We're not expecting to see much of an improvement from the extra 200MHz CPU clock in the CPU-based benchmarks, however we should see a nice improvement in the graphics benchmarks thanks to the new R9 380 GPU.
As expected, we see a modest bump in CPU performance, and an even more pronounced increase from the GPU. Interestingly enough, we actually manage to come close to the $1,600 gaming PC in the PCMark 8 Work and Home benchmarks and even manage to exceed that PC in the Storage benchmark. However, since the storage benchmark is well within the three percent margin of error, I can’t exactly call it a victory. In the rest of the synthetics, the results return to more of what we would expect.
In any case, my build either meets or exceeds the Q1 2015 computer in all of the synthetic benchmarks.
It's a bit trickier to compare the gaming benchmarks with each other because the other two builds each lack a different video resolution from their test results. Still, it shouldn't be all that hard to see the effects of the new hardware.
Overall, we see only a mediocre improvement in frame rates compared to the Q1 build. In most cases, the extra frames aren't going to make much of a difference, especially at low settings. At the very least, the extra graphics power does get us back up to playable framerates at the wider resolutions, like 4800x900 and 5760x1080. As expected, there's a very clear difference between this quarter's build and last quarter's $1,600 build.
Shorter times are better in all of our applications tested below. All of the single-threaded applications benefit from the modest increase in clock speed on our new Core i3. The multi-threaded applications also enjoy the benefits of the higher clock speed, though to a lesser extent because the number of cores and threads remains the same.
Again, we see this quarter's build perform slightly better than the Q1 2015 build thanks to the better hardware, but it falls short of the $1,600 gaming build. Interestingly enough, the 3ds Max benchmark sees a significant increase in performance due to the effects of the new R9 380 graphics card.
Power & Heat
Idle power consumption on this quarter's build sees a bit of improvement thanks to the power-saving features built into the R9 380 GPU. Oddly enough, although this build uses less power than the Q1 build in the individual load tests, it uses more power in the combined tests. With the 500W power supply, this system should have more than enough power for an additional graphics card in the future.
The upgraded CPU cooler helps to keep the temperatures lower during the CPU load tests, but overall, the two budget systems are mostly the same. For reference, the ambient temperature for my tests was maintained at 26 degrees Celsius (78.8 degrees Fahrenheit).