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 - Sunday, August 08, 2004 - link

    #21 - A recent storage article said there was no need for RAID on the desktop. It did not say there was no need for Raptors. In fact the title of the first article using the new storage benchmarks was "WD Raptors vs. the World" Reply
  • Avalon - Sunday, August 08, 2004 - link

    On another note, you just had an article a while ago saying that there are no need for Raptor HD's on a desktop system, yet you recommend it for the performance segment. May I ask why we should waste $175 on this drive when you yourselves said we had no need for it? Especially if the main goal of this rig is just to play Doom 3. Reply
  • Avalon - Sunday, August 08, 2004 - link

    I'm most definitely complaining about value, not crap. Mainstream Doom 3, while higher than general, is definitely not that freaking high. Who would buy a Dell for a GAMING system? This guide is for those who BUILD there own, so Dell has absolutely nothing to do with this, nor do their horrendously expensive computers. For a mainstream Doom 3 experience, a 6800GT was quoted as being required. This is a $400 card that allows you to practically play the game at 16x12 with AF and AA. Are mainstream Doom 3 users going to run at this setting? No. Even the value recommendations will run Doom 3 at 12x10, no sweat. Value should be those looking to play the game, but not having to spend much money and not caring about high res and eye candy. This is why I dissagree with the recommendations and pricing. If you think I'm wrong, that's your opinion and I could care less. My own personal rig was about $800 with the monitor included, and it runs the game at 10x7 on high detail. I'd consider that more mainstream than what the value recommendations would get you. Reply
  • Pollock - Sunday, August 08, 2004 - link

    May I ask what the point is of having a 12x DVD burner on a mainstream system devoted to playing Doom 3? And by the way, I agree with #1...this is just too much hype. Who would spend $1900 so that they could get "mainstream performance" on another $50 purchase? Reply
  • Myrandex - Saturday, August 07, 2004 - link

    I agree with the CRT recommendations over a LCD. LCDs are coming to amazingly low response time, but I don't think I have ever seen one as good as a CRT. Good recommendations though. Maybe a 5900XT would be an even more value alternative, as I thought if I remmeber correctly it performed alright, overclcoekd a lot on average, and is pretty inexpensive. Reply
  • Randawl - Saturday, August 07, 2004 - link

    It is pretty amazing that you can buy such a powerful system with such a fantastic video card for around $1000. Things have come quite far in such a short time. Reply
  • Zanfib - Saturday, August 07, 2004 - link

    Good enough article, a few typos, but helpful. Still kinda hurts to know that even the value system recommends needs a new (almost next) generation video card, but I can't argue with the value price. $1000 for a pretty good system is quite acceptable. Reply
  • BornStar18 - Saturday, August 07, 2004 - link

    It's a minor correction but you mention that the Chaintech VNF3-250 doesn't have GbE (correctly) in the article but in the table, you mention it has onboard 10/100/1000.

    Good article, I just wish I had $1000 to be able to play Doom3...
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Saturday, August 07, 2004 - link

    #10 - We had technical problems with posting today and I did not get to make final changes as usual before the review posted. In fact the Performance system does now have a 2GB memory recommendation since we finally found 1GB dimms that could still give us 1T Command Rates with timings that were still pretty decent. The Guide has been updated with the 2GB recommendation, the revised price, and several other planned edits. Reply
  • kmmatney - Saturday, August 07, 2004 - link

    So looks like I'll be playing Doom3 around April 2005...Its been 10 years since Doom 2, so whats another year. Reply

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