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System Builder Marathon, Q3 2013: $350 Bonus Entry-Level PC

Results: Adobe Creative Suite

The Piledriver architecture's performance in Adobe CS6 is indicative of what we’ve seen in gaming environments and numerous other general-purpose tests. When CPU-intensive tasks like Premiere or Photoshop effectively utilize a processor's resources, AMD's design delivers stellar performance for the money. If the software isn’t threaded, like our PowerPoint to Acrobat conversion, the same processors fall flat relative to Intel. When other subsystems are taxed, or bottlenecks are introduced, such as in OpenCL-enabled workloads or After Effects, both companies’ budget-friendly solutions appear relatively equal.

Technically, single-threaded Acrobat probably shouldn’t be lumped in with Adobe’s Creative Suite, but wherever we put it, this single-threaded application digs into the $350 machine’s margin of victory.