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Sharky Extreme : Monthly Value Gaming System Buyer's Guide September 9, 2009





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    May Value Gaming PC Buyer's Guide
    By Vince Freeman :  May 19, 2008

    Price Roundup

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 System

    Case: RAIDMAX Smilodon ATX-612WBP (with 500W PSU) - $94
    CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+ (3.2 GHz) Retail - $160
    Cooling: included Retail HSF - $0
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-MA790X-DS4 (AMD 790X) AM2+ - $123
    Memory: Corsair XMS2 PC2-6400 2x1-GB - $48
    Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar SE16 320GB SATA 3.0 Gb/s - $70
    Video Card: GeForce 9600 GT 512MB (PCIe) - $144
    Monitor: 19" LCD with 5-8ms Refresh - $165
    Sound Card: 8-Channel Integrated - $0
    Speakers: Logitech X-530 6-Piece Speaker System - $55
    CD/DVD-ROM: Samsung SH-S203B 20X SATA DVD Writer - $24
    Communications: Onboard LAN - $0
    Mouse: Logitech MX310 - $24
    Keyboard: Microsoft Digital Media Pro Keyboard - $15
    Operating System: Windows XP Home or Vista Home Basic- $82

    Total: $1,004


    Intel Core 2 Duo System

    Case: RAIDMAX Smilodon ATX-612WBP (with 500W PSU) - $94
    CPU: Core 2 Duo E8200 (2.66GHz) Retail - $185
    Cooling: included Retail HSF - $0
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L (P35) - $90
    Memory: Corsair XMS2 PC2-6400 2x1-GB - $48
    Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar SE16 320GB SATA 3.0 Gb/s - $70
    Video Card: GeForce 9600 GT 512MB (PCIe) - $144
    Monitor: 19" LCD with 5-8ms Refresh - $165
    Sound Card: 8-Channel Integrated - $0
    Speakers: Logitech X-530 6-Piece Speaker System - $55
    CD/DVD-ROM: Samsung SH-S203B 20X SATA DVD Writer - $24
    Communications: Onboard LAN - $0
    Mouse: Logitech MX310 - $24
    Keyboard: Microsoft Digital Media Pro Keyboard - $15
    Operating System: Windows XP Home or Vista Home Basic- $82

    Total: $996


    Closing Remarks

    Our newest Value Gaming PC Buyer's Guide configurations may not represent a total overhaul of the AMD and Intel platforms, but we have made some notable upgrades. Both the Athlon 64 X2 6400+ and Core 2 Duo E8200 represent improvements over previous selections, as does the larger 320GB hard drive, the 20X Samsung SH-S203B DVD writer, and the AMD 790X motherboard. Of course, we've saved the best for last, and the GeForce 9600 GT 512MB has the sheer power and low price to make a perfect video card upgrade for any entry-level gaming system.

    While both the AMD and Intel gaming systems continue to show high performance levels, we still have to give the edge to the Intel configuration. The 2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo E8200 represents not only a performance advantage over the Athlon 64 X2 6400+, bit it also runs cooler, uses less power and overclocks much better. The Athlon 64 X2 6400+ is certainly no slouch, but the lack of a higher-clocked Phenom does hurt the AMD cause.

    Overall, both the AMD and Intel system configurations are very solid, with high-end PCI Express motherboards, a 19" LCD, a 7200 RPM SATA 3.0 Gb/s hard drive, a SATA DVD writer, and a blazing fast GeForce 9600 GT 512MB PCIe video card. If overall value is your main goal, these AMD and Intel gaming PCs certainly deliver, and both offer a noticeable price-performance advantage over our higher-end buyer's guide configurations.

    * 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.


    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 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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