Today, we release our tenth Buyer's Guide in the past 10 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 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.


While entry level (budget) systems should mainly be constructed with reliability and price in mind, with performance a fairly distant third consideration, mid-range systems have a slightly different order of priority. Reliability is still #1 priority, but performance and price are in a sort of a tie when building that mid-range system. Performance isn't of the utmost importance in this type of system, but it's also not ignored nearly as much as a plain, old entry level system is. Similarly, price isn't of utmost importance either, but buyers building a mid-range must be mindful of the price of components nonetheless. Performance and price don't lag too far behind reliability for mid-range systems, in other words.

CPU and Motherboard Recommendations


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  • SKiller - Thursday, April 22, 2004 - link

    #3 Close, I was thinking the A64 2800+ at $170.

    Also, why is a midrange system <$1000?
    To me low end ~ $500-$1000, mid range ~ $1000-$1750, and high end ~ $1750-$2500.
  • KillaKilla - Thursday, April 22, 2004 - link

    Unfortunately you can't edit posts ala the forums...

    Another suggestion: putting in the alternatives in the summary, this way we see what they would cost, all together.

    Also, why is the 2.8C recommended over, say, the Athlon 64 3000+? While only about $50 more, it offers a very noticable gain in performance and compatability (the A64, unlike i86, will run future 64 bit OSes and apps).Check the forums, a 2.8C is almost never recomended, except posibly for OCing... and even that may cahnge with the release of the Nforce 3 with working PCI/AGP lock.
  • KillaKilla - Thursday, April 22, 2004 - link

    I dont get the order of impertance, really, they should replace 'midrange' with 'performance'

    Most people who come here would probobly not get the midrange system for email, webbrowsing, wrod processing, etc. (reliability minded things).

    They'd probobly want a bang for buck machine that can play most current games at high settings and future games at medium to low settings.
  • mlittl3 - Thursday, April 22, 2004 - link

    If would be nice if you guys benchmarked these recommended systems. A nice comparison using the usually benchmark tests comparing the entry, mid, high and overclocked systems would show how much bang for your buck you get.

    If its a matter of time, then some simple logical way of showing that these systems are worth the money other than just looking up prices and giving us technical specs.

    An example might be's fbucks that they used in their VGA charts III article. Total benchmark score divided by price or something like that.

    Just a thought.

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