Power, Heat, Efficiency And Value
Though the new build’s six-core CPU and quad-channel memory require more energy while idle, the high-end graphics solutions of previous builds pushed their peak power consumption sky high. Even with its 650W power supply, the new system has more than enough power in reserve for future SLI upgrades.
Heat numbers are good for the graphics card and bad for the CPU. We have experience with this CPU cooler and, reasoning that a fan upgrade might cost more than an upgrade to a better cooler, are opening up the discussion to our readers. What “better” CPU cooler would you buy for $50 or less?
Thanks primarily to performance gains in professional applications, the new $1600 machine provides far more performance-per-dollar than its predecessor. On the other hand, the performance of some games was artificially capped at our lower test settings, with things such as Battlefield 4’s 200FPS limit limiting the overall gaming performance gains available to previous graphics-heavy machines. Suggested long ago by a former colleague, a chart of performance-per-dollar at our highest gaming test resolution better-represents the value of top graphics configurations.
The Q1 build’s GTX 970s in SLI look like the killer configuration for high-resolution gaming, though I’ve seen benchmarks showing that a similarly-priced R9 290X CrossFire configuration is more suitable at 4K. Either way, the weaker single GTX 970 appeared best suited to 4800x900 at the quality limits of most games, which is far short of 4K.
Not that I mind gaming at 4800x900. In fact, today’s PC follows the same building strategy I’ve used since my University experience, where I was able to perform the same professional tasks from my apartment that required my classmates to return to the computer lab, and have some gaming fun in my off-time. Right, wrong or just different, I’ll take today’s overall value win as a step in the right direction until an onslaught of readers tell me otherwise.