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  • NordicNINE - Saturday, May 01, 2004 - link

    Don't aperture grill monitors have lower quality text? I'm looking at a 21"/22" monitor also right now and almost everything I read states that aperture grill monitors may have better graphics and brighter colors, they have lower text quality.
    Since the 1100DF is a high end shadowmask monitor, wouldn't it have better text?
    How is the color brightness compared to the Phillips and the 1200NF?
  • pieman7 - Monday, March 15, 2004 - link

    Thanks a bunch for your ealier response. Still regarding the Philips 202P45: You mentioned it's 2048 x 1536 max resolution. Online vendors I've seen selling this CRT also list this as its max. However, at the Philip's web site ( it lists the max resolution as 1920 x 1440. Who's right? Have you or anyone else been able to actually get it to display at this resolution?
  • demonbug - Monday, March 08, 2004 - link

    Speakers/Sound card:

    First of all, why not go with an Audigy2 Platinum, since this is a cutting-edge system? It costs more, but gives you so many cool input options that it seems like it would be a great idea - you seem to have put together a great cutting-edge gaming system, but it might be nice to give it a little more versatility.

    As for speakers, as several others have done, I would suggest Klipsch Promedias. I've only got the 2.1 system (I've had it for years), and it kicks the ass of every other speaker system I've heard (though I must admit I haven't heard either of the two you recommend outside of a store). Additionally, according to published specs by both companies, the Klipsch speakers have significantly better frequency response than the Logitech speakers, and much better THD than the Creative Labs speakers (10%???? Thats the worst number I have ever seen).
    If price is the reason you recommended the ones you did, fine, just say so. From personal listening experience, the Klipsch speakers offer incredible sound quality (for computer/multimedia speakers - still don't compare to a stereo), and while I haven't heard the systems you recommend, the specs suggest that the Klipsch speakers are quite a bit better.
  • Evan Lieb - Saturday, March 06, 2004 - link


    I've only used the 1200NF and PF2141SB, not the P225FB. The 202P45 isn't quite as good as those, but that's more of a personal preference. Gaming is just as good and 2D text clarity MAY be worse with the Phillips. Overall, very little difference and certainly not worth $100. At least, that's IMO. Every monitor, even monitors that are of the exact same brand and model, can be significantly different in performance.
  • pieman7 - Friday, March 05, 2004 - link

    I seem to be one of many who is in the market for a higher end monitor and your high praises for the Philips 202P45 got my attention. This is the first time I've seen any reviews for this CRT. It meets my price range, but am wondering how it compares to other 22in CRTs I've looked at:
    Samsung 1200NF
    Viewsonic P225FB
    NEC FP2141SB
    These CRTs are at about $100 or so more expensive, but in your opinion does the 202P45 still hold its own as far as picture quality, text clarity, and minimal geometric distortion? If so, then the 202P45 would seem to be a no-brainer choice.

    Your thoughts very much appreciated.
  • Brickster - Friday, March 05, 2004 - link

    Posted by Fink:
    "I would agree that it would likely be best to wait for 939 and an FX chip in Dual-Channel unbuffered configuration if you want the best and you're willing to wait 2 or 3 months for the hardware to appear. For now, FX51 is still the top performer. "

    I agree. I have two top end games coming out this month that I have been waiting a long time for. However, upgradeability with the upcoming 939 is going to be the way to go for me, so looks like I am going to have to wait longer for my upgrade -- It's definitely worth the wait.
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, March 05, 2004 - link

    While I do agree with Evan that the 3400+ is the best upeer value in any system you can buy (the 3200+ is the best value cpu - period), I believe Cutting Edge means the best you can buy. Since you can build the best performing machine I have ever tested for only $486 more, then Wes' Pick for CUTTING EDGE SYSTEM:

    Athlon 64 FX51 $745 (vs. $418 for 3400+) +$331
    Asus SK8V $209 (vs. $139) +$70
    1GB OCZ PC3500 ECC Registered (2X512MB)$300 (vs. $215 for 1GB unbuffered) +86

    The FX51 with Dual-Channel ECC memory is STILL the fastest system you can buy, and the Asus SK8V is the best-performing motherboard I have ever tested. This FX51, Dual-Channel ECC system is not a lot faster than the 3400+, but for only $486 more (Total $2701) you can have the ABSOLUTE BEST instead of almost there. It is also Dual-Channel, and all of AMD's A64 performance systems will soon be DC with the move to Socket 939.

    Since Socket 754 will be gone soon, I would also weigh the fact that Socket 940 has more longevity than the 3400+ system and will likely be around a while longer and STILL be a top performer with either FX or Opteron.

    I would agree that it would likely be best to wait for 939 and an FX chip in Dual-Channel unbuffered configuration if you want the best and you're willing to wait 2 or 3 months for the hardware to appear. For now, FX51 is still the top performer.
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, March 05, 2004 - link

    While I understand Evan's selections, I disagree with some of them, based on my reviews published at AnandTech, and testing that has not yet appeared in reviews.

    1 - My pick for top Athlon 64 motherboard would be the MSI K8T Neo, with the AOpen AK86-L as an extremely close runner-up at a lower price. Both are exceptionally stable and overclock well, with the AOpen a better overclocker. The Asus K8V is a decent A64 motherboard, but it is not a good overclocker and is not particularly stable in my experience.

    2 - The Asus P4C800-E is the ONLY motherboard recommended by both Corsair and OCZ for DDR550. It is the best performing, highest overclocking, and most stable P4 motherboard I have tested and would be my recommendation. The runner-up would be the DFI 875B LANParty, which is the second best overclocking board I have tested and is also exceptionally stable and performs very well in Revision 2 clothes. I would also give high marks to the SiS-chipset Asus P4S800D-E. All three of these selections also have PROVEN complete compatibility with Northwood, Prescott, and Extreme Edition.

  • VIAN - Friday, March 05, 2004 - link

    Sorry for posting a question already answered with the HDD issue. Reply
  • VIAN - Friday, March 05, 2004 - link

    The Western Digital Raptor 36.7GB 10,000RPM SATA? Isn't that supposed to be the loser with a false promise. The great performance that it hyped up was only shown up with the 74GB version. I think that the 74GB version would be a way better buy.

    No second Optical Storage? What if you want to burn CD to CD or DVD to DVD?
  • Modal - Friday, March 05, 2004 - link

    I'm a little bit confused as to why you recommended the Asus K8V Deluxe for the Athlon 64. From what I can tell, its a great board but, you guys (AT) gave the AOpen AK86-L a glowing review a couple of weeks ago, so I'm wondering why the Asus board was picked over this one. Reply
  • Evan Lieb - Thursday, March 04, 2004 - link


    I would recommend the Phillips. :)
  • Tulklas - Thursday, March 04, 2004 - link

    Mr Lieb,

    I am in the market for a higher end monitor and am very interested in your reply to Bricksters question:

    "I wanted to refer specifically to your monitor selections, and wanted to incur why you chose the Samsung 1100DF over the Philips 202P45?

    Price being equal, which monitor would you recommend?"


  • Evan Lieb - Thursday, March 04, 2004 - link


    I got your email and replied, thanks. :)
  • Brickster - Thursday, March 04, 2004 - link

  • Brickster - Thursday, March 04, 2004 - link

    Mr. Lieb,

    I wanted to refer specifically to your monitor selections, and wanted to incur why you chose the Samsung 1100DF over the Philips 202P45?

    Price being equal, which monitor would you recommend?

    Just a but confused as you seem to tout the aperture grille a bit more in your runner up.

    Thanks for your help!

  • yc6489 - Thursday, March 04, 2004 - link

    joey2264, I also happen to run a page on computer configurations for 4 different budgets. My mid-range system is around $1500. Take a look: Reply
  • Evan Lieb - Thursday, March 04, 2004 - link

    That's IC7-G MAXII Advance, not MAX AdvanceII. :) Reply
  • Evan Lieb - Thursday, March 04, 2004 - link


    1) Not really available and not worth the extra cost.
    2) Yes, they are, my mistake for saying they weren’t in my previous post. Price difference makes it illogical to pay double the price though assuming you don’t need more than 30GB+ of space. If you do, like I said in the guide, there’s nothing wrong with going with the slightly faster 74GB Raptor
    3) Yup, I mentioned that as an option for users who needed additional storage. A big secondary ATA drive is not a bad idea by any means if you need space.
    4) No problem. $7,000 is just insane. :)


    Thanks for pointing that out, I must have had a brain fart regarding the speed difference in the 36 and 74 Raptors. Duh.


    We recommended the z640s in our mid range guide here:


    It’s a tough choice either way, but ABIT comes out on top for slightly better features for the same price, not to mention great reliability. The new P4C800-E’s are tough to beat, but the IC7-G Max Advance II is by no means a slouch. In the end it’ll come down to personal taste. And those memory issues are long gone, that was only with early BIOS revisions.


    It’s not, unless you overclock, that’s why we stated so in our memory section (with regards to the OCZ GOLD modules).


    We could do that for a system between budget and mid range, but that would probably be pretty redundant. The best way to shave off a few hundred bucks is by opting for a 9800 Pro instead of a 9800XT, a 955DF instead of the 1100DF, and a 3000+ instead of a 3400+ A64. There are other ways too. :)


    Price and performance.


    It’s definitely practical, it just might not be as fast. There’s a point you get to where you have to ask yourself if there’s any point in spending another $200 for barely noticeable speed increase.


    Yes, all prices are listed in USD.
  • prazv - Thursday, March 04, 2004 - link

    out of curiosity are the prices listed in american funds ? Reply
  • agent2099 - Thursday, March 04, 2004 - link

    You need to recommend a "OS" drive, as well as a storage drive. I don't think having just a 36GB drive is practical these days. You could have said 36/74GB Raptor for the OS, and perhaps a WD or Seagate 120-200GB drive for storage.

    Also, no LCD recommendation?
  • buleyb - Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - link

    why no high end LCDs? boooo Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - link

    I lost my post due to some network issues earlier, but I was going to mention that the final price table, while correct, might be better if you pulled the $55 power supply out of the case listing, or at the very least showed the price of the case and power supply as $125 and not $70. Adding up the right column comes up $55 short of the total, and the "$55 for power supply" in the case text isn't that clear. Also, no alternative recommendations for the case or power supply? What gives? I guess Antec is the best PS manufacturer.... [Dons flame-retardant suit.] Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - link

    #17, I'm pretty sure that's what they plan for the "Overclocker's System". Buy moderate priced parts and overclock for extra performance.

    Anyway, if you're really looking at that price range, here's what I would change from this high-end system:

    1) Drop the CPU to an Athlon 3000+/3200+ to save $150 to almost $200.

    2) Drop the graphics card to the Radeon 9800 Pro to save $200.

    3) Do you need the monitor? If so, go with a 19" instead of 21" to save another $200.

    4) I would really recommend going with one large 160GB hard drive instead of two Raptors. Performance won't be as good, but I personally have about 60GB of files in just my GAMES folder! With movies, MP3s, etc. plus applications and Windows itself, I have about 140GB of data on my hard drives. Two Raptors just isn't going to cut it, especially with their cost.
  • joey2264 - Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - link

    First of all, I want to say that I object to anandtech saying that my hotmail account is not a real account just because many others have abused that particular name. If they want to block it, that is fine, but to tell someone to get a real account when thousands of people use hotmail is just absurd.

    I just wanted to mention in this forum, that I really liked the three guides that have been produced so far, but I would really like if Anandtech made a fourth one in between the "mid-range" and the "high-end" guides. maybe in the range of $1500-1600 (this is how much that I want to spend on my system) I'm sure that there are a lot of people who are weary of spending $2200+, but who are also not looking to have a bargain basement system. Thanks
  • Cygni - Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - link

    I dont really understand the point of anything above DDR400 on A64 based system, personally... Reply
  • Pumpkinierre - Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - link

    Why did you pick the Abit IC7-G for your P4 mobo option. In the AT memory articles, AT(Wesley) uses the Asus P4C800-E deluxe which is also the only m'board suitable for DDR550 from Corsair and OCZ ( In other benchmarking articles, AT uses an ordinary Intel mobo also regarded as stable.
    I dont mind I've got an IC7-G and have found it quite stable under stressful conditions. However, both AT and others have said in the past that IC7s have memory stability issues, so I'm intrigued to know why you selected the ABIT over the ASUS for a system where stability has high priority?
  • yc6489 - Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - link

    Why not the universally acclaimed Z-680 for the speakers? Also I would go with the NEC/Mitsubishi FP2141SB-BK for the monitor. Reply
  • Abraxas - Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - link

    i have sennheiser hd500s that i got from amazon for 65 bucks 2 years ago. great headphones, shitty cable... had to replace the cable once about 18 months ago for 12 bucks shipped, and its going out again as well. bad habit of chewing the cable as i play cs :) Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - link

    Headphones: Sennheiser HD600s :) Better than anything you could buy - albeit you wont exactly be able to share what youre lisetning too.

    Grados are good too though - i have a few pairs.

  • kherman - Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - link


    Grado SR-60s for $60. Supposed to be one of the best for the price without an amp.

    Just for those that are curious. As a note, they are better than $100 headphones by big names like Sony, Pioneer, etc...
  • VagrantZero - Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - link

    The 76GB Raptor is defintely a better buy than it's little brother. For less than twice the price [its $231 on newegg] it offers twice the capacity plus a sizeable performance increase [2 36Raps in Raid O can't keep up with a single 76Rap]. Here's a short clip from storagerreview's preview of it:

    Enter the second-generation Raptor! Announced September 15th, WD's revised offering promised to address nearly all of the complaints leveled against the firm's first entry. Maintaining the line's unique 10,000 RPM spindle speed, the Raptor WD740GD features the following improvements:

    * 74-gigabyte capacity - perhaps the most significant improvement is the migration to a two-platter flagship design. WD also plans to introduce a revised single-platter, 37 GB unit, though perhaps not until most WD360GD units sell through the market.

    * 37 GB Platters - the aggregate areal density of the new Raptor will remain the same as the first. Linear density, however, has been increased, to achieve:

    o 72 MB/sec outer-zone transfer rates - though STR remains non-consequential in the large majority of uses, some folks were disappointed with the 55 MB/sec that the first Raptor delivered. WD is confident enough with new yields to spec a transfer rate that rivals the best available from today's disks.

    o 4.5 millisecond seek time - the Raptor WD360GD specs at 5.2 milliseconds.

    * Firmware-level TCQ - matching a feature available on all contemporary SCSI drives, the new Raptor will feature tagged command queuing? that is, device-level reordering of outstanding requests for more efficient service times.

    * FDB motors - though quiet from an emitted sound-pressure perspective, the original Raptor emitted a slight high-pitch idle whine that could irritate sensitive ears. WD has been on the slow side when it comes to migrating to fluid bearing motors when compared to other manufacturers. Fortunately, the new Raptor uses quieter and ostensibly more reliable FDB motors.

    NOTE that the 76GBs raptor has come down considerabley since the article was written. As stated before, the OEM goes for $231 on newegg:
  • Dismal - Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - link

    Cool. Now if the games I wanted to play would just come out I could actually build a system like this. I've never actually put one together myself, so I was very pleased to see these articles posted here. Great job AnandTech! Now if I can just get through configuring all the cpu, memory, and other bios settings that I don't know much about I'll be all set ;-P Reply
  • SDA - Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - link

    Yeah, like everyone else said, more storage needed, and it's great of you to keep this a system people might actually buy.

    As for speakers, in my opinion, Klipsch Promedias are a liiiittle bit overrated. It would have been nice to see headphone recommendations there as well (in that price range, if you actually used 'em a lot, that'd be, what.. HD580s with an amp? Or is that too high-end), but hey.
  • mostlyprudent - Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - link

    A few things?

    1. Why Mushkin Level One instead of Level II? I've read your memory articles crowning their PC3500 Level II the faster DDR400 memory you've ever tested.

    2. I have also read that the new 73GB Raptors are faster, on TomsHardware I believe.

    3. I also agree that you need a second storage drive - perhaps a PATA 250GB Maxtor Diamond max Plus 9.

    4. Lastly, I really appreciate that you were at least conscious of price. I've read other articles calling for system in the $7,000 range. Thanks for keeping this grounded in reality!
  • lisnter - Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - link

    Exactly (almost) the hardware setup I've been considering!

    I would use two Raptor 74GB drives and a single large (~200GB) data drive and as I don't have time to play games (due to two wonderful little kids) I'd opt for a still plenty fast GeForce 5700 video card (XFX? Gainward?). My main requirement is to support dual LCDs. Any other suggestions?

    Thanks for an informative article and truly excellent site.


  • Evan Lieb - Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - link


    I know you love SCSI! :p
  • Evan Lieb - Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - link


    Why WOULD we recommend a Promedia system? What makes them better than the ones we recommended?

    Thanks for pointing out the spelling error.


    I'm not aware of the 74GB Raptor being any faster than the 36.7GB version.
  • mechBgon - Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - link

    Cutting-edge... with an ATA drive? Where's the 15000rpm Fujitsu MAS-series Ultra320 SCSI drives?

    Sorry, couldn't help myself ;) As you were...
  • BCinSC - Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - link

    Only 36GB Raptor? 73GB is allegedly much faster and double the space to boot. Reply
  • kalaap - Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - link

    why wouldn't you recommend klipsch promedia series speaker an owner of the 5.1 system, i recommend these to anyone building a high-end system...if price is a distant third, the promedia or a consumer level speaker system would be the best choice...also wouldn't the asus 9800 be a better choice since it gives you AIW features for less? "Besides obviously supporting 5.1 channels of sound, the Z5300 is able to boost such features as a 100W subwoofer..." i think you meant "BOAST" not "BOOST" Reply

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