System Builder Marathon: $625 Gaming PC

Benchmark Results: World In Conflict And Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance

3D Games: World In Conflict, Supreme Commander Forged Alliance

Clearly, World in Conflict is mostly CPU-limited, so even though our January/February PC is paired with a more powerful graphics card, it loses to last month’s system. At stock speeds, the E5200 totally fails to impress.

Overclocking brings the two systems about dead even, with just a single FPS separating them at our highest resolution. 

By enabling 4x AA and 16x AF we start to see a benefit from our GPU upgrade. If you ever doubted that overclocking a processor could make for a better gaming experience, take notice in this real-time strategy title of the 13% higher frame rates at 1920x1200 with 4xAA/16xAF when overclocked vs. 1280x1024 without AA and AF when not overclocked.       

Last month, there was a slight boost at stock speeds with our more-powerful CPU. This month we see how much larger gains can be achieved with a GPU upgrade. It looks like we still need to set our sights on a more powerful GPU to reach 30 FPS at these maxed-out settings.

With 4xAA enabled, results are, as expected, far worse. Just as we saw at 1920x1200 without AA, the added GPU demands of AA pretty much remove the benefit of overclocking our E5200 CPU. That’s not to say Forged Alliance doesn’t require a hefty CPU, but in this case a lack of GPU power is preventing us from seeing any CPU scaling. Comparing the system to last month's build, a 2 FPS boost is a meaningless victory when average frame rates remain under 20 FPS.

  • xx12amanxx
    Yeah Games are definatly more GPU bound than CPU bound at this time.But what about the user who decodes? Next month might be a good time to intro the new am3 triple core seeing as its being sodl for around 150$ and has been seen Oced up to 1ghz over stock.
  • As I read this review I wonder, why this is only server I know that provides such a throughout testing and evaluation of OC benefit...
  • nerrawg
    Nice article guys, like how you seem squeeze the value out of the builds, definitely a good choice of build! My only question is one of personal interest, I wonder if disregarding the set price of $625, a crossfire set up of 2 4830s would give more bang for the buck in gaming then 1 4870? Of course as you have shown it would depend on the cpu, I was thinking around 4 Ghz on a dual core and 4 gigs ram. I am wondering because 2 x 4830 can be had for as little as $170-180 now, and thats pretty awesome.
  • nerrawg
    Looking at the "Radeon HD 4830: High-Speed, Cheap CrossFire" article the results look fairly similar to that seen from this build, with maybe some very small gains in Supreme commander and crysis, while World in Conflict appears to due better on this newer january build. However the 4830 CF was on a test bed without an OC'ed cpu and without overclocking the 4830's, hence my curiosity to know if doing this would significantly increase performance and value over the single 4870?
  • StupidRabbit
    great article as always.. but what happened to the international builder marathon?
  • jv_acabal
    $43 difference bang for the buck. How about in the long run? Sure you'll be paying more than 43 bucks for the electricity bill. I think January's build is better. It might be slower than this month's build but is still very playable at most games.
  • maxwellsmart_80
    Why do you keep building the same system (practically) over and over again?

    It would have been awesome to see a system based on the Phenom II X3 "700 Series" at this price point....especially paired w/ the ATI 4830 or 4850. Dont'cha think a 4870 is a tad much for a "$625 system?" - you would have had a "Dragon Platform" - very doable at your price range. You wouldn't have had to do DDR3 either - DDR2 would have worked quite nicely.
  • cangelini
    StupidRabbitgreat article as always.. but what happened to the international builder marathon?
    International competition is in edits--almost ready to go live! Interesting results there, too.
  • Onus
    Excellent article. I think this was a good build.
    That Rosewill case (and all their cheap ones like it) will take a front mounted 120mm fan. You had $6 left over, so it would have fit in your budget.
  • jcknouse
    THG Staff note:Here are links to each of the four articles in this month’s System Builder Marathon...
    I hate being picky...but...

    The links aren't imbedded in those 4 article designations at the top of the article, as of the writing of this note.