Today, we release our seventh Buyer's Guide in the past 7 weeks. You can look forward to Buyer's Guides in the middle of every week, and then, after the end of each month, we will retool our guides to reflect the new hardware and pricing of that particular time period. Today, we are continuing the refresh of our Buyer's Guides to see what has changed, if anything, in the past 4 weeks. In case you haven't read our new Buyer's Guides yet, here's the basic format of them to be released on a weekly basis:

Week 1: Entry Level System
Week 2: Mid-Range System
Week 3: High End System
Week 4: Overclocking System

For every component that goes into a computer, we offer our recommendation for a piece of hardware as well as our alternative on that type of hardware. We've added alternative 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). Alternative picks tell you just that - your alternatives, which in some cases will be better suited for your needs, and in other cases, will not be. But at the same time, we can still 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 We list pertinent parts of our RealTime pricing engine at the bottom of every page of our Buyer's Guides so that you can choose the lowest prices from a large variety of vendors all by yourself.

We are always taking suggestions on how to improve our Buyer's Guides. If you feel that 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.

High End Systems

Before we go into a little detail about what you need to know about building a high end system, we need to first reiterate what you should remember about entry level and mid-range systems.
  1. Entry level 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.
For a more in-depth explanation of our thoughts on what you should prioritize with entry level and mid-range systems, take a look at our entry level and mid-range guides from the last two weeks here and here.

Anyway, when building a high end system, performance is usually going to be your most important consideration. That is, when building a high end system, you want to make sure that 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 high end system, it would probably be more appropriate to say that reliability is the #1 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. This guide by no means disregards price altogether, as we aren't going to be building a $10,000 system here. Rather, we are building a system that will cost under $5,000, but with the final price much closer to $1,000 than $5,000.

CPU and Motherboard Recommendations


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  • WooDaddy - Friday, April 02, 2004 - link


    I know you said that the keyboard and mouse is a personal preference type purchase, but I think a keyboard mouse combo is definately worth considering especially since this is a high end system; the Logitech DiNuovo bluetooth keyboard and mouse system.

    I saw this for the first time at the CES and was blown away. If anything, it's definately worth mentioning. It typically runs $250 too. Definately high-end material.
  • Hooligan2 - Friday, April 02, 2004 - link

    I would probably go with the 3200 Reply
  • Swylen - Friday, April 02, 2004 - link

    And you made the price an issue going for the 9800 Pro over the XT yet you chose an Athlon 64 3400 for $400+ when a 3000 is half the price for a comparable performance. Reply
  • meccaboy858 - Friday, April 02, 2004 - link

  • meccaboy858 - Friday, April 02, 2004 - link

  • meccaboy858 - Friday, April 02, 2004 - link

    How about both an LCD and a CRT! Some of this stuff is questionable, but still cool to get a general idea. Reply
  • Brickster - Friday, April 02, 2004 - link

    Reply to #6
    "And how about an LCD monitor?"

    As Mr. Lieb said last month...Price vs. Performance. My Phillips will kick the dog doo out of any LCD in that price range.

  • srue - Friday, April 02, 2004 - link

    120GB hard drive in a "high end" system? Seriously, make the Raptor the first choice. Better yet, two Raptors. And how about an LCD monitor? If you are trying to keep the price between $1000 and $5000, you could add a grand worth of upgrades to this system and still be below the halfway point. Reply
  • ceefka - Friday, April 02, 2004 - link

    Would a Terratec Aureon 5.1 Sky be an alternative soundcard? It also has 24/96 and even 192Khz on playback, professional specs. It goes for around € 70,00. Reply
  • Brickster - Friday, April 02, 2004 - link

    I got the monitor here:
    Alternative: Philips 22" (20" viewable) 202P45 CRT

    The thing is amazing! I am very happy with it even though I payed a little extra. I can't even believe I was on 17" before this.

    Dream come true.

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