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


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  • ducsauce - Friday, April 30, 2004 - link

    I've been reading your guides on mid-level and high-end systems for a while and have been hunting for the OCZ 3700 gold revision ii recommended in this guide. this product seems to have disappeared. is this because they're running out of low latency chips or just the product coming to the end of its life cycle. either way, shouldn't you guys make recommendations on stuff that can be easily found on the internet? is there an alternative to the OCZ chip? i'm planning to build a system soon but the mushkin 3500 level I doesnt give me much headroom and i kind of missed out on the level II sticks last year.


  • TrogdorJW - Friday, April 30, 2004 - link

    Wow... no comments yet! Well, I'll just toss in my two cents.

    I realize you guys are big fans of the Inwin case, but can't we at least get *one* alternate recommendation? I mean, this is high end, so potentially you could look at the $200 cases. Yes, price is still a consideration, but there must be at least one other case worth considering. Really, I'm just getting tired of seeing the same case in almost every price guide. :)

    For mid-range, I like Antec's SLK3700-BQE. On the high end, though, I'm not really sure. The Inwin is really still a mid-range case, if you ask me. $120 with a power supply is not too expensive. So go nuts, and recommend something really good as the alternative. Maybe the Lian Li, or maybe a Cooler Master, or whatever.

    Otherwise, I like the setup. It's just too expensive for me. (Although I did pick up that exact same Mushkin RAM not too long ago - great stuff!)

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