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Sharky Extreme : Monthly High-end Gaming System Buyer's Guide May 12, 2009





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    January High-end Gaming PC Buyer's Guide
    By Vince Freeman :  January 14, 2008

    Price Roundup

    AMD Phenom System

    Case: ThermalTake Armor VA8000BWS Full Tower - $140
    Power Supply: Cooler Master Real Power 650W - $120
    Processor: Phenom 9600 Black Edition (2.3 GHz) Retail - $240
    Cooling: 3rd-party HSF - $50
    Motherboard: ASUS M3A32-MVP Deluxe - $225
    Memory: 2x1GB Corsair XMS2-8500 (TWIN2X2048-8500C5) - $115
    Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750GB SATA - $187
    Video Card: GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB - $455
    Monitor: Westinghouse L2410NM 24" LCD - $399
    Sound Card: Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer - $80
    Speakers: Logitech THX Z-5300e 5.1 Speakers - $135
    DVD-/+RW: Samsung SH-S203B 20X SATA - $30
    Communications: Onboard LAN - $0
    Mouse: Logitech MX Revolution Laser Cordless Mouse - $75
    Keyboard: Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboard - $85
    Operating System: Windows Vista Home Premium - $111
    Floppy: Generic - $5

    Total: $2,452


    Intel Core 2 Duo System

    Case: ThermalTake Armor VA8000BWS Full Tower - $140
    Power Supply: Cooler Master Real Power 650W - $120
    Processor: Core 2 Duo E8400 (3.0GHz) Retail - $245
    Cooling: Retail HSF - $0
    Motherboard: ASUS P5E - $220
    Memory: 2x1GB Corsair XMS2-8500 (TWIN2X2048-8500C5) - $115
    Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750GB SATA - $187
    Video Card: GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB - $455
    Monitor: Westinghouse L2410NM 24" LCD - $399
    Sound Card: Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer - $80
    Speakers: Logitech THX Z-5300e 5.1 Speakers - $135
    DVD-/+RW: Samsung SH-S203B 20X SATA - $30
    Communications: Onboard LAN - $0
    Mouse: Logitech MX Revolution Laser Cordless Mouse - $75
    Keyboard: Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboard - $85
    Operating System: Windows Vista Home Premium - $111
    Floppy: Generic - $5

    Total: $2,402


    Closing Remarks

    Our latest high-end PC buyer's guide offers a slightly different take on both the AMD and Intel system configurations. Even with all the release issues, the unlocked Phenom 9600 Black Edition is the right call, but we still wish that higher-clocked Phenom dual and tri-core models were available for comparison. The Intel side is more cut-and-dried, as the January 20 arrival of a 3.0 GHz 45nm Wolfdale (and at under $250) makes waiting a few days the only logical option.

    The two high-end platforms also received a few additional upgrades. First off, we have some new motherboards, which then led to the speed infusion of 2GB of DDR2-1066. The shift to a Westinghouse 24" LCD is a no-brainer, as prices have come down considerably at this level, and it is an 8-bit panel with an 8ms response time. Other than that, this high-end guide was mostly business as usual, with some price drops and small changes here and there, but nothing that significant.

    The latest system configurations do offer improvements to both the AMD and Intel systems, but the upcoming 45nm Wolfdale release will keep the performance advantage firmly with Intel. These 45nm dual core processors are looking like incredible values, and while the Phenom 9600 BE will get thumped in terms of gaming performance, the comparison against the Athlon 64 X2 would be even worse. Even so, we're looking at two very powerful gaming systems, with hotrod GeForce 8800 GTX-based graphics, powerful dual-core processors, dual-channel DDR2-1066 memory. 24" LCDs, and all the other high-end 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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