System Builder Marathon: Low-Cost System

Game Benchmarks - Real-Time Strategy

Supreme Commander shows itself to be extremely CPU bound in this benchmark, with no real movement until 4xAA is added at 1920x1200, and then only resulting in a small performance decrease. Supreme Commander is known to like multiple core CPUs and will show a solid increase even between 2 and 3 cores, so this only helps the Phenom.

The frames per second rates hover around 40 over the entire spectrum. At first this might not look promising, but SC is a real-time strategy game and not a first person shooter: it's extremely playable at this frame rate.

Finally, let's examine another real-time strategy title, and another game well known for bringing average PCs to a crawl when the details are set high: Warhammer Mark of Chaos.

This title seems pretty hard on the low-cost system, and while it is still quite playable at maximum detail due to the fact it's an RTS game, many users may want to opt for some lowered detail. This result indicates that this title is not multithread optimized like Supreme Commander, but relies on high CPU clock speeds to perform exceptionally.

  • romulus47plus1
    Paying $230 for a 3870?
    Get the 8800GT for that price!
  • Retrogame
    The $500-$700 system is more important than you realize: it's an extremely important price point in the "Consoles vs. PC wars"

    For about $500, you can buy a top of the line current generation PS3 or XBox 360 with a few accessories.

    Of course, there are always games better on one platform than the other; and naturally, your PC is a lot more versatile; i.e. it's a "REAL COMPUTER!" Even so, it's nice to know that you can actually put together a low cost machine, overclock it a smidgen, and still run this games representative of this year's crop of PC titles... and if you were to actually scale down the graphics settings to the same level that the consoles would be running things at, probably end up with better frame rates and the advantage of using a nice monitor instead of a TV.