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System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: $600 Gaming PC

Gaming Performance Summary

Given a slightly higher budget, I specifically targeted last quarter's $500 machine's biggest weakness: threaded content creation- and productivity-oriented applications. First and foremost, however, these are supposed to be gaming machines. Do they still satisfy that role well enough?

Our first chart summarizes all tested resolutions and settings, exposing each platform’s limitations at settings we wouldn’t necessarily game at. Huge gains in F1 2012 obscure our results if we only look at average frame rates. So, we instead break down performance gains by game.

More than anything, our focus is on gaming at native resolutions, and we're guessing that most gamers now play at either 1680x1050 or 1920x1080. The following two charts cancel out the low resolutions and settings, focusing purely on the more interesting settings we’d want to use in the real world.

With the exception of F1 2012, Intel's Core i5 processor appears to do very little for gaming performance at these native resolutions. The chip's benefit is easier to see once we factor in graphics overclocking, though.

  • Proximon
    Sounds about right. Not quite the sweet spot for a budget rig, but then we don't get too many requests for $600 firm. A higher clocked i3 would have been the way to go.
    Reply
  • esrever
    I think you can fit the 7870 LE in there if you choose a cheaper mobo and went with an i3 or an AMD build.
    Reply
  • EzioAs
    As usual, love the system builder article.

    This $600 build seems nice. Personally, I would drop the optical drive, replace the Z75 board with a cheaper H77 motherboard, get a cheap 8GB (2x4GB) memory kit and a 2GB version of the Radeon HD7850. I think it's possible that it'll be between $600-610.

    That's just what I would change. This build is still nice to be honest. :)
    Reply
  • itzsnypah
    Why isn't noise a benchmark? Every build you showcase you ignore acoustics. A very noisy build should affect it's overall performance negatively, while a quiet one should affect it positively. Noise is a very important factor in Case Reviews so why isn't it a factor here?
    Reply
  • ARICH5
    noise isnt a factor in a gaming rig...thats for htcp stuff
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    10450191 said:
    Sounds about right. Not quite the sweet spot for a budget rig, but then we don't get too many requests for $600 firm. A higher clocked i3 would have been the way to go.

    That 3350P is a pretty nice CPU though. It performs at near FX-8320 levels while consuming 1/2 the power. I'd definitely use it in a low budget rig over anything else.
    Reply
  • ARICH5
    i question the longevity of a 400w psu in a build like this though
    Reply
  • slomo4sho
    The CPU budget is higher than the GPU budget for this gaming machine? I understand the desire for a 4 core processor but you could definitely have a better gaming rig by investing more in the GPU and trimming the CPU budget.
    Reply
  • slomo4sho
    arich5i question the longevity of a 400w psu in a build like this though~54%(216W) capacity when under CPU + GPU load. There shouldn't be any concern with the PSU failing under these loads.
    Reply
  • lunyone
    It would have been interesting with a 7870 GPU, like below:

    / /

    CPU: ($123.79 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: ($76.99 @ Amazon)
    Memory: ($29.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: ($49.99 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: ($209.99 @ Newegg)
    Case: ($25.98 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: ($29.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: ($17.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $564.71
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-26 02:52 EST-0500)
    But the 3350P makes things interesting when an app can benefit from more cores! I had to get a better PSU to fit the 7870 into the budget. There is also $50 in MIR's equated into the final price, so the actual price paid would be $614 out the door. I'm not sure the i3 would have been a better overall CPU, but it would have made things interesting in the gaming department :)
    Reply