System Builder Marathon Q3 2014: Budget Gaming PC

Results: Far Cry 3 And Grid 2

Far Cry 3

Far Cry 3 is well-threaded, bringing many entry-level processors to their knees. It also happens to be the most graphically demanding title these machines need to face.

In the past, I found Ultra quality too intense for dual-core processors, whether I was talking about a highly overclocked Core 2 Duo or more recent Ivy Bridge-based Pentiums. Naturally, I was eager to fire up Far Cry 3 on this unlocked G3258 and a capable graphics card.

At high-quality settings without anti aliasing, both machines are CPU-limited at Full HD. Sporting four integer cores, the Athlon is stronger right out of the box. But of course, it benefits from higher Turbo Core frequencies also. The new machine does maintain slightly higher minimum frame rates at each resolution, and both configurations remain smooth though 1920x1080.

I had to overclock last quarter’s machine to stay above 30 FPS at 4800x900, while this quarter’s configuration doesn't drop below 33 in its stock form (and keeps its nose above 37 FPS once overclocked). Keep in mind that our benchmark is about as demanding as this game gets.

At Ultra quality, both stock configurations manage to stay above 30 FPS at 1280x720, though neither feels completely smooth. The new machine is held back by its 3.2 GHz dual-core processor, while last quarter’s Radeon R7 265 was already struggling to cope with the added stress of 4x MSAA.

Overclocked, our new PC survives nicely through 1600x900 with 4x MSAA. However, the minimum frame rate drops by about 10 when we jump to 1920x1080. It feels smooth at 1920x1080 only when we drop to Very High quality with 2x MSAA, averaging almost 40 FPS and keeping above 35.

Grid 2

In Grid 2, both machines breeze through 4800x900 at the system-bound High Quality preset.

As demands shift over to graphics hardware, the new PC distances itself from my prior effort and its Radeon R9 270 is potent enough to survive all the way through 4800x900. The machine even delivers higher sustained frame rates with 8x MSAA than last quarter’s PC at 2x.

  • 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.