You do the research on the products.  You read all the reviews.  You even discuss with friends.  But even with all that information, building a perfect, personalized system from scratch can be quite a daunting task.  With that in mind, it’s no surprise that we’ve had request after request to provide some system recommendations.

For the third edition of the AnandTech Buyer's Guide, we've decided to change things a little bit. The Buyer's Guide will be split into two parts, one for value systems and the other for high-end ones. The Dream System will be included in the high-end part of the article. This is Part 1, featuring the value systems, while Part 2 with the high-end systems will be published in about two weeks.

Despite the slight format change, we'll continue to provide some system recommendations in 3 categories – small office / home office (SOHO), gaming, and professional.  Remember that these are just a few recommendations from us if we were building the systems.  Obviously, each individual’s needs will vary greatly, but that’s the beauty of building a custom system - it can be tailored to fit those special needs.

Every component, from the motherboard to the case to the monitor, is covered for each system.  Sample prices based on a review of popular vendors and price search engines across the web are included as well. Note that shipping is not included in these prices.  An OS recommendation is included, but that price is not included in the total system price listed.  Components that are not readily obtainable were automatically out of the running for any system in the Buyer’s Guide.  Where possible, we’ll link to reviews of the individual products on AnandTech for more in depth information.

This Month

This month, we've seen the traditional price drops that we've come to expect and love from the fast paced computer industry. Intel and AMD are both selling CPU's like hotcakes, so prices on top of the line models remain, for the most part, unchanged. However, the introduction of the Coppermine128-based Celerons has led to some price drops and increased performance in the low end. The upcoming launch of the AMD Duron (formerly known by its codename, "Spitfire"), AMD's budget Athlon chip with on-die cache means that we'll continue to see this trend of "more for your money" in the low end. Look for the Duron to arrive in late June. With performance around 90-95% of the equivalently clocked Athlon, expect Duron to shake things up quite a bit on the low end.

As you may have noticed from coverage on AnandTech, spring-time means that the video card wars are ready to erupt again, with NVIDIA, ATI, and 3dfx all preparing to launch new products in the near future. GeForce 2 GTS cards are now available and as soon as 3dfx works out a couple kinks, the Voodoo5 will be out soon, as well. While the GeForce 2 GTS at $350 is a bit much for these value systems, it does mean that prices on GeForce SDR and DDR cards will drop a good bit.

Value SOHO
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