To be honest, I do find myself a little surprised with the performance of the new X79 platform here. For the most part I'd thought we'd see both the X79 platform and the Z68 one perform almost identical to each other. You can see that a number of times the X79 platform is able to offer us some exceptional performance increases.
The big problem, though, is that when you really start to break down the numbers we see that the difference between playable setups and setups that aren't is extremely minimal, especially when it comes to comparing the two Intel platforms to each other.
If you look at our Intel setups against the AMD one, you can see at times, if you're a 120Hz monitor user the Intel one is going to give you the best experience and if you're going to be going down the path of three video cards and 120Hz monitors, you're more than likely going to be looking at an Intel setup.
I suppose the problem is, what setup do you buy? The more expensive X79 one? or the better valued Z68 one? Turn off any FPS counter and start to play games on a 2560 x 1600 monitor or a 120Hz 1920 x 1080 monitor and you'll probably struggle to tell which system is the X79 one and which is the Z68 one.
That in itself is probably enough to answer which one to choose. The problem is if you move away from the 3960X and move into a 3930k, the price difference between both systems changes a lot. Then you look at the fact that the new X79 platform is superior in a number of other areas when compared to the Z68 one, especially in those CPU intensive tasks.
The platform also offers more expansion for RAM thanks to a lot of boards offering us eight DIMM slots. You've also got more expansion for Video Cards with a number of X79 boards supporting four video cards without the need to have an NF200 chip.
If you go into the argument of newer more intensive games like Battlefield 3, you'll probably find that games like Metro 2033 continue to be just as intensive if not more so. Along with that the more intensive the game, the more important the VGA setup is over the CPU one.
Looking at just the Intel platforms, the better valued setup is the Z68 one; you can't deny that, especially if you're looking at a machine purely from a gaming point of view. The X79 platform is the faster one, though, and with a i7 3930k, the pricing will look a lot more attractive.
The other thing you have to think about is if you're going to be spending the kind of money that is associated with three high end cards, you're probably going to be also more inclined to go down the path of the X79 platform with 16GB of 2133MHz RAM. Along with that, you have to remember like we've mentioned before, the X79 platform will be superior in stuff like encoding, image manipulation and image rendering. Overall the X79 platform is going to be faster than a Z68 one. In gaming it's going to offer similar to slightly better performance. In those CPU intensive benchmarks, though, we will continue to see the X79 offer huge performance increases over the Z68 one.
The path you will go down will probably be dictated mostly by the amount of money you have. If you're not too worried about that, though, then it's more than likely going to come down what you do with your computer. Focused on just gaming, you'll more than likely end up with the Z68 platform. Wanting something that is going to be overall faster in tasks outside of gaming while also offering fantastic gaming performance, the X79 platform will probably be the one you end up with.
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