Today, we release our third Buyer's Guide in the last 3 weeks. Again, for those new to our Buyer's Guides, you can look forward to them every week, and after the end of each month, we will retool our guides to reflect the new hardware and pricing of that particular time period. The basic format of these guides are as follows:

Week 1: Budget System
Week 2: Mid-Range System
Week 3: Cutting Edge System
Week 4: Overclocking System

For every component that goes into a computer, we pick our favorite piece of hardware as well as our runner-up piece of hardware. We've added runner-up hardware picks to our guides because it allows AnandTech to recommend a wider variety of hardware (especially for those willing to spend a little more than what we budget for a particular system). At the same time, we can be assertive enough with a first place recommendation so that new buyers aren't indecisive or confused about what to purchase. Most of the prices listed for the hardware that we recommend can be found in our very own RealTime Pricing Engine. Any prices not found in our engine can be found on In addition to our Buyer's Guides and RealTime pricing engine, we suggest that you peruse our Price Guides so that you are not only informed about the best hardware for your computing needs, but also where to find the best deals on that hardware.

We are always taking suggestions on how to improve our Buyer's Guides. If you feel we are not including a wide enough variety of systems in our guides, please let us know and we can see if it warrants an additional weekly Buyer's Guide.

Cutting Edge Computing

Before we go into a little detail about what you need to know about building a cutting edge system, we need to first reiterate what you should remember about budget and mid-range systems.
  1. Budget systems should be constructed mainly with reliability and price in mind, with performance a fairly distant third consideration.
  2. Mid-range systems place reliability as a number one priority, but performance and price are in a sort of not-so-distant tie for second place here.
For a more in-depth explanation of our thoughts on what you should prioritize with budget and mid-range systems, take a look at our Budget and Mid Range Guides from the last two weeks here and here.

Anyway, when building a cutting edge system, performance is usually going to be your most important consideration. That is, when building a cutting edge system, you want to make sure you're picking the hardware that performs the best for the programs you use the most. While you could say that reliability is the second most important consideration when building a cutting edge system, it would probably be more appropriate to say that reliability is #1a priority. Understandably, price is a distant third consideration. This should be pretty self explanatory, as anyone who is considering building a top-of-the-line system needs to realize that parts aren't going to be cheap, obviously. This guide by no means disregards price altogether, as we aren't going to be building a $10,000 system here. What we are building is a system that will cost under $5,000, but with the final price much closer to $1,000 than $5,000.

With that information in mind, read on to find out our picks for best cutting edge components this week...

CPU picks...
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  • kalaap - Wednesday, March 3, 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"

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