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System Builder Marathon Q3 2014: Budget Gaming PC

Results: Synthetics


3DMark Fire Strike gives us a first look how these two low-cost gaming PCs stack up to one another. By cutting down platform costs, we were able to step up from Radeon R7 265 to R9 270 graphics. This shifting of funds yields a higher graphics score than last quarter’s overclocked effort. How's that for immediate improvement?

The Physics test, on the other hand, indicates that a pair of Haswell cores needs more than 3.2 GHz to match the dual-module architecture of AMD's Athlon X4 750K.

PCMark 8

Based on PCMark 8 scores, the current machine appears capable in almost any common task, whether at home or in the office. Its victories over last quarter’s machine are further extended once we apply overclocking to them.

SiSoftware Sandra

The current machine’s Pentium processor leads in Sandra’s Dhrystone module, but trails in the Whetstone floating-point arithmetic test.

Cryptographic throughput dropped substantially last quarter when we moved from a Haswell-based Core i3 to a more affordable Trinity-based Athlon. Unlike Intel’s Core processors, value-oriented Pentiums and Celerons do not support AES-NI. As a result, the current machine gets totally spanked in this comparison.

Both builds have the same Team Dark Series memory kit installed. Last quarter, I enabled the XMP DDR3-1600 profile for stock testing, and overclocked to DDR3-1866. The Pentium is limited to DDR3-1333, so the only tweaking performed was lowering from CAS 9 to CAS 7 timings.

Despite this data rate handicap, the Pentium’s memory controller still delivers greater bandwidth.