Skip to main content

Three Core i7 Systems From Boutique Builders

Benchmark Results: Gaming

All three machines deliver playable performance with this first-person shooter, but AVADirect pulls in front playing at the lower-quality setting of 1280x960 with anti-aliasing turned off. With the resolution cranked up to 1920x1200 and 4x AA and the race becomes much tighter, with Alienware’s Area-51 X-58, outfitted with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 295—the fastest single videocard in the pack—winning by a hair. As we pointed out in the story, however, that card wasn’t available to the other two vendors when they shipped their rigs.

CyberPower’s Xtreme Gamer, equipped with the fastest CPU but the slowest videocard, manages to open a substantial lead with this game at both low and high detail levels. Alienware comes in second, thanks to its dual-GPU GeForce GTX 295; but with all the computers delivering frame rates in the triple digits, does it really matter who’s best?

World in Conflict is a beautiful real-time strategy game, and you can turn on all the game’s eye candy with any of these rigs, since they all proved capable of delivering 60-plus frames per second at 1920x1200 with very high details, 4x anti-aliasing, and 4x anisotropic filtering turned on. All three delivered triple-digit performances with the image quality dialed back, but AVADirect ekes out a win in both categories, thanks to a videocard that’s faster than what’s in the CyberPower machine, and a CPU that’s faster than what Alienware is offering.

Real-time strategy games typically aren’t benchmark killers, but Supreme Commander is the exception to the rule. This game takes full advantage of quad-core CPUs, so CyberPower—being outfitted with an overclocked Core i7 940—takes a commanding lead here, despite having the weakest videocard of the three contestants. AVADirect and Alienware both use the slower Core i7 920, but the latter takes second place by virtue of its graphics advantage.

  • gkay09
    Well this article would help people buying preassembled computer very much...
    Reply
  • crisisavatar
    all 3 suck concidering you can add a 24 inch monitor, high quality speakers, audio card, gaming mouse/keyboard and still have money to spare.

    ps. running a couple of gtx 260s at stock will be more than enough to pull 45 fps in crysis and everything else at idk fps.
    Reply
  • crisisavatar
    ups forgot to add the new OCZ vortex 30g ssd in raid 0 to boot up and still be in budget.
    Reply
  • pivalak
    Hummm, what I tend to miss on these reviews is an actual measurement of the noise generated by the system.

    I mean, the subjective evaluation provided is still useful, but... how noisy is "surprisingly quiet" or "the loudest of the three machines"?
    Reply
  • pivalak
    Hummm, what I tend to miss on these reviews is an actual measurement of the noise generated by the system.

    I mean, the subjective evaluation provided is still useful, but... how noisy is "surprisingly quiet" or "the loudest of the three machines"?
    Reply
  • pivalak
    Hummm, what I tend to miss on these reviews is an actual measurement of the noise generated by the system.

    I mean, the subjective evaluation provided is still useful, but... how noisy is "surprisingly quiet" or "the loudest of the three machines" in this case?
    Reply
  • pivalak
    Oooops... sorry for the multiple posts. I had some issues with my browser (does anyone know how to delete them?) :(
    Reply
  • nerrawg
    Kind of surprised that Thomas Soderstrom's (is he swedish btw?) $2,500 core i7 build from December wasn't mentioned from what I could see for comparison.
    If anyone is curious how tom's home-build system compares to the boutiques here's the link: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i7-overclock,2116.html

    From the gaming benches on that review it appears that the now slightly outdated december build still trumps the above builds with its triple 260 SLI and 4.0 Ghz overclocked 920. Best value award goes Tom's own Build! Now if only that one came pre-built with a 3 year warranty .... guess I'll still be getting out my toolkit (no pun intended)
    Reply
  • MrMick
    pivalakHummm, what I tend to miss on these reviews is an actual measurement of the noise generated by the system.I mean, the subjective evaluation provided is still useful, but... how noisy is "surprisingly quiet" or "the loudest of the three machines" in this case?
    Hi, I'm the author of the story. Trying to objectively measure a system's noise levels without sophisticated measurement equipment is as problematic as describing them subjectively.

    I have a level meter, but decided not to use it because it wasn't sensitive enough to measure noise levels where it mattered--at ear level where I was seated. I needed to measure the ambient room noise with no computers running to set a basis for comparison, and the meter wasn't sensitive enough to do that.

    And even if the meter was sensitive enough for my purpose, the decibel measurement would be relevant only for the environment in which I was testing (my home office, which measures 13.6x8 feet).
    Reply
  • “No one ever got laughed at for buying an Alienware.”

    Are you kidding? They have to be the most overpriced POS on the market.

    Pfft. Alienware = glorified console.

    Real PC gamers build their own. Period.
    Reply