System Builder Marathon: $625 Gaming PC

Benchmark Results: Gaming

Once again, we start with Crysis—one of the most hardware-crushing games available. It would take a far more expensive system with multiple GPUs to be playable at high resolutions and the maximum DirectX 10 at Very High settings used for our testing. Even overclocked, the $625 PC is unable to average 30 frames per second (FPS) at our lowest resolution.

Things get worse when adding even more demands to the GPU by enabling 4x AA. The HD 4850 leaves last month’s 8800 GT far behind, but still neither is even close to playable.

Let’s again look at more realistic playable settings for Crysis. At 1920x1200 medium details, the system averaged 39.00 FPS at stock and 49.77 FPS overclocked. At 1280x1024 high details, the average at stock speeds was 34.61 FPS, which rose to 42.52 FPS overclocked. Once a satisfying compromise of lowering resolution and tweaking detail settings is found, Crysis can still look great and play well on such a system.

Unlike in Crysis, very playable performance is achieved at the highest detail levels in Unreal Tournament 3. Once overclocked, we see huge gains in performance and stay well above 80 FPS at even the highest resolution leaving last month’s $500 PC far behind.

Forcing eye candy in the drivers, we see a drop in FPS due to the added strain on the GPU. But the HD 4850 still does quite well and stays over 50 FPS once overclocked, which is impressive playability for such an eye-pleasing game.

  • slomo4sho
    Very nice write up. I like the new price point :)
  • slomo4sho
    I forgot to mention that I still would like to see power consumption charts and possibly a AMD based build at this price point.
  • nerrawg
    Impressive results! Who says a system price has to adhere to budget figures of 500, 1500 and 4500 dollars, you guys really showed how much added value can be had when the right OC parts are purchased and assembled into a nice package. Well done!
  • cloudbase
    Hiya. Can you guys give a bit more detail about the 'further upgrades' you were inferring in the text of this article? So: Which P45 crossfire motherboard would have been nice; which RAM was out of stock; what would have been the benefiot of the more expensive CPU?

    Im looking to spend a similar amount, but as I already have the case, PSU etc it makes sense to explore those options.

    Presumably a 4870 would be better again?
  • radguy
    Thats a pretty awesome build thanks for the article. Although I am sorry but I have to ask. Do we have our real 4ghz dual core for $84 now?
  • jaragon13
    Sorry? What's with the comment box? I can't see what I'm typing.
    Anyways,my GTX 260 suffers on Crysis,so it's nothing new.
  • Pei-chen
    Great choice, let the AMD fan boys whiny; I would have picked the same setup if I am to build a cheap gaming PC.
  • matt2k
    Nice build for the money, though i personally would have sprung for a crossfire ready motherboard, the MSI P45 Neo2-FR for example.
    The only problem i have with this though is the operating system. surely that should be quite a major factor when creating a whole new system? and it would be nice to have the different vista's compared for gamers. i.e. is ultimate worth the bump in price for the extra's or is xp professional still the best option.
    just my thoughts.
  • zodiacfml
    Nicest article, not only you did not stick to any budget but also the parts chosen could not have been any better. This is a build i'm planning except i could have chosen a less performing 9800GT since its only in Crysis where a 4850 has a usable advantage over it.
    I am an AMD user for years but this pentium dual core overclocks so far over an athlon x2.
  • wh3resmycar
    someone from the forums was asking me months back where i can find a 4ghz e5200.. i guess this is it.