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TechSpot PC Buying Guide - June 2008

By Julio Franco ยท 11 replies
Jun 27, 2008
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  1. Whether you are a first time builder seeking guidance or a seasoned enthusiast lacking the time it takes to compare the seemingly endless pit of hardware available, we've got you covered. Our buying guides provide an in-depth list of today's best hardware, ranging between three unique and yet typical budgets.

    Entry Level Box (<$1,000)
    As the title implies, this is not a top-grade machine, however, it is (in our opinion) the best system $800 can buy. This box should prove to be a sufficient solution for running even the newest games on the market, albeit with a bit of the eye-candy tuned down.

    Mid-range Enthusiast's PC (<$2,000)
    Our Enthusiast's PC incorporates a flavorful blend of both the Budget Box and Luxury System, making this the most harmonious of builds. The targeted total for our mid-range system was around $1,600 or less, thus remaining within the grasp of the average Joe. Essentially, it is a fully-loaded PC minus some of the trinkets and bobbles, offering the majority of those reading this confidence that it will plow down nearly anything shoved in its path.

    High-end Luxury System
    Here we have a screaming edge system lacking any virtual price cap. Every component in the Luxury System guide was thoughtfully scrutinized in order to offer you the most for your greenback. If the additional dough 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.


    Please leave your feedback here. Thanks!
  2. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Posts: 2,224

    Thank you, I believe all of the Luxury list is great except the Monitor. It just seems too overpriced, I'd stick with a 22" Samsung.
  3. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,402   +38

    Great stuff as usual guys, although I personaly would go for the below system as an ultra high-end one.
    • Intel XD5400XS Skulltrail LGA771 Motherboard
    • 2x Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9775 LGA771 CPUs
    • 4x4GB 800MHz FB-DIMMs
    • 2x AMD Radeon HD 4870 video cards in Crossfire
    • Silverstone Olympia 1kW PSU
    • CoolerMaster Stacker 832 case
    • Seagate Cheetah 1TB SCSI HDD + Any SCSI Controller Card
    • Apple 30" Cinema HD Display
    Oh well, at least I can dream...;)
  4. Nirkon

    Nirkon TS Enthusiast Posts: 202

    Overall pretty good.

    However if I would have built it myself I would have chosen different ram (same performance lower price, from ocz, kingston or G.skill),
    and different case/PSU - with case I would go for a lower priced one because 150 bucks for a case is not justified IMO (or over 100 dollars)
    as for PSUs I would get one that is somewhat above the required Watts and amps but not too much, but that also depends how long someone will have this exact machine or will he/she upgrade it in the future)

    keep up the good work!
  5. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Posts: 2,224

    Oh that sounds awesome, Rage. I didn't know you could use Apple monitors for PC.
  6. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 8,216   +1,259

    We may add a "dream machine" spec in the future, but for now we wanted to have the high-end machine to be a costly yet very achievable box.

    That said, the Apple monitor you mention is NOT better than our Samsung pick. Apple displays are usually not updated as often as the competition, and while they may be top notch at time of release, they usually get very dated compared to similar models until a new batch of upgrades kick in...

  7. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,402   +38

    May I suggest this case instead of the Cooler Master one for the budget system? It has better cooling and can be had for around the same price.

    Also, I purely suggested the Apple display because I have one and nothing else I've seen ever beats the quality of the output on it. It was the best when I bought it, but I suppose there is always better stuff later.
  8. The Grasshopper

    The Grasshopper TS Rookie

    you know...i think it should be important to put what OS you are going to use on these systems. Versions of certain OS's can be expensive and that should be listed. BTW. first post. Hi Everyone!
  9. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,310

    Intel is definitely not cheap when it comes to an "affordable system", nor performance-wise in my professional opinion, though a million herds of nerd buffalo will rise up and cry out as though stirred from a deep sleep by the force itself and say this is not true. Although it is.
  10. Rick

    Rick TS Evangelist Posts: 4,512   +65

    Dude, you're talking about the 'high end system' and it is supposed to expensive. The goal here is to make one of the fastest systems possible.

    So - the real concern here is - show me an AMD product right now that matches the performance of the Intel chip that was chosen.

    You can't, so I'm not sure what your point is.
  11. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,993   +2,434

    This point always comes up when writing these articles. The problem is an operating system is more of a personal choice and there is no right or wrong. You could use Windows XP on the dream machine while the next person might run Windows Vista Ultimate edition on the budget system and that is why I think the OS is best left out.

    Not sure what your definition of cheap is but I rather look for a good value platform and I am sorry but Intel does win here. The E7200 is a monster and at a little over $100 what is better value? Not to mention if you are an overclocker there are no better value processors. The platform itself is also quite affordable with new P45 boards already selling for less than $100, what more could you ask for?
  12. rcalzadilla

    rcalzadilla TS Rookie

    Any suggestions on a ddr3 around $1500 (+ or -), excluding monitor.
    Something with a no-problem mobo at power up?
    (Did a search but returned nothing)

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