Today, we release our eleventh Buyer's Guide in the past 11 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

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.

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


View All Comments

  • 00aStrOgUy00 - Sunday, May 02, 2004 - link

    Why do the speaker recommendations give no comments on the sound quality, and just gives useless information such as, this has 100W and this has 150W...
    Seems like you've never even heard the speakers you're recommending.
  • yz426 - Saturday, May 01, 2004 - link

    I would like to see them indicate where they buy the products for the price they claim. Where can you get. quate the Recommendation: 2 X 512MB Mushkin PC3500 Level One Dual Pack (CAS2)
    Price: $239 shipped. Stop blowing smoke up my a** and say where you purchase the components for the price you say.
  • Mackintire - Saturday, May 01, 2004 - link

    I shall REPEAT

    The Seagate 7200.7 is quieter, faster, runs cooler and does not have the habit of destroying its bearings.

    For a Hard Drive IN THE SAME CLASS there is no comparason.
  • TrogdorJW - Friday, April 30, 2004 - link

    You know what they really need to do to appease everyone? They need to have this "high-end" system target the $2000 price range, and then they can put together a "dream" system in the up to $5000 range. Then maybe people would stop whining about the choices. :)

    For relatively high-end, this setup would be hard to beat. 10-20% more performance from the hard drives for more than twice the cost (you would need two 74 GB Raptors to equal the space offered by the 120GB) is a luxury most aren't able to induldge in. Same with the Athlon FX-53 - it's almost twice the price of the 3400+ and maybe 10% faster on average. It would also need registered DIMMs and a 940 motherboard, which would probably increase costs another $100 or so. So you could get a PC put together that would be 20% faster or so, but it would run closer to $3000 and would still only be the king of the mountain for a few months at best.

    Anyway, I think the guide has a lot of good recommendations, but I still don't understand why alternatives aren't listed for some of the items (case) while the sound card had two options with very little difference in price or performance. No need for the four paragraphs extolling the virtues of the Inwin case (again) - list three or four good choices with a short blurb on each!
  • n4v3k - Friday, April 30, 2004 - link

    Don't you think that it would be wise to advise that people get a 480+ watt power supply since you mention the GeForce 6800 Ultra in your review and even suggest that it might be wise to wait for it? Reply
  • SonicIce - Friday, April 30, 2004 - link

    two drives in raid 0 would generate alot more heat and noise than just a single, bigger drive. Reply
  • IceVoltageccs - Friday, April 30, 2004 - link

    I see no point in using the WD120JB if you have the abilty to use SATA do it its up to you as far as which company you want to go with the 120JD is a fast drive and so is the seagate also sence this is a high end system why not. Also why not a Lan-Li or mabye a Thermaltake Case. Evan i just dont understand you case choices also how about some ram that you can find. Reply
  • IceVoltageccs - Friday, April 30, 2004 - link

  • Gnoad - Friday, April 30, 2004 - link

    Yeah. I agree, bad choice on the hard drive and the case. Also, where's the FX-53? That must be better than the 3400+. Reply
  • Mackintire - Friday, April 30, 2004 - link

    I agree about using the raptor drive. I do think that this article should be relabled mid-high end.

    I have the 74gig WD raptor drive. And yes it does blow the WD 120JB out of the water. But for a machine sitting in my room on all night. I still would prefer the seagate 7200.7, possibly in raid 0. That would still saturate the PCI bus, just like the raid Raptors. Good Idea!

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