Currently, we are experimenting a bit with our Buyer's Guides to see if we can better meet the needs of a wider range of users, both in terms of the components that we recommend and the prices of those components. We will continue to produce an Entry Level, Mid-Range, High End, and Overclocking system every month, but we have also decided to include SFF guides and perhaps a mobile-related guide to our arsenal as well. We will keep with our current format (Week 1: Entry Level System, Week 2: Mid-Range System, Week 3: High End System, Week 4: Overclocking System) until we get a better feel for what our readers want. So far, everything looks to be on schedule for AnandTech's first SFF Buyer's Guide next week. So, if you feel like letting us know what you'd like to see in terms of component picks and price points on those picks in future guides, go ahead and write up your feelings in our comments section, located at the bottom of the page.

With that out of the way, we are still going to continue to evaluate products like we have in all our other guides over the last few months. That is, 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). To be clear, 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.


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 system 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.

With that all said, let's take a look at this week's new recommendations and alternatives.

CPU and Motherboard Recommendations


View All Comments

  • gherald - Friday, June 18, 2004 - link

    Hmm, in the article you say:
    "Recommendation: Western Digital 800JB"

    but then in the summary:
    "Hard Drive Western Digital 800BB (80GB) $67"

    I assume you meant to put the JB model in the summary...

    Well I think a SATA drive would be a worthwhile upgrade. I don't understand the use of 2x256mb DIMMs on a single-channel platform... 1x512mb would make much more sense. And the case selection could use some work as per usual but otherwise this system looks perfect.

    Good job Mr. Lieb.
  • Nighteye2 - Friday, June 18, 2004 - link

    Why is there no mention of the possibility of using SATA RAID if you have a little extra money to spend on an extra HD? It would be a great recommendation for the load-time-conscious gamer.

    As to suggestions for future guides: how about guides for a Gamer System and an Office System, without specific budgets, aimed at getting a system that will 3 years after buying it still suffice for it's purpose at a good price\performance ratio?
  • mino - Friday, June 18, 2004 - link

    ehm, sory for some spelling mistakes, I wrote it in hurry. ;) Reply
  • mino - Friday, June 18, 2004 - link

    Why the Hell have chosen 2*256MB memory instead of 1*512 when U are recommending Single channel CPU ???
    With 2 modules installed it it will be problematic to upgrade memmory in the future and 2 module provide no advantage here.

    Also for Storage I will go for at least 120G SATA drive, since price difference is negligible, but value much bigger. Also WD drives are the ones that nave BANN at me since it is not acceptable to end day with headache from their famous whine anymore.

    Last poit is that I see no reason to go for 3.0C, 2.8C will suffice and provide better OC if requested

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