Buyer's Guide: High-End Professional 3D - August 2002by Matthew Witheiler on August 16, 2002 12:42 AM EST
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One thing we pride ourselves on at AnandTech is taking our reader's input into consideration. Many times the feedback that you guys offer us can change the way we handle a product review. You want more gaming benchmarks; we deliver. You want CPU scaling; we can do that. With this in mind, this week's high-end buyer's guide is going to be a bit different.
Many have written expressing concern over last weeks high-end buyer's guide. Lots of people were upset, understandably, with our selection of components. We initially went into the high-end buyer's guide series with the goal of producing a fairly fast system on a budget. All too quickly we realized that this might not be the best strategy. People were displeased with the fact that our high-end gaming system was not made up of the fastest components out there. After all, the system is intended to be high-end and therefore should perform like one.
With this in mind, we have altered the way our high-end buyer's guides will be done. Rather than go into the guide with the goal of producing a fairly high-end system at a very reasonable price, we have shifted our focus more off the price and more onto performance. This does not mean that every high-end system will be composed of the same top of the line pieces. Rather, it means that our high-end system will perform the task it is set out to do in the best way that is reasonable (opposed to our dream system configuration which pays no mind to price). The high-end buyer's guides still have to maintain some sort of balance between component selection and price, but from now on the balance will not be so dependent on price.
Under this new strategy, today we bring you our high-end professional 3D buyer's guide. This marks the sixth buyer's guide we have done in six weeks since reviving the much missed feature. We started initially with the value SOHO buyer's guide, continuing on to the value gaming, value professional 3D, high-end SOHO, and high-end gaming guides. Next week we will finish our first cycle of buyer's guides with our dream system configuration. That means that in two weeks we will see an updated value SOHO guide that not only includes new prices but reevaluates the components chosen for the system.
As much as many hate it, we do have to do a bit of copying and pasting for house keeping's sake:
Every component in a recommend system, from case to monitor, is covered. The only hidden costs are shipping costs, which can add anywhere from 5% to 10% to the total system cost depending on what you get and from where. The best way to keep shipping costs down is to order as much as possible from a single vendor or pick things up locally. Be sure to take a look at the AnandTech Hot Deals Forum to see if any AnandTech readers have posted a special deal on a piece of hardware in the recommended system. Also be sure to check out our Weekly CPU & Video Card Price Guide and our Weekly Memory & Motherboard Price Guide to see if prices have been updated since the buyer's guide was last posted.
We faced a difficult decision when configuring what went into our high-end professional 3D system. In many instances deciding what component to go with was not as easy as it was in the past, as there was no one correct solution. What we did was take a step back and evaluate what components would be best in a professional 3D environment.
What we ended up with was a machine that should be only slightly slower than the fastest professional 3D systems out there with a much more attractive price. Again, not the highest of all components were selected but this was only because we felt that the small speed decrease coming from a slower part was not enough to justify a much higher price. As always, we talk about why we chose each component in the component's description.