Index

Today, we release our fourth Buyer's Guide in the last 4 weeks. You can look forward to Buyer's Guides during the middle of every week and then, after the end of each month, we will retool our guides to reflect the new hardware and pricing of that particular time period. In case you haven't read our new Buyer's Guides yet, here's the basic format of them to be released on a weekly basis:

Week 1: Entry Level System
Week 2: Mid-Range System
Week 3: High End System
Week 4: Overclocking System

For every component that goes into a computer, we offer our recommendation for a piece of hardware as well as our alternative on that type of hardware. We've added alternative 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). Alternative picks tell you just that - your alternatives, which in some cases will be better suited for your needs, and in some cases, will not be. But at the same time, we can still 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. We list pertinent parts of our RealTime pricing engine at the bottom of every page of our Buyer's Guides so that you can choose the lowest prices from a large variety of vendors all by yourself.

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.

Overclocking

What we're going to tell you here are probably things you already know. For example, if you're considering overclocking, you're probably someone who has at least an interest in computer technology and most likely, are someone who just wants to squeeze as much performance as possible from their system without spending big bucks. If you're considering overclocking, you probably also know that overclocking hardware is never guaranteed; sometimes you'll receive components that overclock through the roof and sometimes you'll receive a dud. What you should know and keep in mind is that overclocking can damage your hardware and your data, and usually isn't covered under warranty, often times voiding warranties. Also keep in mind that this isn't an overclocking system meant for people who have cash to burn, so you're not going to see elaborate water cooling setups or ridiculous liquid nitro cooling solutions; our overclocking systems are cooled by air (fans). Granted, we're recommending the best air cooling available.

Keeping that information in mind, our overclocking systems always put stability before performance. While that may sound contradictory, knowing that the whole point of overclocking is to basically gain more performance from your system, a high performance system is nothing if it's unreliable and crash happy. Therefore, with stability first and performance a very close second, price is a more distant consideration. Remember, though, that price is still important enough that this is not meant to be a high end system, even though it'll perform better than one. For more information on our picks for high end components, take a look at last week's High End Buyer's Guide.

Now that that's all clear, read on to find out our picks for best overclocking components this week...

CPU and Motherboard Recommendations
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  • KristopherKubicki - Saturday, March 13, 2004 - link

    Soundstorm for me!

    Kristopher
    Reply
  • OdieQ - Friday, March 12, 2004 - link

    I see that you always recommend Creative sound cards. I have found that Creative produce cards of consistently lower quality than for example M-Audio or Terratec, at about the same price point. Now, I haven't tested Creative cards for a while, have they significantly increased their quality? What do the SoundBlaster cards offer that the alternatives do not? Reply
  • roostercrows - Friday, March 12, 2004 - link

    zebo... took your advice on the mobile. did it, got it, thank you! all that's left is to decide on the video card. "to spend or not to spend? that is the question." no time to hurry. ;) Reply
  • Zebo - Thursday, March 11, 2004 - link

    roostercrows...you need to go to newegg.com click shop by catagory, click processors, click amd moblie... they have both t-bred and barton cores...Better hurry.:) Reply
  • roostercrows - Thursday, March 11, 2004 - link

    Nice job Evan, the article was worth waiting for.

    Noob that I am, I can't seem to find anyone selling the "mobile" version of the 2500+. I called all the suppliers listed at the top of the "CPU" page and the buyer for one very well known e-tailer told me that "We didn't think that it would sell so we don't carry it". AMD told me that it was "just for lap-tops and not really sold to the public. Hmmmmmm?
    I are confused!

    Please tell me where I can purchase one online? I promise that I won't tell anyone you told.
    Reply
  • siamesenick - Thursday, March 11, 2004 - link

    Evan, I was talking about the replacement for Black Level II, not actual level II: http://www.newegg.com/app/viewproduct.asp?descript... Reply
  • Hugenstein - Thursday, March 11, 2004 - link

    The ram...

    http://www.excaliberpc.com/product_info.php?cPath=...
    Reply
  • araczynski - Thursday, March 11, 2004 - link

    overall a very nice primer for those looking to jump into the hobby.

    I would question the logic of putting a 9600 level card into a speed demon as it pretty much nullifies the whole point of the overclocking in the first place i would imagine, i mean i can't imagine people overclock so their excel spreadsheets calculate faster....

    i realize the 9600 level (and the alternative from nvidia 5700/5800?) aren't exactly slowpokes, but with prices right now there's no reason for an overclocker to go below 9800/5900.

    my humble opinion anyway :)

    i like the article though. i'm more then happy with my little 2.4 @ 3.3 (zalman 7000cu on the way though ;)
    Reply
  • Jeff7181 - Thursday, March 11, 2004 - link

    Now if only I could find the Muskin Twin pack you mentioned for the price you quoted... Reply
  • Jeff7181 - Thursday, March 11, 2004 - link

    Very well put together, Evan. I was a bit skeptical about whether it would be a useful article... what I was looking for was RAM recommendations since I just ordered a Mobile XP2500 and my current RAM won't do more than 208 Mhz no matter what the timings or voltage. I was considering the Mushkin you recommended, and it looks like a very attractive deal, especially considering AT users get an extra 10% off directly from Mushkin. I'd prefer PC3700 though cause I've already tested my current mobo and CPU at a 233 Mhz FSB, my RAM just can't get there, I'd definately like to run at that speed with the new Mobile XP2500 that's coming. I considered OCZ, but the timings didn't look that great to me, especially for the price. I wonder if OCZ might offer a 15% discount for AT users??? :) (hint hint) Reply

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