Page 1:Finding Value In Higher Quality
Page 2:CPU, Cooler, And Memory
Page 3:Graphics, Motherboard, And Power Supply
Page 4:Case And Drives
Page 5:Assembling Our $2000 Performance PC
Page 6:Getting Our Core i7-3930K To 4.6 GHz
Page 7:Pushing GeForce GTX 670 To Its Limit
Page 8:Test Settings And Benchmarks
Page 9:Benchmark Results: 3DMark And PCMark
Page 10:Benchmark Results: SiSoftware Sandra
Page 11:Benchmark Results: Battlefield 3 And DiRT 3
Page 12:Benchmark Results: Skyrim And StarCraft II
Page 13:Benchmark Results: Audio And Video Encoding
Page 14:Benchmark Results: Productivity
Page 15:Power, Heat, And Efficiency
Page 16:Sometimes, Lower Value Is OK
Sometimes, Lower Value Is OK
Designed specifically for gaming, last quarter's $2000 build came up a little short in CPU-dependent benchmarks. Its SSD didn't necessarily have enough capacity. And its optical drive was found lacking. Some of those hardware decisions were necessary in order to make room for its particularly expensive graphics card, while others were part of its real secret weapon: a price tag that came in 15% under budget.
This quarter, we brought back the things we gave up, consuming all of our available funds in the process. And that wouldn't have even been possible were it not for a more affordable GeForce GTX 670 from Nvidia.
Such a massive difference in pricing really hurt our value score this quarter, particularly at stock settings. Fortunately, the situation isn't quite so dire once we overclock. And we'd gladly give up 2% of our value for a much larger SSD, twice as much memory, and a Blu-ray drive that doesn't add anything to performance, but contributes the joy of watching movies in high-definition. As for the addition of two extra x86 cores, those are already factored in to the performance side of our equation.
As you can see, our value assessment is based on averages, and we're sure that running a benchmark suite optimized exclusively for six-core processors could shift our results in favor of this quarter's machine. On the other hand, it'd be a lot harder to make up for weaker gaming performance at 2560x1600, which is a consequence of stepping back to a slower graphics card.
The new machine on our test bench is a higher-quality build that's more flexible than its predecessor, but gamers don't necessarily care. Then there's the problem of power consumption; our third-quarter build uses energy at a higher rate than it boosts performance.
Nevertheless, we think that most users would be happier to own our latest effort, even though its value and efficiency take a step backward. But, given the option to combine the best parts of our two configurations, we'd mix last quarter's efficient motherboard and CPU with the other components from today's setup. That'd likely provide the best balance of power, efficiency, and value.
- Finding Value In Higher Quality
- CPU, Cooler, And Memory
- Graphics, Motherboard, And Power Supply
- Case And Drives
- Assembling Our $2000 Performance PC
- Getting Our Core i7-3930K To 4.6 GHz
- Pushing GeForce GTX 670 To Its Limit
- Test Settings And Benchmarks
- Benchmark Results: 3DMark And PCMark
- Benchmark Results: SiSoftware Sandra
- Benchmark Results: Battlefield 3 And DiRT 3
- Benchmark Results: Skyrim And StarCraft II
- Benchmark Results: Audio And Video Encoding
- Benchmark Results: Productivity
- Power, Heat, And Efficiency
- Sometimes, Lower Value Is OK