Application and Futuremark Performance

It's at this point that comparisons are going to seem a little unfair, and the reason for that is simple: the Sentinel's only immediate competition in terms of price are CyberPower's Gamer Xtreme 8500 and Puget Systems' Obsidian. One of these is just using an IGP, while the other is an older model that shipped in the neighborhood of $1,600. We've been contacting other boutiques to see if they have budget gaming systems they'd be interested in shipping us, so hopefully the Sentinel will see some proper competition soon.

The essential problem has been for some time that the Phenom II just isn't competitive with Intel's Nehalem architecture, much less any of their succeeding high performance architectures. Try to put things in perspective, though: the Sentinel is competing with substantially more expensive systems, all of which utilize Intel's best and brightest and oftentimes overclock them. Price-wise the chip competes with Intel's dual-core offerings, essentially offering four cores where Intel would offer you two, though there are certainly areas where the Intel cores come out on top (e.g. the X4 955 places last out of all tested CPUs in the single-threaded Cinebench result).

Unfortunately the SLI GTX 590 rig is our only comparison point for 3DMark Vantage and 3DMark 11 presently, and that's not exactly a fair fight. That machine has nearly a kilowatt worth of performance behind it and sells for five times what the Sentinel does. Put in perspective in 3DMark06, the Sentinel looks a lot better and provides a reasonably competitive gaming experience. Futuremark isn't everything, though; let's see how the Sentinel handles in real world gaming scenarios.

Introducing the WarFactory Sentinel Gaming Performance
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  • korle - Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - link

    Why does this case look so similir to the two year older Antect 300...
  • kuzzia - Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - link

    Why not Sandy Bridge? Just look at this link from Techspot that shows that when a game is CPU bound (Starcraft II, Civ V), the Sandy Bridge architecture are much superior to the aging AMD architecture.

    Buying a Core i5 2300 or 2400 would suffice for the non-overclocker, and the small increase in price is definitely worth the increase of performance. A decent H67-board should also be comparatively priced to a similar AMD mo-bo. The change to Intel could be financed by a 500-600W PSU. Also bya modern one, the Corsair is three years old now!

    Otherwise, a great system for its price range!
  • MKEGameDesign - Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - link

    I just built something very similar to this PC, except I went with the HAF 922 and a Radeon card. Using ATI here would make a lot more sense, because the mobo in this build is CrossfireX only, not SLI. Getting an NVIDIA card cramps future upgrades.

    Also, while they're nice for the money, the HAF cases are dust magnets.
  • casteve - Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - link

    Most of the baseline 80% efficient PSUs tend to start ramping their fans up at the 50% load point. The Corsair TX650 follows this. So, you spec for a PSU that is twice your expected load in order to avoid PSU noise - or you buy an 80+ Gold or Platinum supply than has a lot less waste heat.
  • Guspaz - Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - link

    Higher-spec PSUs tend to have better cooling (they need to, more heat to remove). This often means that the more wattage a PSU supports, the quieter it gets at a fixed power level. A 500w PSU at 400w is probably going to be rather loud, but an 850w PSU at 400w is probably going to be pretty quiet.
  • cknobman - Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - link

    Sorry but for a grand I was expecting more however I thoroughly appreciate these articles/reivews from Anandtech because its a constant reminder of how much better and cheaper it is to build your own rig.
  • Nfarce - Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - link

    I had the same thought exactly. But, you have to remember, we home builders are well in the minority when it comes to overall desktop PC ownership figures. There are vastly more people out there who don't want to be bothered with building their own rig from scratch - and probably others who don't even know they can. But I have to agree with the others: this should have been a Sandy Bridge/i5 build along with a stronger video card like a 560 or 5850. Not sure what this company's profit margins are on builds, but I have built rigs for friends and relatives for just $100-150 above cost. My business model would be to lower the price (or increase the quality) and potentially sell more at a lower margin.
  • frozentundra123456 - Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - link

    I have seen a Dell with a 2600 Sandy bridge CPU and a 5770 for less than 1100.00. And if you watch carefully you might even get a monitor for that price too. And I think you could get a similar system to this one for cheaper on iBuyPower or CyberPower.

    Phenom II X4 = fail in my opinion, except for super budget system.
  • frozentundra123456 - Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - link

    Wanted to make another comment too. Seems like an odd choice to put an SSD on a budget system like this. Personally, I would prefer to put the money towards a better CPU or GPU.
  • TrackSmart - Thursday, June 9, 2011 - link

    SSD's are getting cheap enough, and they make enough of a difference in how fast a system responds, that I think it's a reasonable part of a $1000 system. That said, if you strictly want the best gaming experience for your buck, I agree that a beefier video card would be the better choice...

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