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System Builder Marathon: $625 Gaming PC

Benchmark Results: Crysis And Unreal Tournament 3

Once again we start with Crysis, which is one of the most hardware-demanding games available. It would take a far more expensive system with more GPU power to be playable at the maximum DX10 Very High settings used for our testing.

One high note this month is that with higher GPU clock speeds, the overclocked $625 PC finally manages to break 30 frames per second (FPS) at our lowest resolution.

After enabling 4x anti-aliasing (AA), things get worse, so we will again look at more realistic playable settings for Crysis.

At medium details, it’s possible that the Catalyst 8.12 drivers provided a boost in performance as we see up to a 10 FPS increase at stock speeds versus last month's results. We would need to try both driver versions to determine how much was from the E7300 and how much (if any) was from the drivers. At 1680x1050 medium details, the overclocked budget gamer now averaged over 60 FPS for the first time. Raising resolution to 1920x1200, it averaged 44.70 FPS at stock and 53.29 FPS overclocked. And lastly, at 1280x1024 high details, the average at stock speeds was 38.04 FPS, which rose to 44.94 FPS overclocked. Crysis can still play very well on such a system, but would require a blend of medium/high details as resolution is increased.

With Unreal Tournament 3, very playable performance is achieved at the highest detail levels. At stock speeds, frame rates seem to be CPU limited, while we see some separation by resolution with the overclocked PC.  

After forcing eye candy in the drivers, we see a drop in FPS due to the added strain on the GPU. But the HD 4850 still provides very playable results, and once overclocked, even averages above 60 FPS at our highest resolution.

  • spirto
    once again no amd setup? i thought you said you were going to give us amd users a smb
  • DFGum
    Sure they could give a 625 dollar AMD setup, but it just wouldnt be as good at this time so why bother?
    Its always about value at the price points.
  • JeanLuc
    What’s the point in an AMD setup when the Intel option gives you better value for money?
  • Claimintru
    Negative'd you Spirto for being a mindless fanboy.
  • V3NOM
    lol... my e5200 crapped out at 3.7ghz 1.4vcore... someone i know got his e7300 to 4.0ghz at some ridiculous vcore though lol... it really depends on teh chip. some get good VID's, some get bad. some overclock good, some overclock crap, its the natura of binning. naturally e8400's would be binned more than the 5 and 7 series, and the e8500/8600 would be better still.
  • when r u guys gonna write about the nvidia ion platform?!?!?!?!
  • zodiacfml
    i wouldn't risk buying an e7300 over an e5200. i have built amd systems, now i'm regretting why i didn't bought pentium dual core which are practically core2duo's with less cache.

    regarding nvidia ion, i think intel is thinking deeply of whether they allow nvidia to Atom since netbooks still sell without it.
  • Veesofnaught
    I actually just got done purchasing parts for a new pc that ended up being around that same price. This is my first time building a PC so I'm not sure if I could have done better, but I think it's worth mentioning if anyone is interested in going for a Quad Core instead of the Dual Core.

    Intel Quad Core Q6600
    Asus P5QL Pro Motherboard
    NVidia 9800 GTX
    GSkill 4 Gb Ram
    580 Watt PSU
    Rosewill Mid-Tower
    160 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive
    SATA CD/DVD Burner
  • Master Exon
    I guess I will share my for-Christmas build with TH.

    $82 2.5GHz E5200 45nm C2D
    $0 (no CPU cooler)
    $54 ASUS P5KPL-CM
    $34 A-DATA 2x2GB (4GB) DDR2 800
    $200 GeForce 260
    $55 WD 320GB WD3200AAKS
    $0 integrated sound
    $0 integrated network
    $12 Spray painted an old beige case black.
    $67 500W SeaSonic
    $22 LG DVD burner
    $10 card reader

    $526 Total

    I don't see why they didn't shave off $40 for the cheaper CPU
  • weinheimer
    That is a nicely configured system at fair pricing