish which is a good deal more than rated. This power supply can't be certified due to it lacks a circuit required but exceeds 80 percent efficiency.
  • de5_Roy
    a lot of things went right for this build: amd introduced the full pitcairn/curacao gpu based r9 270 under 150w, needing single 6 pin pcie power connector, cryptocurrency craze was over and gfx card prices came down, hdd prices came down to sane levels, cpu-overhead-reducing gfx card drivers came out, intel released an unlocked dual core cpu and allowed o.c. bioses....
  • jdwii
    I'm just not sure for one they didn't show latency times. I'm pretty sure this build will suck for future gaming to such as GTA5.,3849-5.html
    When toms reviewed this CPU it was shown to have poor latency
    For a 500$ build i would probably do a 6300+265 build. 600$ i would probably jump the build up to a I5+265 or 8320+270X.
  • Onus
    No stuttering? Very interesting; looks like more testing might be needed, but perhaps settings can also be adjusted.
  • akula2
    Since this CPU is super performer on various fronts (single core), so why not this config?

    Pentium G3258 - $69.97
    NZXT Kraken X31 - $73.98
    Asus MAXIMUS VII HERO - $203.99
    G.Skill Trident X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-2133 - $184.99
    Crucial M550 1TB 2.5" SSD - $447.98
    Asus GeForce GTX 970 4GB STRIX - $349.99

    NZXT Phantom 530 (White) - $121.98
    EVGA 650W ATX12V - $64.99 (not sure about its power good signal value?)
    Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer - $16.99

    Asus VG248QE Monitor - $264.99

    D-Link DWA-171 802.11a/b/g/n/ac USB 2.0 - $29.27
    Logitech MK550 w/Laser Mouse - $49.99
    Corsair Vengeance 2100 - $79.99
    Logitech Z506 155W 5.1ch - $69.99

    Microsoft Windows 8.1 Professional (32/64-bit) - $170.99

    Total: $2200

    What you guys think? Usage? Racing Games at homes, audio/video encoding etc. I don't need K CPUs because I'm not in a hurry in this case.

    Power source: 100% green aka Solar energy.
  • Janemba
    Will 400 watt enough for R7 265 ?? tell me ??
    i use i3-4130 btw.
  • alchemy69
    Very similar to the system I just put together for myself except that I felt a 260X was more than enough power for the GPU and put the savings towards a small SSD for the boot drive.