Buyer's Guide: Value SOHO - September 2002by Matthew Witheiler on September 9, 2002 1:46 PM EST
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When we set out over a month ago to bring you weekly buyer's guides we knew we had quite a task on our hands. Choosing components and assembling them into the best system for the appropriate situation is not an easy task. We are forced to evaluate a number of products on a number of levels, from price to performance. Needless to say, we occasionally ran into a few bumps in the road but overall we are confident that our buyer's guides provide sound system advice and are only getting better.
Since the buyer's guides are now weekly, we go through a period of seven weeks each with a different system recommendation. We started initially with the value SOHO buyer's guide, continuing on to the value gaming, value professional 3D, high-end SOHO, high-end gaming , high-end professional 3D guides and finishing with the dream system buyer's guide. Since that seven week cycle has been completed, it is time to go back and take a look at the system we recommended seven weeks ago, the value SOHO system.
When redoing a specific buyer's guide, we reevaluate the components selected for the system based on new prices, new technology, and reader input. It is almost guaranteed that the bottom line will change, going either up or down depending on the trend in hardware. You are also pretty likely to find some hardware changes throughout the system. Things on the high-end side tend to change fairly rapidly but even the value buyer's guides will include new hardware on a fairly regular basis.
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.
The value SOHO system configuration is the first system to be subject to our reevaluation process. We took a look at the hardware we recommended for the system seven weeks ago and realized that there were some changes to be made. Our goal was still the same: to produce a SOHO system that would provide fast application performance at a low price. The value SOHO system won't be filled with the latest and greatest components but rather with pieces that combine to make a value system able to run the vast majority of applications a business user will throw at it.
Upon evaluation, we opted to change our CPU, CD-ROM, and case recommendations. Prices have also been updated this week, ultimately producing a faster system for almost the same exact price.