This quarter's high-end $1600 PC establishes a tiny lead in 3ds Max among the three stock configurations, but loses that lead to my previous $2400 effort as a result of a weak overclock.
Don's $1600 configuration from last quarter demonstrates dramatically worse behavior. We'd need to chalk that up to an unoptimized memory subsystem, since we're looking at the same CPU across a trio of platforms.
Blender yields the exact performance scaling we’d expect from three systems equipped with the same CPU, but different clock rates.
FineReader and Visual Studio may be showing signs of a memory bandwidth bottleneck based on the poor performance of Don's $1600 setup from last quarter. It sported a better overclock, and nothing else could explain the large deficit incurred by its stock configuration.