Doom 3 has been quite a learning experience for all of us at AnandTech. Some of the things that we expected to find just never panned out when we ran Doom 3, such as the concerns that Doom 3 would not run on most systems. In fact, Doom 3 will run on most of the recent systems out there. Other things were a real surprise, like the fact that the ATI 9800 PRO is a medium resolution card to Doom 3 and it is GPU bound above anything but base performance levels. Doom 3 eats video cards for lunch, and while you will get a usable screen with most video cards, you really have to feed it top-end video for best results.

You have already seen the Doom 3 Week reviews, but in case you missed anything, you can find the answers in the earlier reviews this week:

Doom 3 Sound Guide
Doom 3: CPU Battlegrounds
Doom 3 Graphics Deathmatch

The purpose of this Doom 3 Buyer's Guide is take all that we've learned in these reviews and make some basic recommendations for a killer Doom 3 system. Since desires, designs, and pocketbooks are different, you will find three recommendations here - Performance, Mainstream, and Value. Because we've covered a lot of the components here in our ongoing Buyer's Guides, we will concentrate on the unique components for Doom 3 - mainly the CPU, motherboard, graphics card, and memory. The rest of the components have been pulled from our most recent Buyer's Guides, which you can find under the "Guides" tab at the top of the page.

Performance Doom 3 System

The Performance system for Doom 3 is the best of the best - the highest performing components in Doom 3 that were found in this week's testing. The goal here is to build the best Doom 3 system, with no concern for price. After selecting the core components, the rest of the components leaned heavily on recommendations from our most recent High-End Buyer's Guide and Overclocking Buyer's Guide.

Mainstream Doom 3

Consider the Mainstream Doom 3 System to be the "bang-for-the-buck" choice - the best value that will bring you performance close to the best. Most of you will likely be most interested in the choices for the Mainstream Doom 3 box. Since Doom 3 requires some high-end components to really shine, some of the recommendations are a little different from our other Buyer's Guides. We referred to the most recent Mid-Range Buyer's Guide, the Overclocking Buyer's Guide, and recent AnandTech reviews for other component recommendations.

Value Doom 3

The Value System for Doom 3 is the cheapest system that we could put together, which will bring a usable and satisfying level of performance to Doom 3. We've leaned heavily on the positioning charts in this week's review to bring a level of playing satisfaction to a budget Doom 3 system. The rest of the components are pulled from Mid-Range, Entry-Level and Overclocking Buyers' Guides.

Memory for Doom 3


View All Comments

  • Wesley Fink - Saturday, August 07, 2004 - link

    #11 - I've corrected the quote to the 9800 XT which is what was intended on page 10. The same information was correct in the summary on page 11. Sorry for the confusion. The 9800 PRO is around $200 these days but the 9800 XT is still priced at around $380-$390 for some strange reason. Reply
  • Mermaidman - Saturday, August 07, 2004 - link

    [q]a plain, old 1024X768, the 6800 is 75% faster in Doom 3 than either the ATI 9800 PRO or the nVidia 5950, both of which cost about $50-$100 more than the 6800.[/q]
    I doubt that a 9800Pro costs $50-$100 more than a 6800.
  • Illissius - Saturday, August 07, 2004 - link

    It's ok for the most part... some things are odd though. You measured that D3 uses up to 1.5GB of memory, if available. Why, then, did you put only 1GB in the Performance system? Should've been 2. Also, why, oh why did you not use an uber LCD? Dell 2001FP, or the Viewsonic VP201 if buying from Dell is a nono. Third, the mainstream system should've used value RAM - it costs almost half as much, and really isn't much slower than the fastest omg uber hyper enthusiast XMS turbo alpha street fighter platinum EXTREME stuff*, at all.
    Other than those, I agree with all of the choices, even the 6800 for the value system. I was about to suggest an even lower category, for the $500 guys, until I realized that you really can't fit anything half decent in if you have to include monitors and speakers.

    * In the interest of full disclosure, this was Inspired by the following quote from

    * ArSa is not a scsi expert :
    * slurpee was a scsi expert until they came out with 134533109 flavors of it
  • jediknight - Saturday, August 07, 2004 - link

    All I have to say is *damn*.

    A 6800 in the value system? Yikes! My poor 9800 Pro that'll be arriving whenever ATI gets around to it seems inadequate :-<
  • Godsend1 - Saturday, August 07, 2004 - link

    I have never seen a value video card priced at $300. Reply
  • kherman - Saturday, August 07, 2004 - link

    PERFORMANCE Doom 3 monior.

    OK it's nto a bad monitor, but I can think of better.
  • kherman - Saturday, August 07, 2004 - link


    640x480 low quality.

    The categaory you complained about was value, not crap.
  • kherman - Saturday, August 07, 2004 - link

    Ggiabyte 6800? NO! The BFG 6800 is the best. Damn complementary copy. Even the internet is doomed these days Reply
  • Rapsven - Saturday, August 07, 2004 - link

    Considering that many Americans usually buy systems ranging from 1400-2000 on Dell, I'd think that's pretty 'mainstream'.

    You've been reading too many "i need a systemzorz for 500 bux plz" threads.
  • Regs - Saturday, August 07, 2004 - link

    Please note that the listed hardware was for mainstream Doom 3 and not mainstream in general. A 1000 dollars for a computer that can run a game like D3 at 1280x1240 @ high quality is awesome. Dell would charge you well over 2 Grand if not more. Not only will you be able to play D3 at high settings, but Far Cry, Hl2 (if it ever comes out), and next generation games. I'd say that's great value. Reply

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