Skip to main content

System Builder Marathon, Dec. 2009: System Value Compared

Benchmark Results: Far Cry 2

The nice thing about benchmarking Far Cry 2 is its ability to separate serious machines from toys. Boosted by its dual Radeon HD 4870 graphics cards, can the otherwise vulnerable $700 system stand its ground?

At Very High quality (but without AA), the $700 machine doesn’t even need overclocking to play Far Cry 2 at an impressive 2560x1600, its flat performance scaling indicating a significant CPU limitation that’s still above our minimum standards. The $1,300 PC's performance is equally impressive at the high-end, its overclocked Radeon HD 5850 graphics cards oddly beating the $2,500 system’s Radeon HD 5870s at 2560x1600 pixels.

Perhaps the $1,300 system’s advantage is in the CPU? Don’s overclock retained Intel Turbo Boost technology, while the $2,500 PC did not. Turbo Boost is a technology that’s capable of achieving much higher clock speeds when only one or two cores are busy.

Ultra High Quality and 4x AA doesn’t completely kill the $700 PC either, as its overclocked variation reaches playability at 1920x1200 pixels.

  • DarkMantle
    Great conclusion Thomas, good System Building Marathon overall. My only wish is to see something with an AMD processor next time, specially on the market segment where they shine.
    Reply
  • shubham1401
    I am really impressed by the performance of $1300 PC.

    It came so close to the $2500 PC without breaking the bank.
    Simply awesome!!
    Reply
  • noob2222
    typo on the last page, overclocked $650, not sure if that was the value used in the chart, might check that also.
    Reply
  • ibnsina
    Good conclusions..

    This article can get more interesting if you add previous systems data to the charts.
    Reply
  • erdinger
    Yes the previous systems would have been really nice to compare, espacially in the conclusion.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    ibnsinaGood conclusions..This article can get more interesting if you add previous systems data to the charts.
    Sorry, but that wouldn't be fair. First of all, September's systems used different benchmarks, settings, and OS. Second, September's systems used both AMD graphics that pre-date these, plus AMD processors, and people would have used the older graphics as an excuse to beat up on the CPU. AMD fans would have gone nuts as well, claiming the authors were trying to use the superior graphics of this SBM to skew readers against AMD. Tom's isn't interested in publishing invalid results or creating fake controversy.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    psycho sykesA question..Does those come with Windows 7 installed? Or they won't be real 700-1300-2500 machines.. Right?!
    Windows 7 was only installed for the benchmark analysis. For anyone who would like to copy one of the builds and still stay on budget, Ubuntu is suggested.
    Reply
  • kick_pixels
    Crashman First of all, September's systems used different benchmarks. AMD fans would have gone nuts as well
    If you compare the benchmarks, is more or less identical with 1-2 minor differences. What’s wrong with idea of comparing different configurations? I don’t agree with the thought of AMD fans getting upset about it, to contrary they will be happy about gaining new knowledge.
    Reply
  • Onus
    First of all, Merry Christmas everyone!
    Second of all, congratulations to Don. His tweaking contributed heavily to the superiority of the $1300 machine. The $700 machine pulled up lame when not gaming, and the $2500 machine was crippled by inadequate cooling.
    If I win the big guy, I'll put it in my CM-RC690 and see how it does. The little guy will get my Q9450, but Don's build just needs a better cooler.
    Nice series.
    Reply
  • Niva
    Merry xmas to the staff and thanks for writing these articles at an otherwise slow time of the year due to holidays. I've enjoyed reading them.
    Reply