Power and Efficiency
iBuyPower gets four GPUs of graphics power through two physical cards, while Maingear’s three graphics processors are divided across three boards. Which system consumes more power?
Under a simulated full GPU load, Maingear's system consumes 16% more power than iBuyPower's system does. Higher idle power leads to iBuyPower’s 4% higher wattage under the CPU load of eight Prime95 x64 threads.
Maingear’s 14% overall performance advantage in games falls short of its 16% greater energy use for a 2% lower efficiency rating. Also remember that many of Maingear’s wins came at lower resolutions that $4,200 system buyers won’t want to use.
Maingear’s approximate 2% performance lead in encoding and productivity puts its efficiency well above iBuyPower in non-gaming applications.
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.
President - Puget Systems
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.
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.
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.