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Sharky Extreme : Monthly High-end Gaming System Buyer's Guide February 26, 2012
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Monthly High-end Gaming System Buyer's Guide

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February High-end Gaming PC Buyer's Guide

By Vince Freeman :  February 23, 2009

Price Roundup

AMD Phenom II X4 System

Case: Thermaltake Armor Series VA8003BWS Full Tower - $169
Power Supply: Cooler Master Real Power 750W - $129
Processor: Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition (3.0 GHz) Retail - $230
Cooling: 3rd-party HSF - $60
Motherboard: ASUS M3A79-T Deluxe (AMD 790FX) - $200
Memory: 2x2GB Corsair Dominator PC2-8500 (TWIN2X4096-8500C5DF) - $117
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA - $129
Video Card: Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB - $440
Monitor: BenQ G2400WD 24" LCD - $370
Sound Card: Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer - $91
Speakers: Logitech G51 5.1 Speakers - $150
DVD-/+RW: Samsung SH-S223Q 22X SATA DVD Writer /w LS - $30
Communications: Onboard LAN - $0
Mouse: Logitech G9 Laser Mouse/ MX Revolution Laser Cordless - $85
Keyboard: Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboard - $80
Operating System: Windows Vista Home Premium - $100
Floppy: Generic - $5

Total: $2,385


Intel Core i7 System

Case: Thermaltake Armor Series VA8003BWS Full Tower - $169
Power Supply: Cooler Master Real Power 750W - $129
Processor: Core i7-920 (2.66 GHz) Retail - $288
Cooling: 3rd-party HSF - $60
Motherboard: MSI X58 Platinum SLI (X58) - $225
Memory: 3x1GB Corsair XMS3 PC3-12800 (TR3X3G1600C9) - $120
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA - $129
Video Card: Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB - $440
Monitor: BenQ G2400WD 24" LCD - $370
Sound Card: Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer - $91
Speakers: Logitech G51 5.1 Speakers - $150
DVD-/+RW: Samsung SH-S223Q 22X SATA DVD Writer /w LS - $30
Communications: Onboard LAN - $0
Mouse: Logitech G9 Laser Mouse/ MX Revolution Laser Cordless - $85
Keyboard: Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboard - $80
Operating System: Windows Vista Home Premium - $100
Floppy: Generic - $5

Total: $2,471


Closing Remarks

Our latest AMD and Intel system configurations include almost a complete overhaul of the performance components, along with upgrades in a few other key areas. The addition of Phenom II X4 and Core i7 processors certainly increases the CPU performance, and the Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB graphics card takes gaming speeds to the next level. The new Intel X58 chipset does offer improved memory performance, while the AMD motherboard is simply a more updated platform base.

We also like the Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA hard drive, as a dual processor architecture makes it the fastest 7200-RPM model that money can buy. The upgraded Thermaltake Armor Series VA8003BWS is not that big a shift, and is similar to the 22X write speed increase of the Samsung SH-S223Q drive. In terms of overall performance, we'd have to give the nod to the Core i7-powered Intel system, but this guide still represents a major upgrade to both systems, as the three main components (video card, CPU and motherboard) have been updated.

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