Introduction

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 - these are not the very lowest prices you can find on the web, but rather are intended to be representative of what's out there. Don't forget to check out the AnandTech Weekly CPU & Video Card Price Guide and the AnandTech Weekly Memory & Motherboard Price Guide for the lowest prices from reputable vendors on CPU's and video cards. Note that shipping is not included in these prices, but can add up to 5-10% to the total system cost, depending exactly what you get, where you order from, etc. To minimize shipping costs, order as many components as possible from a single vendor or buy things locally where possible. 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 news this month is the massive price drop in memory prices compared to last month. Otherwise, the lack of any major product releases keep things more or less the same as last month. . The price drops are actually surprisingly small on the value components this month, so we pretty much just end up with a slight increase in CPU speed in our value gaming and professional 3D systems.The Pentium 4 launch did happen, but has had virtually no impact on the value market

It's been about 2 weeks since Intel's launch of the Celeron 766, but that CPU has had virtually no impact in the retail or OEM markets. It appears to be too expensive for OEM's and the performance is much lower than an equivalent Duron, effectively limiting it in retail.

In the next month or so, we expect the Duron to finally displace the last Intel stronghold in our Buyer's Guide - the Value SOHO system. The reason? Motherboards with the SiS 730S or VIA KM133 will finally be available. Both of these chipsets will bring the integrated video support to the Socket-A platform that AMD so badly needs to succeed in the OEM value market.

Value SOHO

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