Doom 3 has been quite a learning experience for all of us at AnandTech. Some of the things that we expected to find just never panned out when we ran Doom 3, such as the concerns that Doom 3 would not run on most systems. In fact, Doom 3 will run on most of the recent systems out there. Other things were a real surprise, like the fact that the ATI 9800 PRO is a medium resolution card to Doom 3 and it is GPU bound above anything but base performance levels. Doom 3 eats video cards for lunch, and while you will get a usable screen with most video cards, you really have to feed it top-end video for best results.

You have already seen the Doom 3 Week reviews, but in case you missed anything, you can find the answers in the earlier reviews this week:

Doom 3 Sound Guide
Doom 3: CPU Battlegrounds
Doom 3 Graphics Deathmatch

The purpose of this Doom 3 Buyer's Guide is take all that we've learned in these reviews and make some basic recommendations for a killer Doom 3 system. Since desires, designs, and pocketbooks are different, you will find three recommendations here - Performance, Mainstream, and Value. Because we've covered a lot of the components here in our ongoing Buyer's Guides, we will concentrate on the unique components for Doom 3 - mainly the CPU, motherboard, graphics card, and memory. The rest of the components have been pulled from our most recent Buyer's Guides, which you can find under the "Guides" tab at the top of the page.

Performance Doom 3 System

The Performance system for Doom 3 is the best of the best - the highest performing components in Doom 3 that were found in this week's testing. The goal here is to build the best Doom 3 system, with no concern for price. After selecting the core components, the rest of the components leaned heavily on recommendations from our most recent High-End Buyer's Guide and Overclocking Buyer's Guide.

Mainstream Doom 3

Consider the Mainstream Doom 3 System to be the "bang-for-the-buck" choice - the best value that will bring you performance close to the best. Most of you will likely be most interested in the choices for the Mainstream Doom 3 box. Since Doom 3 requires some high-end components to really shine, some of the recommendations are a little different from our other Buyer's Guides. We referred to the most recent Mid-Range Buyer's Guide, the Overclocking Buyer's Guide, and recent AnandTech reviews for other component recommendations.

Value Doom 3

The Value System for Doom 3 is the cheapest system that we could put together, which will bring a usable and satisfying level of performance to Doom 3. We've leaned heavily on the positioning charts in this week's review to bring a level of playing satisfaction to a budget Doom 3 system. The rest of the components are pulled from Mid-Range, Entry-Level and Overclocking Buyers' Guides.

Memory for Doom 3
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  • Wesley Fink - Monday, August 09, 2004 - link

    #41 - This is a Buyers Guide for Doom 3. I doubt your friend would go out to buy a Ti200 system to play Doom 3. If $278 is too much video card for you then you could save $78 with a 9800 PRO and have half the framerate at 1024x768. Or you could save $140 by getting a 9600XT or 5700 Ultra and still get playable (over 30FPS) frame rates at lower quality at 640x480 and 800x600.

    Value means best performance for the buck as I see it. The two options above gave up too much perfomance for the savings in my opinion, but you are entitled to your opinion.

    Perhaps I should have added a 4th Category called CHEAP Doom 3 System - if it can boot the game it is A-OK by me :-)
    Reply
  • brian_riendeau - Monday, August 09, 2004 - link

    $1000 value system? I thought I went to AnandTech, not Dell.com.

    Not everyone needs a $300 video card to be happy. You are WAY to caught up in "...another $100 you can get 40% more performance". Do you actually need that 40% more to enjoy the game? No. The game runs fine on cards much slower than a 6800. I have a friend who plays the game on a GF3 Ti200. I am not sure what his settings are, but the game runs fine for him. Maybe the difference is that he actually spends his time playing the game, not staring at textures on the walls and looking for 10 more frames per second to help kill those zombies.

    //Editted
    Reply
  • brian_riendeau - Monday, August 09, 2004 - link

    $1000 value system? I thought I went to AnandTech, not Dell.com.

    Not everyone needs a $300 video card to be happy. You are WAY to caught up in "well another $100 you can get 40% more performance". Do you actually need that 40% more to enjoy the game? No. The game runs fine on card must slower than a 6800. I have a friend who plays the game on a Ti200. I am not sure what his settings are, but the game runs fine for him. Maybe the difference is that he actually spends his time playing the games, now staring at textures on the walls and looking for 10% more frames.
    Reply
  • Zebo - Monday, August 09, 2004 - link

    I always thought "value" was the highest point in the price to performance curve.

    If the Fx-53 were 8X faster than the A64 2800+ it would constitute a value as well. But since it's only about 30% faster for 700% more money it's a horrendous value.

    This is why a lot of builders above are correct in recommending the 9800pro instead of the generic 6800. In fact, either the more expensive 6800 GT or the 9800pro repersent the best "value" of all video cards out right now since thier price to performance curve is the highest.

    Anyway I agree with you guys, get the 9800 then a real nice monitor, which will make a huge diff:

    9800pro OC $190
    A64 2800 OC to 2.4 $140
    ChainTech $70
    Cheapest branded 512 cas 2.5 $75
    NEC diamondtron DP930SB-BK 19" $280
    Antec case Slk3700w 350W $65
    Sony combo drive $40
    Samsung 80 giger $63
    Logitech Z640 5.1 $55

    =980

    Reply
  • link130 - Sunday, August 08, 2004 - link

    reply to #32 Wesley Fink

    you forget that we are talking about "Value PC" which is synonymous with "Buget PC" I also said you can upgrade the 9800pro to a 6800 with $80. with a 6800 the difference btw a 2800+ A64 and a 2.4ghz barton are very small if you refer to the charts on this site.
    Reply
  • Murst - Sunday, August 08, 2004 - link

    The review seems to make some good reccomendations... except I really cannot see why you would reccomend a 3400+ over a 3500+ when the difference in price is 75$ and the socket 939 has a future. I suppose if its ONLY to play Doom3....

    Reply
  • mickey - Sunday, August 08, 2004 - link

    What I would really like to see in future articles especially based on a single game (no doubt the same will be done for hl2) is benchmarks of the corresponding systems so that we can make a decision as to whether or not going for a better system is worth the extra $$$$ Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Sunday, August 08, 2004 - link

    Yes, it is a bit freaky, pliers. I would also personally choose the 2800+ at just $27 more for twice the cache and 64-bit architecture. The 2800+ is also a decent overclocker. Reply
  • pliers - Sunday, August 08, 2004 - link

    freaky that twice now youre like a few mins a head of me. Reply
  • pliers - Sunday, August 08, 2004 - link

    So now your price is around $782. It a nice system but I would still lean more towards the anandtech system with the 2800+ a64 cpu which totals $1025. If you look at the two systems for $240 more youre getting a geforce 6800, a 19" monitor, and a 64bit processor. Thats insane for $240 more. Reply

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