Results: F1 2012, Grid 2, and Arma 3
All three of these machines are mainly processor-bound in F1 2012, demonstrated by the Ivy Bridge-based Core i5 that distances itself from the more affordable CPUs, in turn bolstering the $800 PC’s overall frame rate totals.
We also know this game to be heavily bandwidth-dependent, and thanks to Sandra's Memory Bandwidth module, we have evidence to show that same Core i5-based system capable of pushing more than 21 GB/s.
Of course, our final evaluation will emphasize the settings gamers want to use most, which is good news since even the least-expensive rig is able to deliver at least 60 FPS under the Ultra preset at 4800x900. I'd hardly count that as a loss.
Although more GPU-bound at its Ultra detail preset than F1 2012, we still find that only the most taxing settings load our GeForce GTX 770 enough for GPU Boost to kick in and drive the highest available GPU frequencies.
Most important, both rigs remain playable in Grid 2 through all tested settings and resolutions.
Packing a Core i5 processor helps the $800 PC pull away at lower settings and resolutions.
This quarter's rig takes a lead at my targeted settings of 1920x1080 and the Ultra preset. Although minimum frame rates are 5 FPS higher on my newest box, Arma 3 is plenty smooth on both machines.
In the end, both PCs run into the same ceiling. At 4800x900, lower quality settings are required to sustain more than 30 frames per second.