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System Builder Marathon, Sept. 2011: $500 Gaming PC

Benchmark Results: F1 2010 And Metro 2033

F1 2010

A high clock rate, a quartet of execution cores, and possibly even lots of L3 cache helps the Phenom II X4 achieve a narrow victory at these CPU-limited quality settings. Incidentally, we've seen the six-core Thuban design really struggle in F1 2010. Meanwhile, quad-core Phenom IIs seem to handle it just fine.

Ultra quality details and 8x MSAA introduce enough of a graphical load to see the Radeon HD 6850 drop off as resolution is increased, but any one of these configurations is still capable of maxed-out 1920x1080 game play.

Metro 2033

Clear scaling by resolution indicates a graphics limitation at our lowest test settings. This quarter's PC, armed with a stock Radeon HD 6870, is just about on par with June’s best efforts with an overclocked Radeon HD 6850.

These results tell us that we picked the right settings for playing Metro 2033 on both $500 configurations.

We enable all of the candy (apart from “Advanced PhysX”) for this second test set, including the highest detail levels, 4x MSAA, and the frame rate-zapping Depth of Field (DoF) filter. These options are for the big boys; it will be ages before we can touch such cranked-up Metro 2033 settings using this low system budget.