Let’s begin by analyzing the synthetic benchmarks. This will set a performance expectation that we will keep in mind when comparing to actual performance.
3DMark shows us that the overclocked versions of each system usually matches and sometimes beats the stock-clocked system in the next higher value tier.
PCMark shows us some interesting data, but nothing unexpected. The hard drive test favors the RAID configurations of the sub-$2,000 and sub-$4,000 machines.
And SiSoft Sandra XII shows us some more points of interest. You can really see which synthetic benchmarks favor multiple cores, and which ones seem to be satisfied with the dual-core sub-$1,000 machine.