System Builder Marathon Q4 2015: System Value Compared

Three builders with practically unlimited budgets compete for best performance-per-dollar across our multi-faceted benchmark suite. Which build will win?

Introduction & Q4 2015 Build Lineup

System Builder Marathon Q4 2015

Here are links to each of the five articles in this quarter’s System Builder Marathon (we’ll update them as each story is published). And remember, these systems are all being given away at the end of the marathon.

To enter the giveaway, please fill out this SurveyGizmo form, and be sure to read the complete rules before entering!

  1. $1184 Gaming PC
  2. $1055 Prosumer PC
  3. $895 LAN Box PC
  4. System Value Compared
  5. $912 AMD LAN Box PC

System Value Compared

Performance remains a key component of the performance-per-price equation we call “Value”. Last quarter, we tried to squeeze as many high-performance parts into our $800 builds as possible, and every machine failed to provide convincing numbers due to the inadequacies of other components. My Prosumer PC sacrificed graphics power to pay for a better CPU, Eric’s Mini Gaming PC sacrificed CPU capability to pay for more graphics power, and Chris’ Gaming PC sacrificed a little of both to get a better performance balance across the complete benchmark set. Comparing results, we decided that $800 wasn’t enough to satisfy even the most frugal of performance enthusiasts. Cutting down to $650 or so might get us better value in an economy PC, but the extra $150 was just tempting us with high-end parts that other components couldn’t keep up with.

This time around, we spent more money to fix the performance shortcomings of each machine, with Chris taking the lead at $1184. That’s barely below the bottom of the high-end market, but it’s also pretty tough to find any low-end components on his list. Eric stuck closer to home in his $895 expenditure, yet departed completely from his previous AMD platform.

Q4 SBM Components List
 Chris' $1184 Gaming PCThomas' $1055 Prosumer PCEric's $895 "LAN Box" PC
ProcessorIntel Core i5-6600K: 3.5GHz-3.9GHz, Four Cores, 6 MB CacheIntel Core i5-6600K: 3.5GHz-3.9GHz, Four Cores, 6 MB CacheIntel i3-4170: 3.7 GHz, Two Cores, 3 MB L3 Cache
GraphicsPowerColor PCS+ AXR9 390 8GBD5-PPDHE Radeon R9 390 8GBAsus TURBO-GTX970-OC-4GD5 GeForce GTX 970 4GB Asus TURBO-GTX970-OC-4GD5 GeForce GTX 970 4GB 
MotherboardGigabyte GA-Z170XP-SLI: LGA 1151,  Intel Z170, ATXGigabyte Z170M-DH3: LGA 1151,  Intel Z170, MicroATXASRock H97M-ITX/ac: LGA 1150, Intel H97, Mini ITX
MemoryGigabyte GA-Z170XP-SLI: LGA 1151,  Intel Z170, ATXPNY MD16GK2D4240015AR: DDR4-2400 C15, 16GB (2 x 8GB) Crucial BLS2K4G3D169DS1J: DDR3-1600 C9, 8GB (2 x 4GB)
System DriveSamsung 850 EVO MZ-75E250B/AM 250GB SATA 6Gb/s 2.5" SSDSAMSUNG 850 EVO MZ-N5E250BW 250GB SATA 6Gb/s M.2 SSDSamsung 850 EVO MZ-75E250B/AM 250GB SATA 6Gb/s 2.5" SSD
PowerEVGA 220-GS-0650-V1 650W Modular, 80 PLUS GoldSeaSonic SS-400ET: 400W Non-Modular,  80 PLUS BronzeSeaSonic M12II 620 Bronze 620W  Full Modular 80 PLUS Bronze
CPU CoolerCooler Master Hyper 212 EvoCooler Master Hyper T4Core i3-4170 Included Cooler
Platform Cost$926 $915 $680
Storage DriveSeagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB 7200 RPM Hard DriveUses System DriveWD Caviar Blue WD10EZEX 3.5" 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache HDD
OpticalAsus DRW-24F1ST 24x DVD±RNoneAsus SDRW-08D2S-U 24X DVD±R
CaseCorsair Carbide SPEC-03 ATXDIYPC MA01-G Black MicroATXThermaltake Core V1
 Total Hardware $1,064 $935 $795
OSWindows 10 Home USB PackWindows 10 Home USB PackWindows 10 x64 OEM
 Complete System $1,184 $1,055 $895

Similarities between certain components are neither coincidental nor collaborative, except for the expected collaboration between readers and writers. Readers of last quarter’s System Builder Marathon recommended that my replacement machine receive the graphics from Eric’s previous machine and the SSD from Chris’, and so it has. As those were also the best components of Eric’s and Chris’ previous builds, they felt no obligation to replace these. Each of us also tried our hand at overclocking, though Eric’s CPU and motherboard were “locked”.

Test Hardware Configurations
 Chris' $1184 Gaming PCThomas' $1055 Prosumer PCEric's $895 "LAN Box" PC
Processor
(Overclock)
Intel Core i5-6600K: 3.50 GHz -
3.90 GHz, Four Physical Cores
O/C to 4.6GHz, 1.39V
Intel Core i5-6600K: 3.50 GHz -
3.90 GHz, Four Physical Cores
O/C to 4.5GHz, 1.30V
Intel i3-4170: 3.7 GHz, Dual-Core with Hyper-Threading
Graphics
(Overclock)
PowerColor Radeon R9 390: <1010MHz Core, 1500MHz Memory O/C to <1155MHz Core, 1740MHz MemoryAsus GeForce GTX 970: <1228MHz GPU, GDDR5-7010 O/C to <1390MHz, GDDR5-7880Asus GeForce GTX 970: <1228MHz GPU, GDDR5-7010 O/C to <1400MHz, GDDR5-7410
Memory
(Overclock)
8GB G.Skill DDR4-2400 CAS 15-15-15-35, O/C to DDR4-2800 CL 13-13-13-28, 1.34V16GB PNY DDR4-2400 CAS 15-15-15-35, O/C to DDR4-2666 CL 14-14-14-28, 1.24V8GB Crucial DDR3-1600 CAS 9-9-9-24, O/C to DDR3-1600 8-8-8-24, 1.5V
Motherboard
(Overclock)
Gigabyte GA-Z170XP-SLI: LGA 1151, Intel Z170 Stock ClocksGigabyte Z170M-DH3: LGA 1151, Intel Z170 Stock ClocksASRock H97M-ITX/ac: LGA 1150, Intel H97 Stock Clocks
CaseCorsair SPEC-03DIYPC MA01-GThermaltake Core V1
CPU CoolerCooler Master Hyper 212 EvoCooler Master Hyper T4Core i3-4170 Included Cooler
Hard DriveSamsung 850 Evo 250GB SATA 6Gb/s 2.5" SSDSamsung 850 Evo 250GB SATA 6Gb/s M.2 SSDSamsung 850 Evo 250GB 2.5" SSD
PowerEVGA 220-GS-0650-V1: 650W, 80 PLUS GoldSeaSonic SS-400ET: 400W, 80 PLUS BronzeSeasonic M12II Bronze 620W
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 8.1 Pro x64Microsoft Windows 8 Pro x64Microsoft Windows 8 Pro x64
GraphicsAMD Crimson 15.11Nvidia GeForce 359.06Nvidia GeForce 359.06
ChipsetIntel INF 10.1.1Intel INF 10.1.1Intel INF 10.0.0.27

I’ve only been using 1.30V to overclock Haswell CPUs, but I have no problem with the 1.39V setting Chris used to gain a 100MHz overclocking advantage. This is a competition after all, and he hasn’t shown any evidence of his CPU overheating. Real-world users must decide for themselves if the small boost in performance is worth the moderate increase in power consumption.

With the hardware set up, we’re ready to see how these machines run!

How We Test & Results

We’re still finishing development of our Windows 10 test suite, so this quarter we're still using our legacy Windows 8 benchmark set.

Benchmark Settings
3D Games
Battlefield 4Version 1.0.0.1, DirectX 11, 100-sec. Fraps "Tashgar"
Test Set 1: Medium Quality Preset, No AA, 4X AF, SSAO
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset,  4X MSAA, 16X AF, HBAO
Grid 2 Version 1.0.85.8679, Direct X 11, Built-in Benchmark
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality, 8x MSAA
Arma 3Version 1.08.113494, 30-Sec. Fraps "Infantry Showcase"
Test Set 1: Standard Preset, No AA, Standard AF
Test Set 2: Ultra Preset, 8x FSAA, Ultra AF
Far Cry 3 V. 1.04, DirectX 11, 50-sec. Fraps "Amanaki Outpost"
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA, Standard ATC, SSAO
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality, 4x MSAA, Enhanced ATC, HDAO
Adobe Creative Suite
Adobe After Effects CCVersion 12.0.0.404: Create Video which includes 3 Streams, 210 Frames, Render Multiple Frames Simultaneosly
Adobe Photoshop CCVersion 14.0 x64: Filter 15.7MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Adobe Premeire Pro CCVersion 7.0.0 (342), 6.61 GB MXF Project to H.264 to H.264 Blu-ray, Output 1920x1080, Maximum Quality
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunesVersion 11.0.4.4 x64: Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 minutes, default AAC format 
Lame MP3Version 3.98.3: Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min, convert WAV to MP3 audio format, Command: -b 160 --nores (160 kb/s)
Handbrake CLIVersion: 0.99: Video from Canon Eos 7D (1920x1080, 25 FPS) 1 Minutes 22 Seconds
Audio: PCM-S16, 48000 Hz, 2-Channel, to Video: AVC1 Audio: AAC (High Profile)
TotalCodeStudio 2.5Version: 2.5.0.10677: MPEG-2 to H.264, MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2), Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 kb/s), Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV
Productivity
ABBYY FineReaderVersion 10.0.102.95: Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
Adobe Acrobat 11Version 11.0.0.379: Print PDF from 115 Page PowerPoint, 128-bit RC4 Encryption
Autodesk 3ds Max 2013Version 15.0 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, 248 Frames, 1440x1080
BlenderVersion: 2.68A, Cycles Engine, Syntax blender -b thg.blend -f 1, 1920x1080, 8x Anti-Aliasing, Render THG.blend frame 1
File Compression
WinZipVersion 18.0 Pro: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to ZIP, command line switches "-a -ez -p -r"
WinRARVersion 5.0: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"
7-ZipVersion 9.30 alpha (64-bit): THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5"
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark ProfessionalVersion: 1.2.250.0 (64-bit), Fire Strike Benchmark
PCMark 8Version: 1.0.0 x64, Full Test
SiSoftware SandraVersion 2014.02.20.10, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / Multimedia / Cryptography, Memory Bandwidth Benchmarks

Synthetics

Chris gets top position in the charts this time, because we expect the most expensive computer to have the highest performance. The pressure to start out on top pays off in 3DMark and PCMark, but can his machine stay on top?

My $1055 dual-purpose Prosumer PC catches Chris’ machine in Sandra’s CPU tests, but only at stock speed. Chris overclocks his CPU 100MHz higher, while I was able to squeeze out a little more memory bandwidth.

Gaming

Eric and I use the same graphics card, but my CPU appears to have a slight gaming advantage when using single-monitor resolutions. Some games also respond to better memory performance, and I have a lead there as well. Is Eric’s $895 machine trending towards a top-resolution-only value win?

Using the same CPU as my $1050 machine, Chris’ Radeon R9 390 performs similarly to my GTX 970. The R9 390 does fall significantly behind at Arma 3’s Standard quality, but stages a comeback in triple-monitor Battlefield 4 tests.

The $1184 machine’s loss in Far Cry 3’s High quality single-monitor resolutions appear to point towards the legendary impact of Radeon graphics on CPU performance. More evidence comes from Eric’s mediocre scores at those same settings, since he has the same graphics card (but a weaker CPU compared to the $1055 PC).

Applications

The dual-core CPU of Eric’s $895 build loses badly to the quad-core chips in multi-threaded applications, but performs adequately in single-threaded audio encoding. Meanwhile, our Adobe After Effects workload shows that it really needs the extra RAM of my $1055 PC by punishing Chris’ otherwise-similar $1184 gamer.

Adobe Photoshop OpenCL filters treat us to a wide range of configuration data points, preferring my GTX 970 to Chris’ R9 390 and my faster CPU to Eric’s slower model.

Power, Heat & Efficiency

At stock settings, Chris’ CPU uses much less load power than my identical CPU, even though my entire machine has lower idle energy draw than his. Rather than confirm that his Prime95 configuration had both four threads and small FFTs, I’ll hand him a small concession. After all, his GPU load and combined load numbers are terrible.

Even without asking Chris to retest his CPU load wattage, our efficiency chart hands my $1055 machine an enormous “green” victory.

Value & Conclusion

My build takes top honors in the overall value chart for the third quarter in a row, but it’s only the second time I’ve competed against Chris and Eric, but we can see these guys sneaking up, so my future as a builder may not be as triumphant.

Moreover, Eric saved $20 on his OS by getting the download version, then spent an extra $4.46 on a thumb drive to allow him to send the OS to the winner without requiring the winner to download it a second time. And he didn’t even include the price of the thumb drive in his build. But he’s not the worst offender.

You see, I was the only builder who didn’t include an adequate amount of storage space. Both Eric and Chris added 1TB hard drives to theirs, even though secondary storage doesn’t put any points into the performance analysis. To top it off, I used a $20 case. Platform price-to-performance is really the only fair way to compare the value of these machines, since Eric and I scratched $20 and $100 off what we should have respectively paid if we wanted to put all three builds in the same class.

When we compare these machines fairly, my 99% baseline (of the total average) value is a dead match to Eric’s. Only by overclocking am I able to retain my victory against a system with a locked CPU. And that is fair, because the extra amount I paid for overclocking capability is in the calculation.

If we only look at the 5760x1080 tests, Eric proves that he’s the only builder with top gaming value. Chris’ gaming machine even falls behind my own dual-purpose build, but that’s because it’s actually a slightly more expensive dual-purpose build in spite of its name.

Nobody ever said that every System Builder Marathon needed to be a fair competition. We could all be building for different purposes, and at different prices, as we were a year ago. The Platform Performance Value chart shows that my competitors are quickly progressing towards best-overall-value victories, and the final chart shows that Eric nailed his gaming-value theme.

Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware, covering Cases, Cooling, Memory and Motherboards. Follow him on Twitter.

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30 comments
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  • Onus
    I like all three of these machines. Any changes I'd make would be niggles, and mostly a matter of scale. I'd be happy to win any of them, and would probably do some minor mixing and matching with what I already have.
    For all of them, I'd upgrade the SSD to 500GB just because I can.
    I'd pull the power-scarfing R9 390 out of the gaming PC, put in my GTX970, and probably add another drive for a RAID1 pair. I'm not anti-AMD, but another 200W+ under load is a horrific waste. I really hope AMD can get back in the low-power competition; the HD4670, HD5670, HD6670, and HD7750 were all amazing cards for how little power they used.
    The prosumer machine would get a RAID1 pair of drives added.
    The LAN box is actually a tough call. I could just add one more drive to it also, but I'd be sorely tempted to put a H170 mITX board and Skylake i3 in it instead, if only because those are available to me. I would not need to though; it's an excellent machine as it is.
  • Crashman
    47340 said:
    I like all three of these machines.
    Maybe that's why the individual builds are still generating feedback and the 3-way comparison isn't :)
  • RedJaron
    The Windows I bought for my build isn't download only. It's on a DVD with the rest of my parts. I threw in the USB drive so the winner wouldn't have to install Windows over a USB 2.0 ODD.

    That said, I really thought I had a shot at the value win when I saw you two spending $200 more than me. Skylake's better memory bandwidth makes a big difference. We may need to re-visit memory bandwidth in gaming because I'm pretty sure I saw mine get affected with the machines I built this time.

    But I shot-myself in the foot by limiting what I could build last quarter. There's only so many ways you can take a LAN box. A general purpose PC would've been wide open for value oriented changes and improvements. If I get a shot next quarter, I may well game the system to make something designed to win value. That actually could be an interesting experiment. Would a machine purpose built for value alone still provide enough pure performance to satisfy an end user?
  • Crashman
    570460 said:
    The Windows I bought for my build isn't download only. It's on a DVD with the rest of my parts. I threw in the USB drive so the winner wouldn't have to install Windows over a USB 2.0 ODD. That said, I really thought I had a shot at the value win when I saw you two spending $200 more than me. Skylake's better memory bandwidth makes a big difference. We may need to re-visit memory bandwidth in gaming because I'm pretty sure I saw mine get affected with the machines I built this time. But I shot-myself in the foot by limiting what I could build last quarter. There's only so many ways you can take a LAN box. A general purpose PC would've been wide open for value oriented changes and improvements. If I get a shot next quarter, I may well game the system to make something designed to win value. That actually could be an interesting experiment. Would a machine purpose built for value alone still provide enough pure performance to satisfy an end user?
    Dude, isn't it enough to tie me at stock speed? I mean, I spent the OC money to OC right? I'd better get some advantage from it!

    Sorry about the DVD thing, Newegg isn't actually telling me that the Win10 package you bought comes with media.
  • RedJaron
    Well, no, like you said, part of your cost was the ability to overclock. If you didn't use that, it's like paying for a dGPU but not installing it. You were right, that is a fair comparison. I lost.
  • Onus
    It's great to get a high bang/buck, but you still need some minimum amount of "bang" to be useful. Those with 144Hz monitors will disagree, but for mainstream 1080p gaming, counting FPS over 60 as no better than 60 might hand that value win to a GTX950.
  • Crashman
    570460 said:
    Well, no, like you said, part of your cost was the ability to overclock. If you didn't use that, it's like paying for a dGPU but not installing it. You were right, that is a fair comparison. I lost.
    Yes, and your climb rate means next time you'll probably win. But I have a plan:

    I CAN'T win if I spend big, so how about next time we give me a big somewhat-specific budget where I'm required to spend most of the money, and likewise an excuse not to win? Then I'd basically be putting all my O/C effort in to reach 80-90 percent of your score :-D

    These head-to-heads are brutal, I don't want anyone to lose the value competition unless they have an excuse such as "chasing better quality and more user-friendly features."
  • Onus
    Make it more brutal; cut the budgets down to $550-$600.
  • Crashman
    47340 said:
    Make it more brutal; cut the budgets down to $550-$600.
    Remember Paul? We figured out that you can find perfect performance-value around $600, and that the closer you got to $800 by trying to cram in performance parts, the more the rest of the system held you back. That you had to keep upgrading the rest of the system until you reached balance, before you'd get the value score back up at a higher performance level. And that the second value zenith was around $1100.

    People want to see $800 builds, but we knew long ago that everything between $650 and $1050 was a "dead zone".

    Did this experience with Paul give me an unfair advantage? It depends on what you consider fair. I would have used this CPU anyway, and a $250 to $320 graphics card, so my path was set without consideration of the final price. Fortunately, reader feedback on the Q3 SBM meant that I didn't need to pick the graphics card, they did it for me.
  • RedJaron
    Well, if we're all at that magical $600 range, then it could be interesting to see who can find the best balance. Granted, at that price range, are we each going to end up with near identical builds due to us chasing the same sales? I wouldn't mind going after something a little more simple.
  • Crashman
    570460 said:
    Well, if we're all at that magical $600 range, then it could be interesting to see who can find the best balance. Granted, at that price range, are we each going to end up with near identical builds due to us chasing the same sales? I wouldn't mind going after something a little more simple.
    TBH, I find anything less than a $1200 PC repulsive :D I mean, if I added the HDD and upgraded the case, my $1055 machine would be there.
  • iam2thecrowe
    This was an interesting article, good job, a bit different for a change. Something I'd like to see in the future and some common questions that are always in the forums:
    1. "I have $xxxx budget, is this a good build?". Everyone knows an i5 + gtx970 or r9 390 is the bread and butter combo. Maybe try a budget above and below, and try some different things, like socket 2011 and overclocked i3......
    I'd also like to see
    2. "What is the lowest possible budget to get something that is capable of gaming?" Set a bottom target of say 30fps medium details, 1080p res, (if your not going to get at least console level of detail then why bother right?) and try do it for as cheap as possible. 3 builds, one has to have an AMD cpu and no dual core (without HT) cpu's as I don't believe they are really a good gaming cpu, especially with large multiplayer maps which don't get bench-marked.
    3. Premium builds, 144hz max fps target and play-ability @ 1440p and 4k targets.
  • Onus
    I'd like to see #2 done myself, perhaps going for 40FPS average though (30FPS minimum would be good too).
    #1 is a little like past SBM cycles, but there were often lessons there too.
    #3 strikes me as mental masturbation; reminiscent of some of the troll threads we shut down from time to time.
  • iam2thecrowe
    47340 said:
    I'd like to see #2 done myself, perhaps going for 40FPS average though (30FPS minimum would be good too). #1 is a little like past SBM cycles, but there were often lessons there too. #3 strikes me as mental masturbation; reminiscent of some of the troll threads we shut down from time to time.


    Yes, I was thinking a 30fps minimum target, not an average. 40-45fps average is probably a decent target at medium detail settings. Sure you may get random dips in some games down to 20-25fps, but so long as its not like this for extended periods. You could take that 144hz idea, maybe turn it into "competitive gaming build", and forgo the 1440/4k builds, it's something that has never really been looked into before. But yeah its a narrower target audience. Just trying to think outside the box a little, put some more fresh ideas out there.
  • RedJaron
    If we're doing a gaming centered theme, forcing one builder to use an AMD CPU puts them at a handicap. Arma likes Intel's uArch too much and Grid wants memory bandwidth, and AMD is very behind in that regard. I wouldn't mind doing a barrel bottom gaming theme. So long as I don't need to build ITX for a while, I'm up for just about anything. I wonder if people would be interested to see something maybe more on the professional side. Eight threads and 16GB RAM minimum to go for tops in the real-world app benches and not worry about games so much ( or maybe completely drop them altogether for a quarter ).
  • cknobman
    Count me in for wanting to see a shootout of iam2thecrowe #2 option.
    That is something I bet a lot of people would like to see.
    I just had a discussion with my little sister about the same topic as she is trying to build a 1080p gaming rig for under $800.
  • iam2thecrowe
    570460 said:
    If we're doing a gaming centered theme, forcing one builder to use an AMD CPU puts them at a handicap. Arma likes Intel's uArch too much and Grid wants memory bandwidth, and AMD is very behind in that regard. I wouldn't mind doing a barrel bottom gaming theme. So long as I don't need to build ITX for a while, I'm up for just about anything. I wonder if people would be interested to see something maybe more on the professional side. Eight threads and 16GB RAM minimum to go for tops in the real-world app benches and not worry about games so much ( or maybe completely drop them altogether for a quarter ).


    That's a good idea. A "Tools of the trade" build. Maybe purpose build rigs, one for video editing/rendering, 3d rendering, CAD, Adobe suite etc. Maybe add a Mac into the testing as that is one of staples of people in these industries.
  • RedJaron
    59464 said:
    I just had a discussion with my little sister about the same topic as she is trying to build a 1080p gaming rig for under $800.

    You can easily do a 1440p rig for $800, if you're only worried about gaming. A reasonable 1080p machine can be done for $600 as long as med-high details are okay. $700 will get you ultra details.


    388413 said:
    That's a good idea. A "Tools of the trade" build. Maybe purpose build rigs, one for video editing/rendering, 3d rendering, CAD, Adobe suite etc. Maybe add a Mac into the testing as that is one of staples of people in these industries.

    A Mac runs off mostly the same hardware as a Windows machine, but the software and OS are different, which renders direct bench comparisons dubious. Most people who work on Macs today do so out of tradition or company policy, not because it's the only platform available for their workload.
  • Onus
    A SBM cycle that forgoes gaming would be interesting. You might toss in a gaming benchmark or two just as a viability test,, but not have it affect the final score in any way.
  • cmiconi
    At this point, I think that chasing the value benchmark every quarter is getting at bit monotonous. By now, I think we’ve pretty much demonstrated where the sweet spot is for getting the best performance-per-dollar value for a given build theme. The only time that might change significantly is when new hardware comes out.

    I’d like to see more of a shift towards more experimental builds, like a true workstation computer with a Xeon CPU, Quadro GPU, and some sort of RAID setup. It would be nice to see how that set of hardware performs in our benchmarks compared to the other builds.

    Thoughts?
  • Onus
    Experiments are good; that's where new "data points" are generated and lessons learned.
  • RedJaron
    I'd like to think my last few builds have been rather experimental. The response to them has been all over the place.
  • cmiconi
    Quote:
    I'd like to think my last few builds have been rather experimental. The response to them has been all over the place.


    Indeed, and they've also provided some very useful data.
  • Onus
    Yes, and I think Munchkin 3.0 settles the APU vs. i3 debate until AMD issues something new.