System Builder Marathon: Low-Cost System

Synthetic Benchmarks

We start with the customary 3dMark 2006 benchmark from Futuremark, the de-facto standard synthetic benchmark for gaming:

3dMark 2006 gives us good reason to be optimistic. These scores are nothing to scoff at for a low-cost build, and the system doesn't fall on its face at high resolutions. It even scales well to 1920x1200 with no AA or AF enabled, although when these features are turned on it does struggle a bit at the highest resolutions.

Let's have a look at Futuremark's other well-known benchmark, PC Mark 2005, which benchmarks other aspects of PC performance in addition to graphics:

These results are particularly difficult to speak to in isolation, but we can say that we've personally seen more expensive systems deliver similar results.

Let's move on to SiSoft's Sandra XII benchmark suite:

Like PC Mark, Sandra results don't look like much by themselves. These will be much more impactful when compared to the other test systems later in the week.

With synthetics out of the way, let's cover the application benchmarks.

  • 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.