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Sharky Extreme : Monthly High-end Gaming System Buyer's Guide October 5, 2008





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    September High-end Gaming PC Buyer's Guide
    By Vince Freeman :  September 22, 2007

    Price Roundup

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 System

    Case: ThermalTake Armor VA8000BWS Full Tower - $150
    Power Supply: Cooler Master Real Power 650W - $125
    Processor: Athlon 64 X2 6400+ (3.0 GHz) Retail - $240
    Cooling: 3rd-party HSF - $50
    Motherboard: ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe - $178
    Memory: 2x1GB Corsair XMS2-6400 DHX (TWIN2X2048-6400C4DHX) - $110
    Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750GB SATA - $200
    Video Card: GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB - $525
    Monitor: Dell UltraSharp 2007WFP 20.1" LCD - $399
    Sound Card: Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer - $79
    Speakers: Logitech THX Z-5300e 5.1 Speakers - $123
    DVD-/+RW: Samsung SH-S203B 20X SATA - $31
    Communications: Onboard LAN - $0
    Mouse: Logitech MX Revolution Laser Cordless Mouse - $75
    Keyboard: Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboard - $70
    Operating System: Windows Vista Home Premium - $112
    Floppy: Generic - $5

    Total: $2,472


    Intel Core 2 Duo System

    Case: ThermalTake Armor VA8000BWS Full Tower - $150
    Power Supply: Cooler Master Real Power 650W - $125
    Processor: Core 2 Duo E6850 (3.0GHz) Retail - $284
    Cooling: Retail HSF - $0
    Motherboard: ASUS P5N32-E SLI - $205
    Memory: 2x1GB Corsair XMS2-6400 DHX (TWIN2X2048-6400C4DHX) - $110
    Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750GB SATA - $200
    Video Card: GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB - $525
    Monitor: Dell UltraSharp 2007WFP 20.1" LCD - $399
    Sound Card: Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer - $79
    Speakers: Logitech THX Z-5300e 5.1 Speakers - $123
    DVD-/+RW: Samsung SH-S203B 20X SATA - $31
    Communications: Onboard LAN - $0
    Mouse: Logitech MX Revolution Laser Cordless Mouse - $75
    Keyboard: Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboard - $70
    Operating System: Windows Vista Home Premium - $112
    Floppy: Generic - $5

    Total: $2,493


    Closing Remarks

    This guide offered us a prime opportunity to upgrade the most important part of any gaming system, and we took full advantage. The price drops and new product introductions fattened up our budget to a sufficient level that a powerhouse GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB video card became a reality. This was also done without cutting corners in other areas, and we even managed to upgrade processors to the Athlon 64 X2 6400+ and Core 2 Duo E6850 along the way. There were a few other smaller improvements, such as the Cooler Master 650W PSU and Samsung SATA DVD writer. The only area we made any concession on was the hard drive, choosing to go with a single Seagate Barracuda 750GB drive rather than a dual 500GB configuration.

    The latest system configurations certainly upgrade both the AMD and Intel systems, but the powerful 3.0 GHz Core 2 Duo E6850 definitely gives the performance advantage to Intel. These new 1333 MHz processors are incredible values, and even the latest 3.2 GHz Athlon 64 X2 6400+ cannot compete in terms of the price-performance ratio. Even so, we're looking at two very powerful gaming systems, with hotrod GeForce 8800 GTX-based graphics, powerful dual-core processors, and all the other peripherals needed for a serious gaming platform priced at under $2500.

    Please note that the prices in our guide do not include shipping costs or taxes. The final system price also reflects a "best case" scenario of finding an online vendor that stocks the majority of internal components, or having access to a number of local computer retailers for system quotes and comparison shopping. Also, throughout the compilation of this guide, we have made every attempt to ensure availability and realistic street pricing of the included components.


    Page 1 Introduction and Case
    Page 2 Processors and Cooling
    Page 3 Motherboards
    Page 4 Memory, Hard Drive and DVD Writer
    Page 5 Video Card, LCD Display and Audio
    Page 6 Mouse and Keyboard
    Page 7 Communications, Operating System, etc.
  • Page 8 Price Roundup and Closing Remarks

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