With Doom 3 officially arriving next month, the upgrade frenzy has moved into full swing, and there is no better time to upgrade to a new ultra high-end PC than right now. Each month the mission of our Extreme CP Buyer's Guide is the same; with $4000, we are sent to assemble the best possible gaming machine that money can buy. Following the same format as our other price guides, we keep an eye out for relative value, and weigh price-to-performance ratios heavily before making a decision on which components to include.
Even with a $4000 budget, there are still some very real limitations that we need to keep in mind. You won't find any ridiculously expensive plasma TV/monitors, nor will we be able to include an extravagant home theater-level sound system. Rather, the computer hardware is still balanced, so that we can feature top-end components for virtually every category of the system. Overall, we are very confident in our choices from month-to-month, and each component is put to the litmus test, as $4000 is simply too much cash to slap down, without giving the overall configuration some very serious thought.
Current Cost of Case and PSU: $250
Months on List: New
Price Change: N/A
Unlike many of the components in this guide, a case is not something that you will be upgrading every six months, and will likely be keeping for much longer. You need to insure that the case is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also has enough room for your current and future components. Through the years we have grown attached cases from a number of manufacturers including those from CoolerMaster, Lian Li, and Antec, just to name a few. These name brand cases are among the best to work with and their top-end aesthetics are bound to turn a few heads.
The Cooler Master TAC-T01 WaveMaster has been a favorite around SE for the past few months, so it makes sense that we continue to recommend it as our top choice in this guide. Everything about this case just screams quality, from the brushed aluminum alloy housing, to the convenient front ports and removable motherboard tray. The very sexy bay door shows that great care was taken when crafting this case. Currently, the Cooler Master TAC-T01 WaveMaster case can be found for a cool $130, which makes it relatively expensive, but still worth every penny.
This month we're upgrading our power supply recommendation to the Antec 480W NeoPower PSU. This unit is cutting-edge in every sense of the word. The NeoPower 480W has full compliance for the ATX 2.0 standard, dual +12V rails, extremely quiet operation, dedicated fan-only connectors, as well as a special connector for PCI Express video cards. However, the most innovative feature comes in the form of detachable modular cabling system that helps keep your case cooler as your only have to attach power cables that you need to use.
Our Extreme Gaming System requires some serious wattage, and 480W of quality power is more than enough for stable operation at stock or overclocked speeds. While this 480W power supply is considerably more expensive than other 480W power supplies priced at $120, it is the modular cabling system and high end components that you're paying for.
If you choose to go an alternative route when selecting the power supply, please make sure to stick with name brand units (Antec, Enermax, ThermalTake, etc.) and avoid any bargain bin units with lofty output claims.