Big Brand Vs. Boutique: Does It Really Matter?

With HP buying VoodooPC last week and Dell purchasing Alienware earlier this year, there’s been more than a few comments around the Web on how these mainstream vendors will impact the quality of the boutiques. The fact is, many companies have high-end, mainstream and value brands, so why should computer vendors be any different? HP and Dell deserve some credit for realizing that just because they know how to build a performance desktop, doesn’t mean they can provide everything gamers want, which includes a brandname that’s not synonymous with the mainstream.

But, to illustrate just what the differences are between a large, mainstream-vendor gaming box and a boutique machine, ExtremeTech did a little head-to-head testing on a $3,745 Gateway FX510XT and a Falcon Northwest Mach V priced at $7,295. The focus was on widescreen gaming using tests of Half-Life 2: Lost Coast, Call of Duty 2, Company of Heroes, Doom 3, F.E.A.R. and Prey.

The results were slightly surprising, with the Gateway running pretty close in performance on most graphics tests, despite the Falcon’s quad-SLI setup to the Gateway’s CrossFire array; processor performance went to the Mach V with a faster, overclocked CPU. While ExtremeTech cited several other reasons the Mach V tops the FX510XT, in the end it said Gateway built a solid mainstream gaming system. Falcon’s desktop, though, comes with bragging rights.

The Falcon and the Bull: A Wide Screen Shootout [ExtremeTech]