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Sharky Extreme : Monthly Value Gaming System Buyer's Guide September 29, 2008





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

    Price Roundup

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 System

    Case: RAIDMAX Smilodon ATX-612WBP (with 500W PSU) - $90
    CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ (3.0 GHz) Retail - $160
    Cooling: included Retail HSF - $0
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-M57SLI-S4 (570 SLI) AM2 - $87
    Memory: Corsair XMS2 PC2-6400 DHX 2x1-GB - $75
    Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250GB SATA 3.0 Gb/s - $65
    Video Card: GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB (PCIe) - $147
    Monitor: 19" LCD with 5-8ms Refresh - $165
    Sound Card: 8-Channel Integrated - $0
    Speakers: Logitech X-530 6-Piece Speaker System - $55
    CD/DVD-ROM: LG GSA-H62NK 18X SATA DVD Writer - $29
    Communications: Onboard LAN - $0
    Mouse: Logitech MX310 - $24
    Keyboard: Microsoft Digital Media Pro Keyboard - $15
    Operating System: Windows XP Home or Vista Home Basic- $80

    Total: $992


    Intel Core 2 Duo System

    Case: RAIDMAX Smilodon ATX-612WBP (with 500W PSU) - $90
    CPU: Core 2 Duo E6750 (2.66GHz) Retail - $189
    Cooling: included Retail HSF - $0
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L (P35) - $87
    Memory: Mushkin PC2-6400 2x1-GB - $53
    Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250GB SATA 3.0 Gb/s - $65
    Video Card: GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB (PCIe) - $147
    Monitor: 19" LCD with 5-8ms Refresh - $165
    Sound Card: 8-Channel Integrated - $0
    Speakers: Logitech X-530 6-Piece Speaker System - $55
    CD/DVD-ROM: LG GSA-H62NK 18X SATA DVD Writer - $29
    Communications: Onboard LAN - $0
    Mouse: Logitech MX310 - $24
    Keyboard: Microsoft Digital Media Pro Keyboard - $15
    Operating System: Windows XP Home or Vista Home Basic- $80

    Total: $999


    Closing Remarks

    The latest Value Gaming PC Buyer's Guide configurations are not the quantum leaps we saw in the previous two guides, and the value sector seems to be cooling down somewhat. We've already moved up the line considerably on the processor side, with the 2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo E6750 and 3.0 GHz Athlon 64 X2 6000+ powering our "value" systems. We did manage to upgrade a few areas, like a larger hard drive and faster DDR2, but not in the two core areas. There was absolutely no way to squeeze a Radeon HD 3850 256MB into the equation, but the GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB is certainly a powerful second choice.

    While both the AMD and Intel value gaming PCs continue to show very high performance levels, we would give the edge to the Intel system. Including a 2.66 GHz Core 2 running on the 1333 MHz bus for under $200 is incredible, and this type of "perfect storm pricing" is the main reason why the Intel value system gets the nod over the AMD configuration. The Athlon 64 X2 6000+ is certainly no slouch, and this was the flagship AMD processor until just recently, before the 3.2 GHz Athlon 64 X2 6400+ and Phenom quad cores.

    The rest of the AMD and Intel system configurations are solid, and each includes high-end PCI Express motherboards, a 19" LCD, a 7200 RPM SATA 3.0 Gb/s hard drive, a SATA DVD writer, and a fast GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB PCIe video card. If overall value is your main goal, these AMD and Intel gaming PCs certainly deliver, and both offer a noticeable price-performance advantage over our higher-end buyer's guide configurations.

    * Please note that the prices in our guide do not include shipping costs or taxes. The final system price also reflects a "best case" scenario of finding an online vendor that stocks the majority of internal components, or having access to a number of local computer retailers for system quotes and comparison shopping.


    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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