Power User PC Buyer’s Guide – Updated Prices and Parts for July 2008



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lil insn3

Instead of using the cpu above, would it be possible if i could use a Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550? If so why?


learning, please don't slander me with crap



Save yourself $500 bucks and get a Q9650.



Asus 790I MB Striker II Ultra (359)

2x EVGA 9800GX2 (800)

Thermaltake 1200WT PS  (249)

2 X 2GB 1333 DDR3 (Crucial) (173)

2X 500GB Segate 32mb HD  (160)

Cosmos S case (229)

Blu Ray Reader Lite On (139)

Intel 9450  (Quad 2.6) (349)

Custom cables (wrapped) (52)

 Thermaltake silent  CPU cooler (31)


That came to 2541

Ordered my Gateway XHD3000 yesterday for  $1400


I don't understand why go so much $$ for that processor when you get so much savings with the 9450.  Its the sweet spot right now and as soon as the next line of procs come out those high end procs will drop to there knees.  You will get much more bang for you buck if you spent that money on graphics cards IMO. 




Okay here is the deal: I have 2.5k to spend. I get a boring case, a mid-range psu, a entry level MB (about which few have spoken), ddr2 ram, etc. etc. NOT.

Here is what I recommend:

- scratch the extreme for a q9450. you'll take a hit but, especially for PC gaming, get that back with a larger feature set (below) ($330)

- abandon the choked p45 chipset for the x48 and get a ddr3 high end mb like the ASUS P5E3 PREMIUM/WIFI-AP @n LGA 775 or something similar (MSI or gigabyte alternatives) ($370)

- again, get ddr3. This can, in some cases double performance in-game, making up for some of the lost performance with the cpu: Mushkin ddr3 2*2GB ($270)

- I like the idea of getting a better power supply ($270 for a 1k ish).

- spend $200ish (or lower probably on a nicer looking case too but that is aesthetics).

- add in a second fully crossfired 4870 (not possible with the p45)

And we are in at a wee bit under $2.5k.



Check out http://www.cpubenchmark.net/ and look at the various processors...its clear that the choice here is pretty good, especially considering overclockability.



In price/performance relation it is not. The CPU takes down the quality of the other components because of it's high price.



An NZXT? Why not an Antec P180 or something like that? That is not the best case for the money. :(



If its not the attention maxpc wants.. then they've probably already expected the negative feedback.. ~_~.. I had to finally register just to stick my two cents in lol.. This is a really miserably planned out power rig...

The cpu.. I agree that a Q9450 is adequate.. it does the job and for less than half the price.. a QX9650 is just too much.. even more so with the rest being just mediocre parts.. Whichever of those cpus you even choose.. do you think an air cooler can still cut it in this age? bring out the waves of a water cooler if not already thinking about liquid nitrogen..

The case.. even though it has high ratings.. it still doesn't hit par with looks.. don't tell me you want a kick ass rig looking like a budget cpu.. if not a Cosmos or ArmorPlus then at least get something you'd like to look at and feel proud of..

The rest.. cheaping out on sound card already? where's the Fatal1ty?? if not titanium then at least the Fatali1ty!! You did intend a second optical drive.. at least a, HD/bluray player right? Can we still live off 750 watts? I wouldn't want to find out.. bump it up to 1k.. what? we don't plan to upgrade anymore or shove in any more parts? This is a bad budgetted more than low budget power user rig..

Well here's my two cents.. and i hope it made more sense than I believed it to be.. if anyone agrees with this article totally.. i say you should probably stick to the budget pc for half the price...



I would have round up to three thousand and put in a velociraptor harddrive and another video card. other than that (and the case) it's okay.



wow MPC is depressing me


like others said about the CPU, extreme editions are retarded.

I love the 4870, but for a power user, you have to go with a GTX 280. or re-write this article in a week and a half and go with the 4870X2.

but on the HSF, there are soo many better options than that POS. the newest Noctua, the Tuniq tower, the TRUE. even if you had gone with the Zalman 9700 it still wouldnt make any sense. I cant figure out for the life of me why people think Zalmans are the best heatsinks, they have never been the best, not even when they were new.


the tempest is great for us mortals but for a rig at this price point you need one of the elite full towers like the Stacker 830 or the newest Lian Li; or at the very least the Cosmos.


Keith E. Whisman

This is quoted from the Article above "Gaming is important to the Power User, but this isn’t someone who
demands 120 frames per second in multiplayer shooters – he’d rather
shave precious seconds off of his video encoding times while
multitasking in Photoshop." End quote

Every power using drop of blood in my veins screams for every last FPS I can get. That's why I read Maximum PC magazine. If I were just a power user I would stick to reading just CPU magazine.  But CPU magazine sucks so here I am.

Hell you guys rate computers and hardware based on gaming frame rates. If gaming frame rates was not as important to a "Power User" then why would I be interested in MaximumPC magazine. 

Have you guys joined Alquida? What have you done with the staff of Maximum PC? Where are they? I'm calling the TSA on you guys.


Keith E. Whisman

Its a power user parts list. Thats what is says at least.

Are you a freaking moron? If your going to go all out on the CPU and spend over a thousand dollars why not be just as glitsy with your video card? An Extreme Edition CPU matched to a single video card. That video card is not even the fastest available. If you had suggested SLI or CrossfireX I would have just accepted your article. As it stands I find that I can't just sit idely by. Does MaximumPC have a progressive discipline system? You need a spanking at least.


The NZXT? sure it works but why would a power user buy that case? The Q9300 HSF? Why would a power user purchase that when the Q9700 or the TT V1 HSF's are far better? These other HSF's are only $9 dollars more expensive. 



While I would never spend 1K on a processor it could be a lot worse guys.  They could have used a QX9775, with a price tag of 1549 on the egg right now.  What you get with the QX that you dont get with the Q6600 is the 1333 and 1600 bus speeds.


Keith E. Whisman

Well MaximumPC has always been about just that. The fastest and most power parts available price be damned. It the processor costs $5000dollars but it's the fastest available then it's money well spent. It's all about performance here.

That's what confused me about the parts but hey it's my oppinion. Perhaps he wrote this article thinking about what he wants a computer for. Sure it is a great pc for video editing and stuff. But in my humble opinion power users want the fastest most powerful computer available.  Who cares about price. I'm not rich and I can't afford to spend 17,000dollars on a pc but if I could I surely would and so would most everyone that's reading this post.




if the wanted to overclock, they would have spent $20 dollars more on the heatsink and fan so that it would be a 9700 zalman instead of a 9500 or a thermalelectric heatsink.




Why run 64 bit Vista? I thought 64 bit Windows OS's have generally had a lot of compatibility and driver issues. Does 64 bit Vista help to mitigate the performance delta between XP and Vista?



Vista 64-bit is several trillion times better than XP 64-bit.

Vista is what made 64-bit really viable. I run it on my systems, and it runs like a dream with 4GB or RAM or more. Are people's heads really still stuck in the sand with Vista and 64-bit?



Ditto.  I have run 64-bit XP since day one.  I now run 64-bit Vista.  Vista is a few orders of magnitude better than XP.  Today, its 64-bit XP with all the driver problems.



uhm, a $1020 CPU is a little much.  You can get almost the same with a much cheaper CPU.



I mean seriously guys, what are you thinking?  Every budget buyer knows that you dont need an extreme processor.  Just go for the bargain bin (9450 or 9550) and upgrade the other parts of your rig. 



yeah from Q6600 ($200) to QX9650 - thats huge jump.



why did you choose the intel core 2 extreme qx9650? Its $1000, you could just get the intel core 2 quad q9550. Saving $500, you can get a second 4870, and a coolermaster cosmos.



Your CPU choice is crazy. Get an q9450 instead, and clock it to within 200mhz. Then use the $650 you saved to get an x38/x48 and a second 4870. You'll get way better performance in graphics, and nearly the same in CPU based benchmarks.

 Having a CPU be close to 1/2 of your budget is just dumb.





maybe the unlocked multiplier will come in handy when overclocking. and don't forget they can over clock QX9650 to a faster speed that Q9450 can't.

but i have to agree, it seems somewhat dumb to spend 1/2 of your budget on CPU, maybe there is reasons for that though.



But that improved speed would only be about 200mhz faster, and an unlocked multiplier doesn't really help much.

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