You do the research on the products.  You read all the reviews.  You even discuss with friends.  But even with all that information, building a perfect, personalized system from scratch can be quite a daunting task.  With that in mind, it’s no surprise that we’ve had request after request to provide some system recommendations.

With the third edition of the AnandTech Buyer's Guide, we changed things a little bit, splitting the Buyer's Guide into two parts, one for value systems and the other for high-end ones. Despite the slight format change, we continue to provide some system recommendations in 3 categories – small office / home office (SOHO), gaming, and professional.  Remember that these are just a few recommendations from us if we were building the systems.  Obviously, each individual’s needs will vary greatly, but that’s the beauty of building a custom system - it can be tailored to fit those special needs.

Every component, from the motherboard to the case to the monitor, is covered for each system.  Sample prices based on a review of popular vendors and price search engines across the web are included as well. Note that shipping is not included in these prices, but can add up to 5-10% of the total system cost depending exactly what you get. To minimize shipping costs, order as many components as possible from a single vendor. An OS recommendation is included, but that price is not included in the total system price listed.  Especially good deals can often be found in the AnandTech Hot Deals Forum where AnandTech readers regularly post good deals they find.

Components that are not readily obtainable at the time of publication are automatically out of the running for any system in the Buyer’s Guide.  Where possible, we've linked to reviews of the individual products on AnandTech for more in depth information.

This Month

The big changes this month are mainly in the Dream System. We've upgraded to 15,000 RPM Seagate Cheetah X15 hard drives in our RAID setup, which should provide a noticable improvement in speed. We've also decided that if we're going to include a DVD decoder card in this system, we should also include a 5.1 speaker system (with Dolby Digital Deocding) as well. We've selected the VideoLogic DigiTheater DTS to fill that position.

While price drops continue across the board, the Dream System gets the biggest benefit here thanks to continued drops in RDRAM pricing, now at $500 for a 256MB RIMM. As Rambus has been saying for quite a while, RDRAM is quickly approaching price parity with SDRAM, albeit partially due to rises in SDRAM pricing.

Dream System
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