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Sharky Extreme : Monthly Value Gaming System Buyer's Guide September 23, 2008

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    November Value Gaming PC Buyer's Guide
    By Vince Freeman :  December 1, 2007


    AMD CPU: Athlon 64 X2 6000+ (3.0 GHz) Retail

    Current Cost: $160
    Consecutive Guides: 2
    Price Change: -$10

    Over the past few guides, we have been on a steady race up the Athlon 64 X2 chart, but that streak ends right here. We're sticking with the Athlon 64 X2 6000+, which is currently the second-fastest Athlon 64 X2 processor, and the top retail package available. Even with the introduction of the quad-core Phenom, the 6000+ is still not what you'd expect to see in a "value system". But it still comes down to price and the $160 tag on the Athlon 64 X2 6000+ makes it an easy purchase again this month. This processor represents the top AMD dual-core value, and $1K system buyers will be extremely pleased with its performance.

    The Athlon 64 X2 6000+ processor has a clock speed of 3.0 GHz, features a top-end 2x1MB L2 cache format, and utilizes the Socket AM2 package. As the Athlon 64 X2 6400+ is a limited edition product without a HSF, the Athlon 64 X2 6000+ is the most economical choice. This is a testament to both its performance and value, and to help maximize our budget and ensure ease of installation, we have gone with the Retail model and its nearly free heatsink-fan. However, if you have a killer 3rd-party HSF unit in mind, then buying an OEM CPU is always an option.

    Intel CPU: Core 2 Duo E6750 (2.66GHz) Retail

    Current Cost: $189
    Consecutive Guides: 2
    Price Change: -$9

    The Core 2 Duo E6750 is almost a "perfect storm" when it comes to desktop processors, and at 2.66 GHz and utilizing the 1333MHz FSB, this sub-$200 model simply exudes value. The 2.13 GHz Core 2 Duo E6400 sports a higher price tag, and the Core 2 Duo E6750 shaves more than $100 off the price of a same-speed Core 2 Duo E6700. Only Intel knows why this particular CPU is such an incredible value, but we're not looking a gift horse in the mouth.

    The Core 2 Duo E6750 is one of the latest Intel dual core processors, and it features a high-end 4MB Conroe core running on the 1333 MHz bus. It is a 65nm processor with a clock speed of 2.66 GHz, and can really take it to even the higher-end Athlon 64 X2 processors. It's no secret that the Core 2 Duo processors have significant overclocking potential, and considering that this model is at the baseline clock speed, the sky is literally the limit. As not everyone chooses to overclock a processor, we don't base our purchasing decision on this factor alone, but it is still viewed as a nice extra. As the Core 2 Duo E6750 is right at the edge of our budget, the Intel Retail package makes the most sense, as not only do you get a nearly-free heatsink-fan and full 3-year Intel warranty, but also a sealed, totally unused and untested CPU.

    AMD Heatsink-Fan: Bundled Athlon 64 X2 6000+ HSF

    Current Cost: $0
    Consecutive Guides: 2
    Price Change: N/A

    The Athlon 64 X2 6000+ retail box includes a bundled heatsink-fan, and for both budgetary and ease-of-use considerations, we chose to go this route. The retail model is slightly more expensive than the OEM processor (if you can even find one), but also includes a nearly-free HSF and an extended product warranty to boot. Of course, this is simply a recommendation, and those with a particular 3rd-party HSF unit in mind should certainly go the OEM route, even though it may go a bit over our $1K budget.

    Intel Heatsink-Fan: Bundled Core 2 Duo E6750 HSF

    Current Cost: $0
    Consecutive Guides: 2
    Price Change: N/A

    The Core 2 Duo Retail models are priced extremely close to the OEM processors, and availability of the boxed model is higher. Sometimes, due to low availability, the OEM prices are even higher, so why waste money when Intel is giving away free heatsink-fans. The retail HSF provides more than adequate cooling for the Core 2 Duo E6750, and the installation is simple enough.

    The retail Core 2 Duo coolers have passed our tests using 3.0 GHz models, and we have no problem at all recommending these for our value gaming system. These Intel retail coolers may not qualify as hardcore, but still provide solid stability at base clock speeds, and have a bit extra left over for moderate overclocking.

    Page 1 Introduction and Case
  • Page 2 Processors and Cooling
    Page 3 Motherboards
    Page 4 Memory, Hard Drive and DVD Writer
    Page 5 Video Card and LCD Display
    Page 6 Soundcard, Speakers and LAN
    Page 7 Input Devices and Operating System
    Page 8 Price Roundup and Closing Remarks

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