Let’s wrap up the comparison between my two machines in our gaming tests. Tallying average frame rates throughout all of the tested resolutions interestingly emphasizes CPU performance. The new $800 PC achieves results that are between 30 and 42% higher in the titles we tested on both boxes.
Moving forward, the addition of Battlefield 4, Arma III, and Grid 2 should balance much of the weight back to our graphics cards.
After all, when it comes down to it, you don't build an $800 box to play at 1280x720 with low details and jagged edges. So, we'll isolate the quality settings more interesting to PC gaming enthusiasts.
Cranking up the eye candy at 1920x1080 obviously shifts demands from the platform to the GPU. Huge numbers in Skyrim favoring this quarter's Core i5-based system mask the narrower victory in our most demanding game, Far Cry 3. The overclocking headroom of last quarter’s GeForce GTX 760 even came pretty close to matching the stock $800 PC in that one game.
How about gaming across three monitors? There’s no doubt that my $800 machine is more capable, requiring fewer quality setting compromises to remain playable. It is interesting, though, that the overall tally doesn’t change much, regardless of whether we factor in all gaming tests, or just 1920x1080 and 4800x900 at the highest details. Any way we stack the charts, all three end up showing a 34-35% average boost in frame rates. Minimum frame rates follow a similar pattern also. This tells us we're dealing with two well-balanced gaming platforms.
Of course, our System Builder Marathon isn't just about gaming, and overall performance is important too. Last quarter’s $650 PC spanked the preceding Core i3-based rig in threaded workloads. AMD's six-core Vishera design made light work of our productivity applications. However, stepping up to a Core i5 yields an additional 25% average increase over that impressive FX-6300-based build. Even after folding in limited overclocking headroom, the $800 PC turns in better numbers than both of the last two $650 machines in just about every individual test.
Not all countries have good internet infrastructure. If that wasn't the case Microsoft wouldn't have to reverse its policies on the X1. Another thing is retail game DVDs costs very less in my country. For example, Bioshock Infinite costs only 15.97$ at launch date. If I were to buy it through Steam at launch date it would have cost me 59.99$
I know that the writers of "best CPUs" for the money always make a huge fuss about how "oh, you save 7W (or however much it is) by not having the on-board graphics", but I still think it's worth keeping, for if your discrete card gives out on you. My PC buggered up installing my graphics drivers once, and if it weren't for my intel "backup" GPU, my rig would have been bricked.
For us, both were available from Newegg at a $10 difference. Either is fine. I chose the -3350P back for the Q1 $600 Gaming PC, and it's OC was limited to 3.5-3.7 GHz with this same Z75 Pro3 mobo. But I actually prefer the -3470 at these prices for reasons stated in the text (higher clocks and backup HD 2500 graphics). It fit in under budget, and its higher Turbo limit provide a 300 MHz boost across the board (3.8-4.0 GHz) when overclocking. That right there is worth $10 in an SBM where value equals a straight bang for buck calculation.
My own thoughts on this one are mixed. I like to see the challenge of a lower budget. This $800 PC was quite good, however. With the focus on gaming this SBM cycle, this one looks like a shoe-in for value winner. I don't see what two or three times the budget will buy that can offer similar multiples of performance, especially that will be visible in actual use.
That said, for my own uses, I'd take the "High" to "Max" settings in my games that a GTX650Ti Boost would offer, and put the balance into a SSD.
I currently just built a "budget" machine for my son which ended up close to $850. That build was using an Asus M5A78L-M/USB3 Micro ATX AM3+ motherboard, AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz to (O.C. to 4.3GHz @ 38 C), w/ an Enermax ETS-T40-TB 86.7 CFM CPU Cooler.
What I wanted had to be tempered with what I could squeeze into the budget so a new Asus Radeon R7 260X 2GB Video Card was put in for now. A WD Caviar (Blue) 1TB drive was put in for storage, G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory and a Corsair CX 500W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply to make it all run. Windows 8.1 was installed and the case is a nice looking Corsair 350D case.
My working theory is this rig will run well now and a new video card, better CPU cooler with a faster stronger CPU and an SSD down the road are all manageable upgrades that could keep this machine running good, playable frame rates for several years down the road.
There is always more than one way to skin a cat and to me this was the least amount I would build with.