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Battle Of The Boutique Behemoths: iBuyPower Vs. Maingear PC

Benchmark Results: 3D Games

Maingear breaks out of the gate with a big lead at lower resolutions for Call of Duty: World at War. However, the four-GPU configuration of iBuyPower’s dual GeForce GTX 295 graphics units powers through the tougher 2560x1600 tests. All of the results exceed monitor refresh rates, so gamers shouldn’t be able to see the difference with vsync enabled. Also notice that Maingear appears CPU-limited at low and medium resolutions, while iBuyPower's apparent CPU performance cap scales to the highest resolution.

At high details and without anti-aliasing (AA), iBuyPower’s GeForce GTX 295 configuration pushes more frames at the higher resolution while Maingear once again takes the lead at lower settings.

Even the most recent drivers are unable to resolve the long-standing performance problem of Quad SLI at 2560x1600 and 8x AA.

It’s a bad day for iBuyPower when 8x AA is enabled in FarCry 2. The 3-way GeForce GTX 285 graphics of Maingear’s system are still playable at the highest resolution and settings.

World in Conflict favors the Maingear PC, but we’re not certain this is a graphics limitation, as Maingear’s slightly higher CPU overclock appears similar to the performance difference.

Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • tacoslave
    what the hell Halo 2?
    Reply
  • johnsmithvag
    What a stupid and pointless article. Thanks again for wasting my time. Really, i mean, if i wanted to see an add i'd just look slightly to the right.
    Reply
  • sepuko
    Why do the systems have different video driver packages? You call that a fair comparison ?
    Reply
  • jonbach
    Bravo for the editor's note on page 9. I'm downright excited to see CNET and Tom's Hardware giving attention to keeping system builders honest when it comes to system reviews. In addition, I do think that in the end, most consumers value a problem free process and fast, reliable support even more than they value a few percentage points performance gain (Or am I off base here? Please comment!).

    Yet that aspect of system builders is missed by the current review process. I'd love to see even more about the ordering and support process, but you're right that would require a "secret shopper" method.

    I can't speak for all boutique builders, but I bet you would find many of us extremely receptive to any ideas you may have on how we can help mitigate the costs of a secret shopper program in a way that preserves the fairness and anonymity of the review process.

    Jon Bach
    President - Puget Systems
    http://www.pugetsystems.com
    Reply
  • speedone
    Halo 2 with Vista. i did not get Halo 2 when I bought Vista.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    sepukoWhy do the systems have different video driver packages? You call that a fair comparison ?
    That's the way they shipped them, so it's the ONLY way to run a fair comparison: NO MODIFICATIONS.

    Also notice that the system with the newest drivers lost. We tried ripping out the newer drivers and putting in the older ones: a few benchmarks lost around 0.1-1.0 FPS with the "matching" drivers, but it really wasn't worth the time to finish retesting since it only made the worst-performing system perform slightly worse than it had when it first lost. An increased loss of less than 1% (average) is still a loss and the difference isn't noteworthy.
    Reply
  • hustler539
    Wheres 1920 x 1200?
    Who buys a $4k+ system to game at 1024 x 768?
    Reply
  • Crashman
    hustler539Wheres 1920 x 1200?Who buys a $4k+ system to game at 1024 x 768?
    Who buys a $4k system to game at 1920? The 2560 results are there.
    Reply
  • ta152h
    They're ugly systems, as usual.

    If they are going to put in premium parts, why do they buy ugly cases to stick them in? When are PC makers going to put more attention into more attractive cases?

    $4,000 for an ugly brick. Whatever.
    Reply
  • neiroatopelcc
    I like seeing a silverstone chassis in there. Nice to know they ain't just tossing all the nice stuff into an average garbage bin from antec or something (like we cost concious people do).
    Reply