Buyer's Guide: High-End Systems - July 2000by Mike Andrawes on July 20, 2000 2:19 AM EST
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You do the research on the products. You read all the reviews. You even discuss with friends. But even with all that information, building a perfect, personalized system from scratch can be quite a daunting task. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that we’ve had request after request to provide some system recommendations.
With the third edition of the AnandTech Buyer's Guide, we changed things a little bit, splitting the Buyer's Guide into two parts, one for value systems and the other for high-end ones. Even though it feels like it has been much longer, we had Part 1 for the value systems two weeks ago, and as promised, here's Part 2 with the High-End systems. As noted in Part 1, the Dream System is included in the high-end part of the article.
Despite the slight format change, we'll continue to provide some system recommendations in 3 categories – small office / home office (SOHO), gaming, and professional. Remember that these are just a few recommendations from us if we were building the systems. Obviously, each individual’s needs will vary greatly, but that’s the beauty of building a custom system - it can be tailored to fit those special needs.
Every component, from the motherboard to the case to the monitor, is covered for each system. Sample prices based on a review of popular vendors and price search engines across the web are included as well. Note that shipping is not included in these prices. An OS recommendation is included, but that price is not included in the total system price listed. Components that are not readily obtainable were automatically out of the running for any system in the Buyer’s Guide. Where possible, we’ll link to reviews of the individual products on AnandTech for more in depth information.
The big news this month is that ATI's Radeon is at last available and is truly able to go head to head with the GeForce 2 GTS. The call between the latest products from ATI and NVIDIA is a tough one that only you can make. The GeForce 2 GTS has more raw power, but ATI's top notch 32-bit performance and feature set make it very appealing. However, the real question is how will ATI's drivers stand up over time. For now, that's our biggest concern with the Radeon.
Socket-A processors and the supporting motherboards are finally pretty easy to get a hold of online. Interestingly, the supply of processors seems to be greatly out running the supply of motherboards, especially since there are only a few on the market today. Gigabyte's GA-7ZM and FIC's AZ-11 are clearly the easiest to find, but the ASUS A7V promises to be the best option for overclockers once it becomes more available. Microstar's K7T Pro is also beginning to show up at online retailers.
SDRAM prices continue to inch up, while RDRAM has actually dropped a bit. Our sources tell us the trend may continue through the end of the year as memory manufacturers shift their focus towards upcoming memory types, including DDR SDRAM and RDRAM.
IBM's Deskstar 75GXP is now readily available and is included in most of these systems. It's one of the first Ultra ATA/100 drives on the market, but it takes more than just a new interface to claim the performance crown. Fortunately for IBM, they've come up with much more than just support for Ultra ATA/100.