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

Results: Battlefield 3 And Far Cry 3

Battlefield 3

Frame rates in our Battlefield 3 campaign sequence are almost entirely limited by the graphics hardware, not by modern processors. And with a game this demanding, things look grim for the A10.

Overclocking the graphics core and system memory helps, but we’d still want to reduce settings to play Battlefield 3 on our $350 PC. The Medium quality preset appears perfectly tuned for AMD's Radeon HD 7750. The slim $400 build survived through 1920x1080, yielding the 45 FPS average that I typically find to be a safe minimum requirement for this benchmark.

Battlefield 3’s Ultra quality preset switches on the highest details and 4x MSAA. Even the $400 PC is barely able to deliver acceptable gameplay at 720p, and only after we tweak its discrete graphics card (it required 2x MSAA at stock settings).

Far Cry 3

When we added Far Cry 3 testing to our System Builder Marathon, we dialed in fairly advanced High quality starter settings that pushed my $500 gaming PCs pretty hard. Even an overclocked Radeon HD 7750 isn’t enough to deliver smooth gameplay at 1920x1080.

Budget gamers can forget all about Far Cry 3’s beautiful Ultra quality details. I want to see 35 FPS on average before even attempting these settings.