This week, we are relaunching our Buyer's Guides due to popular demand, and honestly, we've been wanting to bring them back for a while. We've reworked our format a little bit and have added an overclocking guide for enthusiasts. Every week, you'll see a new Buyer's Guide, and after the end of each month, we will retool our guides to reflect the new hardware and pricing of that particular time period. Here's the basic format of our Buyer's Guide:

Week 1: Budget System
Week 2: Mid Range System
Week 3: Cutting Edge System
Week 4: Overclocking System

For every component that goes into a computer, we pick our favorite piece of hardware as well as our runner-up piece of hardware. We've added runner-up hardware picks to our guides because it allows AnandTech to recommend a wider variety of hardware (especially for those willing to spend a little more than what we budget for a particular system). At the same time, we can be assertive enough with a first place recommendation so that new buyers aren't indecisive or confused about what to purchase. Most of the prices listed for the hardware that we recommend can be found in our very own RealTime Pricing Engine. Any prices not found in our engine can be found on pricewatch.com. In addition to our Buyer's Guides and RealTime pricing engine, we suggest that you peruse our Price Guides so that you are not only informed about the best hardware for your computing needs, but also where to find the best deals on that hardware.

We are always taking suggestions on how to improve our Buyer's Guides. If you feel we are not including a wide enough variety of systems in our guides, please let us know and we can see if it warrants an additional weekly Buyer's Guide.

Budget Computing

Our Budget systems are mainly concerned about pricing, with reliability a close second consideration. While we certainly take into account performance, we do not consider it a vital part of building a budget system; it is merely something that is considered when price and reliability have been established. This is not to say performance is ignored because that is just not the case. We like to think that we will end up picking a balanced array of hardware based on price, reliability and performance, in that order, for today's Budget Buyer's Guide.

Read on to find out more.
Budget System
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  • kherman - Tuesday, February 17, 2004 - link

    Love the article. I just wish a budget 19" was ercomended. That's probably the one major upgrade a budget user would want. Whether for gaming or office type work, that's an important choice.

    IMHO, in the future, several monitors of varrying sizes should be listed each week.

    Just saying, in the future, consider multiple monitor sizes for each week's category that match the cost associated with that week.

    I suppose the big argument is that for my needs of Office programs and occasional gaming, I need little more than a budget rig, but I still wanth te 19 inch monitor to give my eyes something big to look at. I suppose that's true for alot of 27 year old married people ;)

    EXCELENMT REVIEW!

    It's good to see these rig ideas again. Thanks for bringing them back. With time at a minimum, it's a VERY nice way to keep up with PC technology.

    Karl
    Reply
  • capodeloscapos - Tuesday, February 17, 2004 - link

    I cant believe that the photos are BMPs!!!!! (who is the HTML editor of that page?)
    In my 56 K modem its really annoying.
    Change it for JPEG, please.
    Reply
  • Cygni - Tuesday, February 17, 2004 - link

    I would have gone with a Duron 1.6 Applebred, a Shuttle AN35N-Ultra, and a Radeon 9100... but thats me. Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Tuesday, February 17, 2004 - link

    Weird... I really didn't double-post that. Clicked once, got the first 20 posts, went to page 2, and there were two posts. I guess it was just a glitch in the system. Or maybe a Ghost in the Shell? :p Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Tuesday, February 17, 2004 - link

    And no, I don't work for Newegg. That's just where I get all my parts. Personally, regardless of where you shop, I think it's best to get everything from one supplier if possible. It helps on warranty issues, and you usually save on shipping. I'm sure ZipZoomFly.com and several other places could end up at a relatively close price to what I list from Newegg. Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Tuesday, February 17, 2004 - link

    And no, I don't work for Newegg. That's just where I get all my parts. Personally, regardless of where you shop, I think it's best to get everything from one supplier if possible. It helps on warranty issues, and you usually save on shipping. I'm sure ZipZoomFly.com and several other places could end up at a relatively close price to what I list from Newegg. Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Tuesday, February 17, 2004 - link

    Actually, here's my take on a killer deal for a really good system. It has 1 GB RAM, 2500+, 80GB hard drive, 9600 video card, and 5.1 speakers. Anyway, it's a lot more than your budget system, but it could be downgraded (like only 512MB RAM and a 9200 video card, and drop the speakers) quite easily. For about $900 without software, or $1150 with shipping, two year warranty, and Windows XP Professional, it's more of the mid-range category. Still, I like it. I've built this exact system for one guy who only games occasionally, and he thinks it's great.

    Link:
    http://secure.newegg.com/app/WishR.asp?ID=600488
    Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Tuesday, February 17, 2004 - link

    I suppose you should probably start by giving a definition of "budget" systems. For me, I consider budget to be around $750, mid-range to be $1250, and high-end to be anything more than $1500. $500 is a "Dell Special" where you end up going with the bare minimum for a new system. An extra $250 spent would have allowed you to double the RAM, double the hard drive, get a 19" monitor, and go with a nicer case like an Antec. Oh, well.

    My biggest complaint about the setup has to be the monitor, though. I'm not sure about the Samsung, but I have a ton of NEC FE771SB monitors at work. (Okay, 140 of them, not a "ton".) They're okay, but at $175, that's way more than I would be willing to pay. First, image clarity is not that great, IMO. Second, the "Super Bright" option is just plain stupid. I would have liked to see a 19" monitor like the Samsung recommend as a runner up. It costs $20 more, but getting a really good monitor can be a very long-term investment. It's the one piece of equipment that could actually last ten years or more! (I have a Cornerstone 21" monitor that I purchased six years ago, and I'm still perfectly happy with it. $550 then, and a comparable monitor still costs $400.)

    So, here's my recommended monitor:
    Samsung 955DF-T/T for $175

    http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?desc...

    Shipping would add about $20 or $25, depending on where you live. (I'm west cost, but east coast might be significantly more from Newegg.)
    Reply
  • Evan Lieb - Tuesday, February 17, 2004 - link

    Actually, make that $135 OEM. Students get a discount on their OSes, but it depends on what university you attend. Check with your university book store. Reply
  • Evan Lieb - Tuesday, February 17, 2004 - link

    Thanks for the comments guys.

    Yeah, there's a typo with the WinXP Pro price, it should be $137 shipped (OEM version). For some reason I didn't change that before posting the article.

    As far as choosing the HDD is concerned, extra storage or speed really isn't all that important if it ends up costing more, this is a budget system. Though, I suppose I should have recommended the 9200SE instead, but that's why I put it in as a runner-up. :)
    Reply

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