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  TechSpot's High-end PC Buying Guide

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Back like a bad RMA request, TechSpot’s High-end PC builder’s guide takes another stab at fabricating the finest custom PC possible. The chips are fast, the hardware is sexy and the budget may be out the window, but I promise to keep it practical enough to keep you off the list. And while I disclose the top picks for the ultimate computing experience, I’ll also include some of the best places to score them on the web.

* Note that for listing peripheral prices we didn't go with the lowest available but we are giving rough average from many reputed online merchants so this can translate into a real conversion once you go out shopping for the parts.

Processor

Athlon 64 X2 4800+ (2.4Ghz; Dual core) $890 or
Athlon 64 FX-57 (2.8GHz; Single core) - $1020

The availability of dual core processors raises an interesting conundrum - Dual core or no dual core? This is one tough call and your decision may be based on how you actually use your computer. For a truly awesome work and play experience for all users, the Athlon X2 with its dual core technology delivers it like FedEx® Overnight on a Saturday. Despite the 64 X2 being quite the smooth operator for multitasking and media, not all software takes advantage of multiprocessing or “dual-core technology”. Because of this, gamers may be inclined to choose the 64 FX for some old fashioned, brute-force number crunching. Either way you go, you’ll be getting one of the fastest consumer CPUs available. For you Intel fans, I’m disappointed to report they weren’t able to compete at this level, maybe next time?

Highlights:

 

Motherboard

ASUS A8N-SLI (Socket 939) - $160

The nForce 4 is an impressive chipset and ASUS makes quite an impressive system board. So, it’s only natural this main board appears in our high-end system guide. The Socket 939 platform is still going very strong, making the platform a safe bet to invest in. Some attractive features for this board include support for SLI (dual PCIE graphics cards), tons of SATA 2 and PATA/IDE channels with a variety of raid options, lots of USB 2.0 / Firewire ports, Gigabit Ethernet and a blistering 2000MHz front-side bus. In short, this board makes an excellent foundation to build our monster system on.

Highlights:

  • 2000MHz front-side bus (Hyper transport)

  • Tons of SATA 2 / IDE channels with RAID capability

  • SLI (dual PCIE graphics cards)

  • Plenty of USB 2.0 / Firewire ports

 

Graphics Card

NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX 256MB - $480

[TechSpot's GeForce 7800 GTX /SLI review]

It isn’t cheap, but you don’t want cheap for this rig. The GeForce 7800 GTX is the fastest graphics solution available and while I believe a single 7800 GTX will please most, here is where it gets fantastic - you can use two of these in SLI mode to boost your graphics performance considerably (see the complete review for benchmarks, etc.). Since it is a costly decision that will benefit only the most hardcore of gamers, you can make the final decision on whether or not arming your computer with two of these is truly the best option. But for the intents and purposes of this system, having one of these solo will do very nicely.

Highlights:

  • PCI Express SLI capable (dual graphics configuration)

  • Fastest graphics card available

  • A list of features too long to display here. ;)



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