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System Builder Marathon, Sept. '09: $1,250 Enthusiast Build

Conclusion

Because this is where we compare all of the systems, we had to leave the H.A.W.X. and Fallout 3 game benchmarks out of these aggregate scores since we recently added those to our SBM gaming suite and didn't use them to benchmark the previous SBM system. The game score therefore reflects only Crysis, Far Cry 2, and the World in Conflict.

Since these machines are really targeted at high-resolution and high-detail gaming, we only used the high-detail 1920x1200 data to come up with the aggregate score on this page. As a result, we see that the $1,250 AMD/ATI system comes up with a slight win over the previous SBM's Intel and GeForce box.

Once again, we think the new system's gaming advantage would have demonstrated itself a lot more at the 2560x1600 resolution, but without having benched the previous system at that resolution, it's hard to say. What we can say for sure is that this new $1,250 AMD build is a solid high-resolution gaming box.

Aside from gaming, when it comes to synthetics and application benchmarks, the $1,250 AMD box is humbled compared to the Core i7-920 machine, which isn't a big surprise. The stock i7 system shows a 23% application performance lead over the Phenom II at stock speeds and that figure increases to 50% when overclocked.

But we didn't really build this system with applications in mind, since this is a no-holds barred gaming setup. The $1,250 box did the job for which we built it (and you asked for), and it games at high resolution and high detail just as well as a similarly-priced Core i7-920 system sporting a pair of GeForce GTX 260 cards in SLI.

What will be really interesting is to see how it fares against Thomas Soderstrom's $2,500 AMD build tomorrow. Also, how will Paul Henningsen's budget-AMD system stack up? As always, we look forward to the concluding SBM article and final comparison to see where everything lands. It's sure to be a battle worth watching.

  • gkay09
    I would have preferred the i7 860 paired with 2x HD 4890s or 2x GTX 275s or even a single HD 5870 for this budget...
    Reply
  • drealar
    Monstrosity @1250!!
    Reply
  • frozenlead
    gkay09I would have preferred the i7 860 paired with 2x HD 4890s or 2x GTX 275s or even a single HD 5870 for this budget...
    I agree. I mean, props for quadfire, but it's not really the best choice for the best performance.
    Reply
  • HibyPrime
    Even though it turned out to only be faster at high resolution gaming, I have to commend you guys for skipping the obvious here.

    An i5 750 build probably would have turned out better numbers on the whole, I would probably call this a last hurrah (and the $2500 too, im sure that'll be a quad) for quad CF/SLi based systems being used to run a single 30" monitor.. I'm sure we'll start to see the high end gamers moving over to eyefinity and whatever equivalent nVidia comes up with.
    Reply
  • gkay09
    But as this is an all-AMD build, the X4 955 would have been a better choice...And did you people come across any driver issues when dealing with Quad-crossfire ?That setup looks like asking for trouble...
    Reply
  • IzzyCraft
    4 x Gigabyte GV-R485OC-1GH Radeon HD 4850 in CrossFire

    Interesting but frankly not a huge fan of multi gpu set ups to being with let alone a quad fire set up i mean at least with nvidia you have decent scaling, but who am i to complain for that price and it seems to run high rez just fine.

    But that is a *** load of load power draw, noise(not too much nice zalman heat sinks on those cards) and heat coming out of that thing.

    bit surprised when i saw the load Wattage you got i thought the older 1300 rig was a i7 with 2x260's in sli which should come out to be less power draw under load even with a modded 4870 cards

    Little risky build but on the bright side you could run 8 monitors lol

    Conventional would have landed this price in the i5/i7 build with 2x4890's or a bit more powerful cards really depends on which cpu you settle with. Ofc ionno how long ago you order this. Would have came out a bit more rounded but not as great for higher resolutions and AA AF settings.

    This build is more of a high resolution gaming specialist. Personally i've never built a system with just gaming in mind i've always been a man that favors a more rounded system where you spend at least 3/4th of what you put into your gpu into your cpu

    Thomas Soderstrom's $2,500 AMD build tomorrow
    bah $2,500 and no i7 not like the budget couldn't fit very expensive gpu card and cpu in there. Oh well it wont loose out too much in games even with mutli gpu set ups...best have a sound card in there it be very refreshing for tom's builds to sport one. Interesting what monstrosity he has made to share with us.
    Reply
  • kelfen
    I see some scaling issues with x4!!
    Reply
  • jj463rd
    I agree with gkay09 on spending the extra $20 and going with the Phenom II X4 955 BE instead even if it pushes the budget a little over.At this price level I would probably choose a Core i7 build though.I really liked the $650 SBM budget AMD build that was a great choice.
    Reply
  • Proximon
    Heh well, not all SBMs have to be perfect. I'm liking the whole experimental phase the SBMs are going through. More educational than just seeing a build I would have done myself.
    Reply
  • IzzyCraft
    jj463rdI agree with gkay09 on spending the extra $20 and going with the Phenom II X4 955 BE instead even if it pushes the budget a little over.At this price level I would probably choose a Core i7 build though.I really liked the $650 SBM budget AMD build that was a great choice.Well it was by demand to make AMD builds and this is what happens they timed it just right to be right after i5 release just to mess with us. AMD builds shouldn't hurt in games but in apps depending it can be murder or breaking even.
    Reply