Today we release our sixth Buyer's Guide in the past 6 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 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 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.

Mid-Range Systems

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 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.

Read on to find out more...

CPU and Motherboard Recommendations


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  • Ballistics - Friday, July 02, 2004 - link

    Test2 Reply
  • Ballistics - Tuesday, May 25, 2004 - link

    Test Reply
  • Etacovda - Sunday, April 18, 2004 - link

    another vote for the 5900XT ;) Reply
  • jzimo - Saturday, March 27, 2004 - link

    I would swap out the 9600 pro for a MSI 5900 XT. The card is $180 and in benchmarks is right with the 9800 pro. This is the card has the best performance/price ratio. Reply
  • wjh - Friday, March 26, 2004 - link

    Thanks for the great guides-- We are really enjoying and benefiting from these as we are about to build our first computer-- for gaming, mostly.

    We really like the cutting edge and overclocking guides the best. Thanks and please keep 'em coming.
  • Ballistics - Friday, March 26, 2004 - link

    Here's a link:
  • Ballistics - Friday, March 26, 2004 - link


    Not even a mention of the nVidia FX5900XT. $180 videocard that smokes 9600XT's

    For those who have not heard about this card, google it and look up the reviews.
  • greendonuts3 - Friday, March 26, 2004 - link

    "being able to ring great performance from it"

    That should be "wring" instead of "ring," as the metaphor is more like "wringing more water out of your towel" than "ringing a bell."

    Keep up the good work and thanks for the guides.
  • jcromano - Friday, March 26, 2004 - link

    First, let me say that I'm enjoying these buyer's guides very much.

    I wonder, however, if it would be possible to list all the alternates and their prices in the final summary table side-by-side with the primary recommendations? Would it be possible to highlight or otherwise flag the recommendations that have changed since the last time around? (Even better would be to tell what they changed from, as well.)

    Yes, I am very, very lazy.

    Thanks for the excellent series of articles. Keep them coming!


  • kherman - Thursday, March 25, 2004 - link

    I'm not really going to nit-pick, but it would have been nice to see a second monitor recomendation that is a 21" or 22" monitor. For a mid-range system, recomend a low end 21". A 21" to go with a high end system will probably cost to much, so it's not like we can wait for next week.... Reply

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