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SBM 1: Low Cost System

3D Games

When we benchmarked the old budget overclocker's system, we were forced to cap our testing resolution at 1600x1200, because at the time there wasn't a high-end monitor available in that particular lab.

This situation has been remedied for the new system tests, so we will show you results up to 1920x1200 in our final comparison articles between the new low-end, midrange, and high-end systems. For this budget article, however, we will only use 1600x1200 and lower resolutions.

We see that Doom3 is bottlenecked by the e4300 processor at about 110 fps across the board in the old system. The new e6750 unleashes a lot more performance at lower resolutions.

At 1600x1200 with 4xAA and 8xAF, however, the 8800 GTX in the e4300 system stretches its muscles a bit, and we see it take a small lead from the e6750/8800 GTS 320 MB combo. At higher resolutions, this trend would likely have continued and the gap would have widened.

F.E.A.R. shows a very similar story to what we saw with Doom3, with slightly more exaggerated results. With 4xAA and 8xAF enabled, the e4300/8800 GTX combo takes a small lead at 1280x1024, and a large lead at 1600x1200.

Oblivion proves the rule: it's 3 for 3, making it clear that higher resolutions minimize the CPU impact, and maximize the graphics card impact on game performance.

Once again we see that high-resolution gaming can usually be done quite acceptably with a slightly slower CPU paired with a fast video card. Our conclusion article later this week will probably show an even larger spread between the 8800 GTS 320 MB and the 8800 GTX at 1920x1200.