Gaming Performance

It's not going to surprise anyone to see the Puget Serenity take last place in all of these tests; the second-slowest gaming system we've reviewed sports a Radeon with more than twice the number of stream processors, more than twice the memory bandwidth, and higher clocks to boot. That said, many of the really high scores we've seen are largely academic: can anyone really tell the difference between 100 frames per second and 150? Without getting into the ridiculous argument of whether or not the human eye can see more than 30 frames per second (if it's not supposed to be able to, I'm pretty sure most of the video geeks in the readership—myself included—are superhumans), that framerate should still be your baseline for acceptable performance.

Outside of the stunningly CPU-limited StarCraft II, Puget Systems's Serenity is able to at least beat the 30fps mark by a fairly healthy margin. I like to see framerates in at least the forties to ensure smooth gameplay, but any of these games are perfectly playable at our "High" preset, which is basically running them at maximum or near-maximum (as in the case of Call of Pripyat) settings, 1080p, and no anti-aliasing (excepting Left 4 Dead 2). Knowing that we're a little bit close to our ceiling, let's see what happens when we do kick anti-aliasing in with our "Ultra" preset.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is pushing its luck and Call of Pripyat is fairly punishing even on our other systems, but for the most part these games (outside of Call of Pripyat) remain playable and fluid. Shifting the bottleneck back to the video card in StarCraft II sends the Serenity tumbling back to the bottom of the heap, but even then it's still very playable. Gamers looking for extra frames may want to disable anti-aliasing in that title anyhow, as the image quality difference is negligible when the performance impact is taken into account. Suffice it to say these settings are basically the threshold for the Radeon HD 5750, and while performance is good, the 6850 is going to be a welcome upgrade.

Application and Futuremark Performance Build, Noise, Heat, and Power Consumption
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  • mino - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Yes, the article is clearly misleading and no having the time to spend on newegg hunt I had assumed EXACTLY as you have. (comments excluded)

    What is worse, the AT stuff is pushing it absurd by arguing that since it is $1400 (best case), saying $1000 is "alright". Sheesh.
    Reply
  • mino - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Just seen Dustin's comment down the way ... thanks for the open mind! Reply
  • gigahertz20 - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    No matter how you spin it, this computer is over priced. Most AT readers build their own machines anyways, but this article was interesting anyways since I've never heard of Puget Systems.

    No way am I, or the 90% or so of AT readers going to pay such a premium for this when I can do it myself.

    What I would like to see is a DIY article on how to silence a desktop computer. What cases/power supplies/fans/etc. are the best to get. I'm one of those that have always sacrificed performance for silence, I can't wait until I can build an affordable computer some day and have it dead silent in a room that has 0 audible noise.
    Reply
  • OneArmedScissorB - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    That's been possible for quite some time. The more expensive socket 1366 i7s are pretty much the only CPUs left that will actually run hot, so you can turn the fan way down. The only passive video cards are almost always under $200. Lower power PSUs are easy to get away with now, and make very little heat and don't need their fans to spin up much. Only one case fan is really necessary, and it can run a low speed. 2.5" HDDs are available in very high capacites. SSDs are steadily dropping. Most everything runs cool stock and you don't need a bunch of aftermarket heatsinks slapped on every component.

    It's actually cheaper to build a very quiet computer than the middle of the road noise makers I see most people come up with. Too many people overdo the power supply, overclock their CPU when it's not even accomplishing anything, and don't adjust their fans.
    Reply
  • BigDan - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    It really is so simple to build a quiet computer these days. I have one of those 1366 boards and I have the Silverstone Raven 01 case which is tall and roomy but, its panels fit tight and aside from the temp replacement fan on my o/c'd 950 [3.8Ghz] which is the stock one the H50 came with. It is dead quiet or it was when I had another pair of fans on it that died. It may take time but its sometimes worth the wait for something you want. I built it in 1 year at a savings of $1000.00 usd by shopping around.

    Now Puget Systems stuff is too expensive, comparing their top of the line system to a real company like Digital Storm and there is a huge difference. DS also offers a 3,4 or five year warranty.
    Reply
  • mino - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    This computer is not a DYI build.

    Go find us another of-the-shelf box with these parameters on the market and we may START talking about the price.

    i7 980X is very expensive. But over(what?)priced? A Xeon ?

    The same goes for this build.
    Reply
  • MeanBruce - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I would put that $421 into better components and spend a weekend having a blast away from the gf, just chicken wings Fosters lager some cool films in the background and all those sweet unboxings! But that's just me. Reply
  • MeanBruce - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    1 year parts and labor? I just RMAd a mobo to Intel 2.5years into warranty, they sent me out a new board no problem. My psu has 7years behind it video card 3years, like I said do it yourself will cost so much less per year down the road AND better quieter higher performing even better looking components, nuf said pal! Reply
  • 7Enigma - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    I was right with you until the Foster's comment. Yuck. You do know that actual Australians consider it a crap beer that they ship over to the US and market well?

    I was on vacation last year during the SuperBowl and a large family from Australia was staying near us. We had some great conversations during the trip and one was how they get marketed to us with our "bad" beers and vice-versa. :)
    Reply
  • MeanBruce - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Fosters does make a green can lager that I agree is pretty yuk, but the blue label in bottles is pretty good!!! Just substitute Fosters lager for a fine wine or frozen margaritas or Budweiser still that's a great weekend, and it's ok if the gf hangs around ya have to take a few breaks to clear your mind, right? ;) Reply

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