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System Builder Marathon: $2,500 Enthusiast PC

Benchmark Results: First-Person Shooters

Without a November high-cost configuration against which to compare our current build, we had to reach back to our October $4,500 PC, with its dual Radeon HD 4870 X2 graphics cards in CrossFireX and heavily-overclocked Core 2 Quad Q9650, to gauge any performance improvements in this month’s build.

Crysis is marketed as an Nvidia-optimized game with The Way It's Meant To Be Played (TWIMTBP), so we’d expect some fairly impressive gains from our 3-way SLI configuration.  Let’s begin there.

Previous tests have shown the new system’s Core i7 architecture has a minimal performance advantage in most games, so we really have to credit our three GTX 260 graphics cards, with their updated Core 216 architecture, for the big Crysis win at low to medium resolutions. However, notice that the performance lead of our 3-way SLI configuration fell off completely when we exceeded 1920x1200 pixels.

Anti-aliasing (AA) results look similar to those noted in Crysis without AA, except that the 3-way SLI went from slow to naught at 2560x1600. Starting the test at our highest resolution resulted in a black screen.

Unreal Tournament 3 is another game from Nvidia’s TWIMTBP list, but its game engine has always appeared to be favorable to CPU speed and memory bandwidth. Our new system doesn’t have a CPU frequency advantage over the old one, but its on-die triple-channel memory controller is certain to provide a boost.

  • tipmen
    First
    LG GGC-H20LK 6X Blu-Ray/HD DVD-ROM, 16X DVD±RW for $23??? you mean 223?
    Reply
  • douglesso
    Thanks for the fantastic information and detailed analysis. I just ordered the same motherboard and video card last week for my new build. Glad to see that holding out for the i7 was a worthwhile wait.
    Reply
  • tipmen
    Sorry couldn't read my comment but nice blbuild by the way nice to see this. Hlaf the price and more performance.
    Reply
  • Ph0X
    This is... really.. Wow.
    I'm not big in hardware, but this is just, WOW...

    There's 3SLI GTX260, 3 x 1TB, Bluray WRITER!, but it doesn't even have 6gb ram!!?

    That's just lame. Imo maybe get raptors / SSD instead? Also, Instead of 3SLI, just get a 4870x2. You will maybe get 2-3FPS less, but instead get 6gb ram and i7 940, and I'm pretty sure that will also boost your fps.

    Again, I'm not a hardware pro, but I'm pretty sure my thing would be way better.
    Reply
  • Total price is off. Should be something like 2,447 and not 2,247
    Reply
  • kelfen
    Ph0XThis is... really.. Wow.I'm not big in hardware, but this is just, WOW...There's 3SLI GTX260, 3 x 1TB, Bluray WRITER!, but it doesn't even have 6gb ram!!?That's just lame. Imo maybe get raptors / SSD instead? Also, Instead of 3SLI, just get a 4870x2. You will maybe get 2-3FPS less, but instead get 6gb ram and i7 940, and I'm pretty sure that will also boost your fps.Again, I'm not a hardware pro, but I'm pretty sure my thing would be way better.+1
    Reply
  • kelfen
    except the cpu is fine because of oc
    Reply
  • kelfen
    antec twelve hundred
    Reply
  • dieseldre2k
    appreciate the article but i would drop the third HD (keep the other 2 in RAID) and use the extra money to get 6 gigs of ram instead. i'd also be wary of the scaling on 3 video cards but i dont know enough about that, plus i'm sure u guys were trying to use up all $2,500.
    Reply
  • thomasxstewart
    Lastly, GTX 295 in 3 way sli should hit 38,000 in 3D Vantage. Thats ALL Folks.


    Signed:PHYSICIAN THOMAS STEWART von DRASHEK M.D.
    Reply