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System Builder Marathon: Day Three

Introduction

Welcome to the third of three articles in our first System Builder Marathon. We've already built and tested low- and mid-priced systems. Today it's a higher priced, better performing system that will especially appeal to hardcore gamers. As over the last two days, this time we'll discuss our choice of components for the high-end system and show you how the system performs on a wide range of benchmarks. Tomorrow we will present a summary of our experience with the three systems. Each article has a main author. Today that's Thomas Soderstrom.

The System Builder Marathon truly turned out to be a marathon. We put in long, long hours selecting and accumulating the components, making them work and then making them work together, benchmarking the systems, creating performance charts and writing up the results. Special thanks to Shelton Romhanyi who has slept very little over the last week doing and re-doing the tests for this article.

We expected some lively forum activity for these articles and it's beginning to happen. Your comments on our component choices not only keep things boiling on the Tom's Hardware site, they also help us put our choices in perspective. So read the article and have at it.

Components

Today's goal is to build the ultimate gaming system for a relatively high (but not completely unlimited) budget. You might be surprised by a few of our choices.

Enthusiasts with loads of cash shouldn't care that in a few months their systems will be worth half their current value, because they can simply build again! Staying ahead of the curve might not be for everyone, but a select few can be the envy of the computing community.

Today's choices are once again based on previous Tom's Hardware Guide test results. Paying someone else to overclock for you seems a bit weak, so the majority of components will be "overclocking friendly" standard-speed parts of the highest caliber.

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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.