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Sharky Extreme : Monthly Value Gaming System Buyer's Guide April 27, 2011
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Monthly Value Gaming System Buyer's Guide


August Value Gaming PC Buyer's Guide

By Vince Freeman :  August 31, 2007


AMD CPU: Athlon 64 X2 6000+ (3.0 GHz) Retail

Current Cost: $170
Consecutive Guides: New
Price Change: N/A

Our transition up the AMD processor list has been a swift one, and due to continued price drops, we have graduated to the Athlon 64 X2 6000+ for August. This powerhouse is currently the second-fastest Athlon 64 X2 processor, and the top retail package available, so it's hardly the obvious choice for a value gaming system. But at the end of the day, it comes down to price, and the new $170 tag on the Athlon 64 X2 6000+ makes it an easy upgrade from the Athlon 64 X2 5600+. There is no question that this processor represents the top AMD value right now, and $1K system buyers will be extremely pleased with its performance.

The Athlon 64 X2 6000+ processor has a clock speed of 3.0 GHz, features a top-end 2x1MB L2 cache format, and utilizes the Socket AM2 package. As the Athlon 64 X2 6400+ was only recently introduced, and is a limited edition product, the Athlon 64 X2 6000+ is now featured in all three of our buyer's guides. This is a testament to both its performance and value, and the smartest AMD strategy is to go right to the top of the chart. To help maximize our budget and ensure ease of installation, we have gone with the Retail model and its nearly free heatsink-fan. However, if you have a killer 3rd-party HSF unit in mind, then buying an OEM CPU is always an option.

Intel CPU: Core 2 Duo E6750 (2.66GHz) Retail

Current Cost: $198
Consecutive Guides: New
Price Change: N/A

If the AMD system configuration received a nice processor upgrade, get ready for a quantum leap on the Intel side. Last time out, we selected the powerful Core 2 Duo E6420, and while this 2.13 GHz model certainly did the job, you ain't seen nothing yet. Intel has introduced a series of 1.33 GHz processors at incredible prices, with the 2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo E6750 dropping below the $200 level. This brings it directly into our guide sites, and even though we'll need to tighten our belts and upgrade platforms as well, this is too good a processor to let get away.

The Core 2 Duo E6750 is one of the newer Intel dual core processors, and it utilizes the faster 1.33 GHz bus, and features a high-end 4MB Conroe core. This is a 65nm processor with a clock speed of 2.66 GHz, and can really take it to even the higher-end Athlon 64 X2 processors. It's no secret that the Core 2 Duo processors have significant overclocking potential, and considering that this model is at the baseline clock speed, the sky is literally the limit. As not everyone chooses to overclock a processor, we don't base our purchasing decision on this factor alone, it is still viewed as a nice extra. As the Core 2 Duo E6750 is right at the edge of our budget, the Intel Retail package makes the most sense, as not only do you get a nearly-free heatsink-fan and full 3-year Intel warranty, but also a sealed, totally unused and untested CPU.

AMD Heatsink-Fan: Bundled Athlon 64 X2 6000+ HSF

Current Cost: $0
Consecutive Guides: New
Price Change: N/A

The Athlon 64 X2 6000+ retail box includes a bundled heatsink-fan, and for both budgetary and ease-of-use considerations, we chose to go this route. The retail model is slightly more expensive than the OEM processor (if you can even find one), but also includes a nearly-free HSF and an extended product warranty to boot. Of course, this is simply a recommendation, and those with a particular 3rd-party HSF unit in mind should certainly go the OEM route, even though it may go a bit over our $1K budget.

Intel Heatsink-Fan: Bundled Core 2 Duo E6750 HSF

Current Cost: $0
Consecutive Guides: New
Price Change: N/A

The Core 2 Duo Retail models are priced extremely close to the OEM processors, and availability of the boxed model is higher. Sometimes, due to low availability, the OEM prices are even higher, so why waste money when Intel is giving away free heatsink-fans. The retail HSF provides more than adequate cooling for the Core 2 Duo E6750, and the installation is simple enough.

The retail Core 2 Duo coolers have passed our tests using 2.93 GHz and higher models, and we have no problem at all recommending these for our value gaming system. These Intel retail coolers may not qualify as hardcore, but still provide solid stability at base clock speeds, and have a bit extra left over for moderate overclocking.

Page 1

Introduction and Case

  • Page 2

    Processors and Cooling

    Page 3


    Page 4

    Memory, Hard Drive and DVD Writer

    Page 5

    Video Card and LCD Display

    Page 6

    Soundcard, Speakers and LAN

    Page 7

    Input Devices and Operating System

    Page 8

    Price Roundup and Closing Remarks

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