High-end Luxury System
Here we have a screaming edge system lacking any virtual price cap - a dream PC that is down to earth both in terms of price and configuration.
Every component in the Luxury System guide was thoughtfully scrutinized in order to offer you the most for your greenback. If the additional money didn't bring about a justifiable performance leap, it didn't make the cut. Let's face it, almost nobody wants to choke up 150% more money to see a 3% increase in umph.
The P6T has been engineered and marketed as a top-end enthusiast motherboard and is packed to the brim with luxuries which ought to draw in even the most discriminating users. The board is available in two separate packages; one priced around $290 and the other around $330. The more expensive model is coupled with an “OC Palm” which is essentially a handheld device attached via USB and acts as an interface that enables the user to modify and monitor key BIOS settings.
Asus P6T Deluxe OC Palm Edition - $330
Naturally, the board is built on the Intel X58 chipset and LGA 1366 socket and houses six DDR3 DIMM slots which support a maximum of 12GB RAM at 1600MHz (OC), three PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots at x16/x16/x1 or x16/x8/x8 (SLI and CrossFireX ready), one PCI-E x4 and two PCI slots, six SATA 3Gb/s host adapters, one PATA host adapter, an e-SATA port, fourteen USB 2.0 ports and two 1394a ports.
Our full review of the Asus P6T Deluxe can be read here.
The long-awaited Nehalem architecture has finally been introduced and just as expected it has been a large success. Although the Core i7 920 is an extreme bargain at $280 and offers a more favorable cost-to-performance ratio than the Core i7 940, we have found justification in paying the extra hundreds for the 940 but definitely not going all the way to the Extreme Edition.
The Core i7 940 packs the wallop you'd expect from a $570 CPU, featuring a 2.93GHz core clock frequency, 4.8GT/s QPI, 4 x 256KB L2 cache and 8MB L3 cache.
One of the major downfalls of DDR3 to date has been its high cost and latencies which drag the performance-to-cost ratio down to a level far below that of high quality DDR2. However, if you have any intentions of building a Core i7-based rig, you’ll have but little choice to purchase a DDR3 kit.
OCZ (OCZ3P1600LV6GK) 3 x 2GB DDR3 1600MHz - $110
The Asus P6T Deluxe has a maximum stock RAM frequency of DDR3 1333MHz (with support for higher frequencies via overclocking) and so you may as well aim for triple channel kit with that speed or higher and a Cas latency of 7 or lower. The OCZ3P1600LV6GK kit offers precisely that and at a meager $110 it will be tough to find a better deal.
The two rather obvious choices for a video card in a budgetless-monster-box are the GTX 295 and the HD 4870 X2. Neither can be said to offer a better value simply because their prices are appropriately scaled, however like we said in our GTX 295 full review earlier this year, if price is no object and you want the most powerful single card solution money can buy, then the GeForce GTX 295 is your poison.
Nvidia GeForce GTX 295 - $530
A typical GTX 295 has a core clock frequency of 576MHz, VRAM frequency of 1998MHz, 480 stream processors, has a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1600 and hosts 2 DVI ports as well as an HDMI port.
If for any reason (and we won't blame you) prefer a screaming fast graphics card that only sports a single GPU, then the GeForce GTX 285 is the way to go.
Thinking outside the box, we recommend you pick up the HT Omega Claro Plus+. With 7.1 channels, a sample rate of 192KHz, 24-bit digital audio, an impressive SNR of 120dB, drivers that actually work, and a reportedly solid customer service team this card will serve you and serve you well.
HT Omega Claro Plus+ - $175
If by chance you prefer something a bit more mainstream or need support for the latest EAX titles, the Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer Fatal1ty might be worth a gander.
Solid State Drives (SSD) are finally here and here to stay. The Intel X25-M SSD isn’t exactly the cheapest drive on the scene and at a measly 80GB it might even keep some of you from purchasing initially (although there’s a 160GB model available for $700 or so), but with its maximum read speed of 250MB/s and a write speed of 70MB/s it is currently amongst the most impressive drives available and will undoubtedly please you to the fullest extent if you have the money to obtain one.
Intel X25-M SSD 80GB - $370
Western Digital's hard drives have been a favorite amongst the enthusiast community since the 1980's and they've grown to be the second largest HDD manufacturer in the world. The WD20EADS is the largest drive Western Digital has to offer and so the drive is respectively stamped with a $300 price tag.
Western Digital WD20EADS 2TB - $300
The 2TB Caviar Green features a maximum internal transfer rate of 100MB/s and external transfer rate of 300MB/s and 32MB of cache.
The LG GH33NP20 is the same high quality optical drive recommended through the guide. It can write to DVD+R media at up to 22x, DVD+RW up to 8x, DVD-R at 22x and DVD-RW at up to 6x, CD-R at up to 48x, CD-RW at up to 32x, DVD+R DL up to 16x, and DVD-R DL up to 12x.
The Pioneer BDR-203BKS will write up to 8x on BD-R (25Gbytes) and BD-R DL (50Gbytes) media and can write to DVD+R media at up to 16x, DVD+RW up to 8x, DVD-R at 16x and DVD-RW at up to 6x, CD-R at up to 32x, CD-RW at up to 24x, BD-R DL at up to 8x, BD-RE DL at up to2x, DVD+R DL up to 8x, and DVD-R DL up to 8x. It’ll read BD-ROM at 8x, DVD-ROM at 16x and CD-ROM at 32x.
Pioneer BDR-203BKS - $230
Power Supply Unit:
Although PC Power & Cooling was acquired by OCZ a while ago, this PSU is a fine example of their legendary craftsmanship. Rated for a hefty output of 750W, this behemoth has an efficiency of 83%, Active PFC, a hold up time of 16ms and 60A on a single 12V rail. The S75QB ships with all the standard cables and connectors, including six SATA, two 6-pin and two 6+2-pin cables as well as a 5 year warranty.
PC Power & Cooling S75QB 750W - $130
We’re mixing the usual route up and actually going to make a straightforward recommendation for the Luxury build this time around. We recently reviewed the Cooler Master HAF 932 and fell in love with the fact that it has the price tag of a budget full-tower case with specifications that match some of the more expensive models out there.
Cooler Master HAF 932 - $150
It ships at a featherweight (for a full-tower) 29.1lbs and features a tool-free assembly, three 230mm” fans (front, top and side), one 140mm” fan (rear), six 5.25” drive bays, one externally accessible 3.5” bay, 5 internal 3.5” bays and much more than you would expect for a $150 chassis.
At breathtaking 30-inches, the Samsung SyncMaster 305T is nothing short of excellence. Displaying 16.7 million colors at a native resolution of 2560 x 1600, it has a contrast ratio of 1000:1, 6ms response time, .25mm pixel pitch, viewing angles of 178°(H) / 178°(V) and 3 year warranty. Weighing in at 26.5 lbs, the display sits atop a robust black base that allows swivel, tilt, and height adjustments.
Samsung SyncMaster 305T 30" Widescreen LCD - $1,000
The only thing that could truly top this monitor for the price is two of them running side by side (which is about the cost of some competing 30” LCDs, namely the NEC LCD3090WQXi-BK).
A $300 price tag is what rests between you and being engulfed in heavenly sound waves. The Logitech Z-5500 speaker system has a combined power of 505W, SNR of >93.5dB, 33 Hz - 20 kHz frequency response, and is so feature-dense I'll only touch the tip of what is offered.
Logitech Z-5500 5.1 505W - $300
Touting THX certified sound, onboard 5.1 digital decoding, a 10" long-throw subwoofer and tuned bass port, aluminum phase plug satellites, digital SoundTouch control panel, a wireless remote and tons more, the Z-5500 is well worth the coin if you have any interest in high quality sound.
Between the number of possible keyboard and mouse combinations in the high end price range and the various uses you could be making of this system, it’s virtually impossible to recommend a single component.
If you are going to be gaming and don't mind a wired setup, take a look at the Logitech G15 keyboard and Razer Lachesis mouse. Actually in our last gaming mice round-up we also loved the performance of the Logitech G5/G9 and the Microsoft Habu. Should this system be used for HTPC functions or if you'd prefer a nice wireless alternative, see the Logitech diNovo combo or the Logitech MX Air Silver mouse.
Other excellent keyboard options could be the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000 or the Das Keyboard that resembles the ancient IBM Model M keyboards (in a good way).
Our High-end Luxury System, in a nutshell...
||Asus P6T Deluxe OC Palm Edition
||Intel Core i7 940
||OCZ 3 x 2GB DDR3 1600MHz
||Nvida GeForce GTX 295
||HT Omega Claro Plus+
||Intel X25-M 80GB / WD WD20EADS 2TB
||LG GH22NP20 / Pioneer BDR-203BKS
|Power Supply Unit
PC Power & Cooling S75QB 750W
||Cooler Master HAF 932
||Samsung SyncMaster 305T 30" Widescreen LCD
||Logitech Z-5500 5.1 505W
Also check out our entry-level and mid-range system configurations.