Extreme Gaming PC Buyer's Guide: March '08: Page 8

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Price Roundup


Intel Core 2 Duo System:

Case: CM Stacker 830 - $240
Power Supply: Ultra X3 800W - $200
CPU: Core 2 Duo E8400 Retail Box - $240
Cooling: Thermalright IFX-14 - $80
Fan: 3x Scythe S-Flex 1200RPM - $45
Motherboard: ASUS Striker II Formula - $330
Memory: OCZ PC2-8500 Reaper HPC 4GB - $155
Hard Drive: 4x Seagate 7200.10 320GB - $340
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-S203N - $35
Graphics: 2x GeForce 8800GTX 768MB - $920
Monitor: Westinghouse L2410NM- $400
Audio: X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty Champion Series - $170
Speakers: Logitech Z-5500 5.1 Digital - $235
Mouse: Logitech G5 Laser - $45
Keyboard: Logitech G15 - $85
Game Pad: Saitek P3000 - $35
NIC: Included - $0
Floppy Drive: None
OS: Vista Ultimate-OEM - $180
UPS: OPTI-UPS ES1000C - $125

Total: $3,860


AMD Athlon 64 X2 System:

Case: CM Stacker 830 - $240
Power Supply: Ultra X3 800W - $200
CPU: Athlon 64 X2 6400+ Black Edition - $175
Cooling: Thermalright IFX-14 - $80
Fan: 3x Scythe S-Flex 1200RPM - $45
Motherboard: ASUS Crosshair - $240
Memory: OCZ PC2-8500 Reaper HPC 4GB - $155
Hard Drive: 4x Seagate 7200.10 320GB - $340
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-S203N - $35
Graphics: 2x GeForce 8800GTX 768MB - $920
Monitor: Westinghouse L2410NM- $400
Audio: X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty Champion Series - $170
Speakers: Logitech Z-5500 5.1 Digital - $235
Mouse: Logitech G5 Laser - $45
Keyboard: Logitech G15 - $85
Game Pad: Saitek P3000 - $35
NIC: Included - $0
Floppy Drive: None
OS: Vista Ultimate-OEM - $180
UPS: OPTI-UPS ES1000C - $125

Total: $3,705


Closing Remarks

We were hoping that price cuts would at least allow us to step our system up to dual GeForce 8800 Ultra cards this month, but there still aren't any competitive cards to force its price down. Similar disappointment surrounds AMD's Phenom processor, since the available 9600 Black Edition has to be overclocked to its limit simply to reach the gaming performance of the old Athlon 64 X2 6400+ at stock speed. At least Intel got a little faster, though the company has yet to release a 45nm quad-core within our budget limits.

We finally brought ATI graphics back as an alternative selection, at least for those with the skill and patience to deal with the "teething pains" of its Radeon HD 3870 X2 in a "QuadFire" configuration. AMD has just announced driver support for quad and triple-GPU CrossFireX with Catalyst 8.3, so that's definitely good news for ATI fans. On that same note, we finally gave in and accepted Windows Vista as a necessary, yet loathsome, step towards the continued viability of a gaming system that is meant to last several years.

As we look forward to our next Extreme Gaming PC Buyers Guide, we have some hope that AMD will cure its ills and produce faster Phenom processors and ATI graphics cards to force the hands of both Intel and NVIDIA. Until then, our current Intel configuration maintains its performance lead over AMD, while not progressing much from our previous Intel configuration.

The great news is that our Extreme Gaming PC didn't actually need much improvement, as the stunning performance of our previous system still hasn't lost its shine.

* Please note that prices do not include variable charges like taxes or shipping. The prices in our guide reflect market availability - generally the second or third lowest we found - in an attempt to minimize the financial burden associated with choosing multiple vendors.

Introduction and Case

Processors and Cooling

Motherboards and Memory

Hard Drives and DVD-R/RW

Video Card, LCD Display and Audio

Mouse, Keyboard & Controller

Communications, Operating Systems, and more

Prices Roundup and Final Thoughts


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Tags: Intel, gaming PC, gamer, PC buying guide, motherboard


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