System Builder Marathon: Day Two


Here's a quick look at the total hardware cost, negating the peripherals and software we already own:

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Mid-Priced PC Component Cost
CPUCore 2 Duo E6600$230
CPU CoolerCooler Master Hyper TX30
MotherboardMSI P965 Platinum135
RAMPatriot eXtreme Performance PDC22G6400LLK160
GraphicsEVGA GeForce 8800GTS PN: 320-P2-N811-AR280
Hard DriveWestern Digital Caviar RE2 WD5000YS160
SoundOnboard Audio0
PowerAeroCool ZERODBA-S620125
DVD-RWSony NEC Optiarc Black AD-7170S-0B 18X SATA35
Total Price$1,255

As you can see, $1,255 got us into a modern performance system capable of excellent 3D performance and a pleasant, moderately low-noise computing experience. After subtracting rebates you should be able to do even better!

Author's Opinion

The best bang for the buck is probably found in low-budget systems, but what good are they if they can't do what you want? After all, not everyone is willing to play games at low resolutions with the eye candy turned off, even if it does save them a bundle. The best value in modern performance requires modern hardware!

I expect Don Woligroski's low-cost configuration to prove itself the better value, even if it isn't fast enough for everyone. And yes, some buyers want it tomorrow we'll consider what a high budget can offer.

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Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.