Index

As we detailed in our last few Guides, the guides for High End System and Overclocking System will now come from Wesley Fink, AnandTech's Motherboard, Memory and Chipset Editor. Once the new schedule is in full swing, Wes will have a new guide for each area once a month. Evan Lieb will continue the Entry and Mid-Level Buyer's Guides. Evan will also add some new guides, with the goal of a new Buyer's Guide every week once the new guides are launched. The final Buyer's Guide additions are still in the works, so if you have a recommendation for Evan for a Buyer's Guide that you would like to see, then email your ideas to Evan.

Overclocking recommendations are really quite different from High-End recommendations. We would not recommend a 2.8GHz P4 CPU for a High-End system, but it might be a natural choice for an OC guide if that 2.8 routinely reached 3.8GHz on air cooling. There are really two points to overclocking, and they are sometimes in conflict. The first goal is to squeeze the absolute best performance possible out of a given setup, and this can involve some expensive components. The second goal is to reach the highest performance possible with the cheapest part possible, which represents the best value. Sometimes you can't accomplish both of these at once, so you may see some recommendations with what, at first, appear to be strange alternates. We also can't be all things to all overclockers, so we will spell out some ground rules on the next page.

As in past Guides, we offer a recommendation for every component that goes into a computer. Our recommendation is our First Choice and we will try to explain why we chose that component. For some components, we will also offer an 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. This is especially true for those willing to spend a little more or to recommend a cheaper component that is of outstanding value. Alternative picks provide you other choices, which in some cases will be better suited for your needs, and in other cases, will not be.

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. Relevant parts of our RealTime pricing engine are listed 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.

We are always taking suggestions on how to improve our Buyer's Guides, and the changes that you are seeing here are the result of suggestions from our readers and Editors.. Considerations for future guides include a Buyer's Guide for SFF (Small Form Factor systems), Gaming System, and Laptop/DTP (Desk-Top Replacement). If you have other suggestions, let us know by emailing them to Evan; the Guides are to help you with your buying decisions.

Overclocking Ground Rules
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  • rwinder - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - link

    I think it is a wonderful guide. Kudos for having the nads to do it, knowing that there would be "experts" that would give you crap about your recommendations. Don't let them deter you.

    One suggestion: Could you benchmark the performance of your recommendations (and alternatives) so us readers can make the price/value judgements?
    Reply
  • mindless1 - Monday, August 02, 2004 - link

    Seems kinda like we had to read whole article to get to the end, no?

    The point is, primary suggested parts were NOT appropriate for a "value o'c" system. Value does not mean merely not to choose most expensive parts in one or two areas. FOr the described value system there would be zero benefit to spending the extra $150 (over what needed spec parts would cost) on fancier case/PSU, and only a half-dozen %, at best difference in memory costing twice as much... that's not value at all, it's much higher than avg cost for new system in the market today.
    Reply
  • lazerasa - Monday, August 02, 2004 - link

    You people whining about the case, memory, and video card on the value selections... read the systems summary page, there are other, cheaper recommendations there. Read the whole artice before you start your whining. Reply
  • mindless1 - Monday, August 02, 2004 - link

    CM Stacker is a nice case but c'mon, who's going to build a value o'c system and spend $262 on case + PSU?

    Likewise, someone would have to be kinda stupid to spend $300-odd $ on high end memory for the value o'c system unless /required/ by the particular 'board just to get 1GB or more stable. Other suggested systems would be a more appropriate platform for that memory.

    BTW, the OCZ 520W PSU is not all that great. It IS fancy, but the base design (including after the cosmetic tweaks) cannot support 520W. Sadly it may be no better than a Sparkle 350W yet priced 3X higher. Don't be fooled by a $3 big anodized heatsink or "good" reviews where they don't subject it to a heavy load... after all that was the whole point of 520W, no? TO someone who knows PSU, it only takes a very short glance at that PSU to know why it can't support 520W.
    Reply
  • cnq - Saturday, July 31, 2004 - link

    Wesley,

    I agree with many of the comments: we may not agree with all your picks, but we really like the enthusiasm and obvious energy that you've poured into your picks and your writeup.

    Now for a little more feedback :)

    There wasn't any "value" video card pick.
    Was that intentional, or an oversight? I can understand that the next gen vid cards are *so* far ahead in performance that you would urge your readers to spring for one, but still it seems that you should toss in a value pick.

    So, thinking of the Athlon2500 buyer who (presumably) can't spring $400 for a next-gen vid card, what would you recommend in the $175-$199 price range? My picks would be a 9800pro followed by a 5900XT. (True, the 5900XT was born to overclock [390-->500 seems the norm ], but that doesn't mean it catches up to an overclocked 98pro in absolute performance.)
    Reply
  • rjm55 - Saturday, July 31, 2004 - link

    29 and Wesley
    Thanks for clearing up the Athlon XP mobile info. I was a bit confused with the difference in the specs with desktop Barton, but now its clear. If you gotta have a XP, it looks like the 2600+ Mobile is now the one to get.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, July 30, 2004 - link

    #29 - You are correct and I actually do know better. The multipliers and FSB have been corrected in the Athlon XP section on page 6.

    #31, #32, and #33 - I fully understand that many look at overclocking to bring more value to their computer buying. There are also others who use overclocking to bring new performance highs to their computer platform. As I stated in the review, these 2 goals are often at odds. That is exactly the reason I have done BOTH Performance OC and Value OC recommendations and alternates.

    If Value is your main OC concern, then throw all the rocks you like at my Value picks, but please don't assume the Performance OC buyers don't exist or don't matter. I can assure you from emails and discussions on Forums that Performance OC is also an important concern for many buyers who OC their systems.
    Reply
  • WheelsCSM - Thursday, July 29, 2004 - link

    I agree with Z80. While I understand that different people view value differently, I can't see how a $390 video card or $175 case can be considered value in anyone's book. Other than that, I think this was an excellent article, and I look forward to future overclocking system recommendations. Reply
  • Z80 - Thursday, July 29, 2004 - link

    I'd say that most of your readers, like me, see overclocking as just another means to squeeze more "bang-for-the-buck" out of our PC dollars. We like to run well in the benchmarks but at the same time spend half of what a typical Dell customer might spend for the same performance. In my opinion, you missed your "Value OC" goal by a mile. If it wan't for your last statement "go with a cheaper case for $100 less. Second, buy an ATI 9800 PRO for $200 less and overclock the heck out of it. Third, go for one of the CAS 2.5 value DDR400 memories from Corsair, Geil, OCZ, Kingston, and others; this could save you about $125. These three substitutions reduce the price by $425 and get the core system price down to $836" Maybe you should look at factoring in a bang-for-your-buck cost comparison factor like you did with a recent video card review. Reply
  • Z80 - Thursday, July 29, 2004 - link

    I'd say that most of your readers, like me, see overclocking as just another means to squeeze more "bang-for-the-buck" out of our PC dollars. We like to run well in the benchmarks but at the same time spend half of what a typical Dell customer might spend for the same performance. In my opinion, you missed your "Value OC" goal by a mile. If it wan't for your last statement "go with a cheaper case for $100 less. Second, buy an ATI 9800 PRO for $200 less and overclock the heck out of it. Third, go for one of the CAS 2.5 value DDR400 memories from Corsair, Geil, OCZ, Kingston, and others; this could save you about $125. These three substitutions reduce the price by $425 and get the core system price down to $836" Maybe you should look at factoring in a bang-for-your-buck cost comparison factor like you did with a recent video card review. Reply

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