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System Builder Marathon Q3 2015: Gaming PC

How We Tested

Test System Components

Since this quarter's build looks to improve upon the Q1 2015 build's shortcomings, we'll be including that PC's results in today's lineup. Additionally, we're going to be comparing this build to last quarter's $1,600 gaming build to see how close we can come to premium performance on a modest budget.                                                                                                 

Q3 $800 Budget GamingQ2 $1600 Gaming PCQ1 $800 Gaming PC
Processor (Overclock)Intel Core i3-4170: 3.7GHz Two Physical Cores Stock SettingsIntel Core i5-4690K: 3.50 GHz - 3.90 GHz, Four Physical Cores O/C to 4.2-4.4GHz, 1.24VIntel Core i3-4150: 3.5GHz, Two Physical Cores, Stock Settings
Graphics (Overclock)Sapphire R9 380 985 MHz GPU,  GDDR5-5800 O/C to 1080 MHz, GDDR5-6520Gigabyte GTX 980: 1178 MHz GPU,  GDDR5-7010 O/C to 1335 MHz, GDDR5-8000Sapphire R9 280, 940MHz GPU, GDDR5-5000 O/C to 1080MHz, GDDR5-5400
Memory (Overclock)8GB G.Skill DDR3-1600 CAS 11-11-11-28, O/C to Applied XMP Profile16GB Team Extreme DDR3-2400 CAS 10-12-12-31, Applied XMP Profile8GB G.Skill DDR3-1600 CAS 11-11-11-28, Applied XMP Profile
Motherboard (Overclock)ASRock H97M Pro4: LGA 1150, Intel H97 Express Stock 100 MHz BCLKASRock Z97 Extreme6: LGA 1150, Intel Z97 Express Stock 100 MHz BCLKASRock H81M-HDS: LGA 1150, Intel H81 Express Stock 100MHz BCLK
CaseCorsair Carbide SPEC-03 Black, White LEDDIY Adventurer-9601GNZXT Source 210 Elite Black
CPU CoolerCooler Master Hyper TX3Zalman CNPS10X OptimaIntel Boxed Heat Sink and Fan
Hard DriveSamsung 850 Evo 250GB SATA 6Gb/s SSDSandisk Extreme Pro 240GB SATA 6Gb/s SSDWestern Digital Blue 1TB HDD, 3.5", 16MB Cache
PowerEVGA 100-W1-500-KR: 500W Non-Modular, ATX12V, 80 PLUSCrucial CSM Series CS750M: 750W, 80 Plus GoldEVGA 100-W1-500-KR: 500W Non-Modular, ATX12V, 80 PLUS
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 8.1 x64Microsoft Windows 8 Pro x64Microsoft Windows 8 Pro x64
GraphicsAMD Catalyst 15.7.1Nvidia GeForce 353.06AMD Catalyst 14.4
ChipsetIntel INF 10.1.1Intel INF 9.4.0.1017Intel INF 9.4.0.1017