Computer review sites have long posted benchmark scores of systems running popular games, but iBuyPower is taking that approach in-house by opening its Performance Lab. It's testing select pre-configured desktops on their performance in three games, then publishing the results with the rest of the buying information on its Web site.
The games tested include the new and ultra-hyped Starcraft 2, along with Battlefield Bad Company 2 and Modern Warfare 2. Systems were tested at three different settings, and you can find the FPS results on this page. Desktops were tested at 1,920x1,080 resolution, while laptops were tested at 1,280x1,024. iBuyPower says it tests each setting for several hours multiple times, and then publicizes the average results.
Of the six new systems, the $1,999 Lan Warrior 2 offers the best performance, earning 77 frames per second (fps) on the Ultra setting of Starcraft 2 thanks to its ATI Radeon HD 5970 graphics. On the low end, the $975 Battalion 101 CZ-11 Ultra tops out at 16fps for Battlefield Bad Company 2 at High setting. Oddly enough, the $1,489 Battalion 101 W860CU actually outscores the SLI-packing $2,339 Battalion 101 X8100 at Starcraft 2 on Ultra and High settings.
According to iBuyPower, "These frame rates aren’t guaranteed, but they should give you a decent idea of what games are playable on the system." There's no doubt that many system manufacturers test their configurations internally, but iBuyPower is now among the few that publicizes those scores. Of course, getting independent benchmarks that compare a system's performance to its competitors are still more valuable, and you may not get the same performance on the system you wind up purchasing, but any additional buying information is always helpful during the buying process for a gaming system, where you are literally overwhelmed with component choices.
Do you think this is a good move by iBuyPower to publicize its systems' gaming scores? Should other companies do the same? Let us know in the Comments section.