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System Builder Marathon, Q4 2012: System Value Compared

Benchmark Results: Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of the most processor-bound gaming tests we have. So, although it might be tempting to credit AMD's graphics cards for the strong performances from our $500 and $2,000 machines, based on what we've seen in the past, it's more probably that the $1,000 build is lagging as a result of its FX-8350 CPU.

The silver lining is that the frame rates we record using the High detail preset are so high that all three machines are plenty playable. Let's crank up the settings to test for a more discernible difference.

Even with the Ultra preset and FXAA applied, all three machines continue cranking out frame rates in excess of 60. It's probable that the $500 box would have dipped under at 2560x1600, but who buys a $1,000+ monitor and a $500 PC, anyway?

So, even though it's a little embarrassing that the $1,000 box is barely able to outpace Paul's Radeon HD 7850-equipped value gamer, at the end of the day we're happy to report that all three configurations make it through Skyrim's most demanding settings unscathed.

Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.