Recommendation: ASUS K8V Deluxe (VIA K8T800 chipset)
Price: $139 shipped

The ASUS K8V Deluxe offers several different advantages and features over other Socket 754 Athlon 64 motherboards that make it our recommendation today. First off, the K8V Deluxe's combined performance and price is superb; the K8T800 chipset's outstanding performance combined with features like Serial ATA (RAID), Gigabit Ethernet, IEEE 1394 FireWire, SPDIF, and IDE RAID, among other nice features makes the K8V Deluxe a great high end board for the price. Normally, we could care less about the price for a cutting edge system like this, assuming we're not talking over $200, but for $140, it's truly amazing the number of cutting edge features that can fit on a motherboard these days. Of course, this is not to mention the renowned reliability of ASUS motherboards. Having extensively tested the K8V Deluxe, we can assure that you will indeed enjoy a reliable and trouble free experience for the most part. Overclockers may be especially pleased with this motherboard if they delve into Athlon 64 territory.

Recommendation: ABIT IC7-G MAXII Advance (875P chipset)
Price: $147 shipped

Last summer the Gigabyte 8KNXP was our pick for best high end Pentium 4 motherboard, but since then, we believe that the ABIT IC7-G has edged out the 8KNXP due to the fact that it offers virtually the exact same number of features and performance for $50 less, while last summer, the IC7-G was more expensive. Price usually isn't a concern with a cutting edge system like the one we're recommending here today, but saving $50 and getting a motherboard that's basically as good is never a bad idea how ever you cut it. Anyway, the ABIT IC7-G's mix of Gigabit Ethernet, SPDIF, 3 X IEEE 1394 FireWire ports, and Serial ATA RAID among other features, combined with the industry leading performance and stability of the Intel 875P chipset are the primary reasons why we choose ABIT's IC7-G. Another reason why we choose this motherboard for a cutting edge system is because we've tested virtually every high-end Pentium 4 motherboard in existence over the past 12 months, and to this day, we still can say confidently that the reliability and stability of this ABIT motherboard has been excellent. This exact motherboard is used in one of AnandTech's very own computer labs and I have personally built several high-end gaming systems centered on this motherboard. All in all, the performance, reliability and even the price are stellar.

CPU picks... Memory picks...
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  • agent2099 - Thursday, March 4, 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 3, 2004 - link

    why no high end LCDs? boooo
  • TrogdorJW - Wednesday, March 3, 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.]
  • TrogdorJW - Wednesday, March 3, 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 3, 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 3, 2004 - link

    I dont really understand the point of anything above DDR400 on A64 based system, personally...
  • Pumpkinierre - Wednesday, March 3, 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 3, 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.
  • Abraxas - Wednesday, March 3, 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 :)
  • KristopherKubicki - Wednesday, March 3, 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.


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