Following a flurry of CPU reviews, it’s not surprising to see the current $2000 build’s Core i7-2600K wiping the floor with the previous build’s Core i7-950 performance numbers. Likewise, few would be surprised to see the new CPU exhibit higher overclocking and lower power numbers, so the only real point in this exercise is to see how much we gained in performance, efficiency, and value.
While some of that data was revealed on the previous page, a breakdown of individual test suites could provide the additional information builders will need before making their purchase decision.
From the above chart, it appears that our upgrade from the previous build’s dual Radeon HD 6870s to the new system’s dual 6950s is money well spent, with a gaming boost of around 20%. Yet, some of that gaming capability came courtesy of a processor that performs 18% better at stock speed and 30% better when both systems are overclocked. Best of all, these remarkable gains only cost us a modest 3% premium on our build.
A big performance increase at a small cost increase sets the current build up for an enormous value win. Starting with an 8% value lead at stock settings, its advantage climbs to 12% when both systems are overclocked. Disabling C-States pushes the current build’s lead even further by boosting drive performance, though we prefer the long-term energy, heat, and “wear” savings that can be achieved by leaving the integrated clock and voltage management feature enabled.
Finally, there’s the matter of why someone would really want this much graphics power. While our System Builder Marathon doesn’t focus on Eyefinity and Surround gaming, a resolution of 2560x1600 has only a few more pixels than the Eyefinity baseline of 3 x 1280x1024. What happens when we narrow our focus down to that high resolution?
At 2560x1600, even the current baseline is able to exceed the capabilities of the previous overclocked build. We’re really doing this system an injustice by testing it at anything less than 2560x1600, but the other scores will be needed in order to compare the lower-priced builds in our final value analysis.