How to make a powerful PC (up to ?1100)
CPU - Athlon 64 3500 (2.2Ghz) Retail
The Athlon 64 are the highest performing chips to date. The newer 939 pins chips need a new motherbaord, but the extra speed from the dual memory controller is worth it. This entry level version still costs ?240 !.
Heatsink - included
A64 chips come retail packaged with their own heatsink.
Motherboard - MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum (?95)
This motherbaord is based on the newest chipset for A64 - the Nforce 350. It has the best overclocking ability, as well as all the standard features. It costs ?95.
Power supply - Tagan 480W
This power supply is the best newcomer for some time. Equalling more well known brands in every field, it undercuts their budget by some way, at ?60
Case - Any aluminum With a system this powerful, you need a case to match it. Aluminum cases are the best choice, for the low weight and small extra cooling effect (as well as looking cool). ?70 will allow you to enter the lower end of the market.
Hard drive - 2x 160GB HGST 8MB in Raid 0
If it is high performance data storage you want, only Raid 0 can do it in this price range. By coupling SATA drives together, you can seriously increase speed while maintaining storage space. Total cost is ?132.
CD-ROM/DVD - Pioneer DVR-108 16x DVD?RW Dual Layer
DVD-R drives can write anything and read anything - CD-R, DVD-R whatever. This new model has the highest speeds and even supports the new double layered discs yet to come. At ?64, its well worth it.
Memory - OCZ EL Dual Channel Kit 2x512MB PC3200
To ensure high speed and compatibility, quality memory pre-tested to run in dual channel is the safest bet, which is what this set is for, at ?148. As PC3200 cas2, it has overclocking in mind and the low timings enhance performance.
Sound ? Audigy2zs OEM
The latest audio card supplies the high-end sound you require from this system, for ?60.
Video - XFX GeForce 6800 128mb
This is the first new technology card to arrive that doesn't cost well over ?200. A cut down version of the faster ones, it bests all previous technology cards in a big way. This is the cheapest available, at ?176.
Modem - any good external model
If you are still in the days of phone-line internet, you will require a modem. External models are the best bet, at around ?30
Network ? onboard gigabit
There is no reason to not use the carefully supplied on-board networking as it is gigabit.
For these necessary components, I recommend the MX700 from Logitech, any floppy drive and a decent keyboard, because cheap ones are just nasty. Cost is about ?60 in total
Final cost: around ?1100 inclusive of vat and delivery
I did not suggest a monitor, because that is down to the individual. For a system this good, you need an lcd really. 17" are still the best value and best for gaming, but stretching to larger for work puposes is a good idea. For sound, you really want a high-end speaker setup to do the audigy justice. Drop to medium PC
Last modified: 01/06/2005