PC Buying Guide for August


Well, its that time again for PC buying recommendations. This time, great kudos to AnandTech's June Overclocking Guide. I love this particular guide because it includes what machines overclock well to get you additional price/performance. I'm also in the middle of building up a high-end PC for my own video editing, gaming and digital photography as well as a low-end PC to replace Calvin's failing computer.
High-end PC
Lots happening in this category this month. Intel announced their new Prescott, PCI Express and 925X chipsets while AMD shipped their Athlon 939-socket processors and motherboards. The net of that is that the new Prescotts are hotter but not much faster and that the Athlon 64s remain a leader particular when you start overclocking.
So here is my dream system with prices from pricegrabber (although most of the time newegg.com or zipzoomfly.com are the cheapest but highest quality):
| Component | Price | Comments and Alternatives |
| AMD Athlon 64 3500+ | "$350":http://hometheaterspot.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php?masterid=2835393&blsrt=1 | Athlon 64 2800+ is socket "754":http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2063 for 2-9% slower but can be had for $150 | |
| "MSI Neo2 K8N Platinum":http://anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2128&p=19 | "$180":http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=241143 | 5% faster in Winstones, the Abit "AV8":http://hometheaterspot.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=3191272 at $121 is value leader or Chaintech "VNF3250": for socket 754 at just "$80":http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=2644523 although without firewire ||
| OCZ "3700EB":http://www.anandtech.com/guides/showdoc.aspx?i=2138&p=7 | "$340":http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=2707066 | No clear alternatives for overclocking |
| Western Digital "WD740GB":http://www.storagereview.com/articles/200401/20040126WD740GD_1.html | "$180":http://hometheaterspot.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=1733497 | Or get the Hitachi 7K400 as a huge drive if you can find it at "$400":http://shopping.yahoo.com/p:Hitachi%20DeskStar%207K400%20Hard%20Drive:1991433786 |
| nVidia "6800GT":http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2113&p=18 | "$439":http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?submit=property&DEPA=1 | Much controversy about this vs the Radeon X800Pro and are very comparable at "$440":http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php?masterid=2694795&blsrt=1 also and Anand current says wait a month and if you have to buy a $200 ATI "9800 Pro":AnandTech Athlon 939 boards. The latest benchmark shows the Athlon 64 with the new socket 939 to be screaming fast even for video benchmarks.
The recommended board is the MSI K8N Neo2.
is the way to go ||
| Antec "True Power 480":http://www.anandtech.com/guides/showdoc.aspx?i=2138&p=13 | $87 | Don't skimp on the power supply |
Good comments are that good value for overclocking is:
CPU: AMD Athlon XP 2500+ Mobile Barton (512K L2 cache)
Motherboard: DFI Infinity NFII Ultra (nForce2 Ultra 400)
Price: CPU - $88 shipped (OEM). Motherboard - $91 shipped. HSF - $12 shipped
This is exactly the system that I overclocked, but used the standard Barton. The Mobile version uses less than half the wattage and is a great overclocker. It is not super fast performance-wse, but look at the price!
This chip is also multiplier unlocked so instead of just running against a 133 FSB, many folks run it at 11x200 or even 12x200MHz successfuly. With the DFI board, folks are reaching FSB speeds of 280MHz!
Another recommendation would be:
Athlong 2800+ or 3000+ combined with a 2nd generation socket 754 board like the MSI K8 Neo or the Abit KV8 Pro