New System Recommendations
These machines are based on the ideas written out in the original New System Parts Recommendations article. As certain computer parts are what we would deem to be 'bang-for-buck', it is not uncommon to see these same parts utilised throughout many of the systems even though the system itself may have a different purpose. For example, if we take a workstation machine, change the motherboard and add a discrete graphics card, we end up with a gaming machine, however since the other parts of the system are bang-for-buck they remain unchanged.
Depending on the requirements, workstations can be relatively simple, low-performance computers for basic everyday use such as email, internet and word processing through basic servers to high-performance machines with multi monitor setups for design work. The low-performance machines are also suitable for users who don't need to play games such as students in an educational environment. These systems are basically Gaming Machines minus the graphics card and the motherboard switched with one that uses onboard graphics.
The most important components in a powerful gaming orientated machine (in order of importance) are its graphics card, CPU and RAM. Therefore, when building such a system, most money is allocated to those three components. These systems have a focus on the highest performance at stock for those who are uncomfortable with overclocking. Given the affordability of RAM nowadays (Q2 2010), many systems have 4GB or more of RAM. In order to utilise this amount a 64-Bit operating system is required, such as Windows 7 64 bit.
Variants of the Gaming Machine also suited for gamers of all budgets, with a focus on overclocking. Usually a bit slower at stock than their Gaming Machine counterparts, they are usually much better value for money when overclocked, and as a result have parts which are likely to have a higher resale value after their end of life.
This is the stuff that dreams are made of, the types of computers you'd sell everything for. Sure, they're too expensive, and don't represent brilliant bang for buck (thus are not recommended if value for money is what you're after), but if you have this amount of cash to spend, who cares? :). You may think that $2000 is a low for a Dream Machine, however, seeing as though the $1500 machines offer top of the line graphics and generally a very powerful package there is not much point in spending more. These machines do not offer substantially better performance than the other sections. Remember that the cost of the OS, accessories such as keyboard and mouse, and also a screen need to be factored in.
If you've been around OCAU for a while, you've probably heard about Folding@Home. These systems are designed with maximum Folding power in mind.
If you're trying to build a Home Theatre PC (running either Media Centre or MythTV, this is for you.
Guidelines for Buying
Please note that these systems do not include a keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers etc. This is because personal taste varies too much for these components - this also includes the operating system. If you want a keyboard and mouse, basic kits start at about $30 and go up from there. For an operating system, some will choose to use a Linux distribution (or similar free OS), others may have their own copy of Windows lying around.
Note that the prices used in these systems are from StaticIce - they do not necessarily represent price without postage (hence $50 is allowed for each system so this can be factored in) and do not necessarily represent prices of components that are in stock. Whilst StaticIce may produce the lowest prices, it's worth checking out the our OCAU Sponsors who directly support OCAU.
Cases are subject to personal preference and those listed are merely suggestions. For example, I, [b]decayedcell[/b] prefer the look, feel and finish of Lian Li cases whilst others may prefer Antec. Befause of the variation of prices in cases this may or may not influence your decision in purchasing the remaining components of a system e.g. budget constraints
Guidelines for Updating
- Please follow naming conventions, i.e. Size/Capacity/Speed, Brand, Model, StaticIce Price. Example - 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4850 $193
- Use conservative StaticIce links to widen search results, e.g. Instead of 2GB 667 Kit, 2GB 667 will bring up more results.
- Allow $50 for postage in each price range, e.g. in the $1500 range, spec up to $1450
- There is no need to specify brand name for graphics cards, as the cheapest is always used.
- High air flow cases are recommended to be chosen for OC Variant machines
- If you see a potential incompatibility (e.g. graphics card too long to fit in a case) please make a note of it in the discussion thread on OCAU, its easier to get updates there rather than the talk page on the wiki.