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System Builder Marathon, Q2 2013: $2500 Performance PC

I Fought The Law!

Unfortunately, the law of diminishing returns wins big in my new build, locking up any hopes for value parity. The new system generates up to 1.5 times the performance of last quarter's effort, but costs 2.5 times as much. A more accurate stock-to-stock or overclock-to-overclock comparison drops its lead to around 30%.

Productivity and games are my biggest performance priorities in a high-priced general-purpose configuration, because those are places where real-world users put their money. That is, along with expanded storage and versatility that doesn’t show up in benchmarks. I believe I succeeded in those two performance metrics though, since the previous page shows productivity up by 51% and frames-per-second by 82%, even when I included ridiculously-low resolutions that nobody with this hardware would actually run.

Higher resolutions are where the GeForce GTX 690 flexes its muscles.

Even if I compare overclocked-to-overclocked configurations, this compact little box has twice as much high-end gaming performance as my previous machine. Even as a mere 2 GB per GPU held it back in a few places, it similarly comes up just a tad short of the cheaper machine in value. I can only speculate about what great things might have happened had Asus put twice as much GDDR5 memory on its GeForce GTX 690.

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