Last week we updated our Budget Badass to reflect the current price drops and made some improvements in hardware. This week we are shifting our focus to the power user. Shifting our focus also means shifting our cost up, but a higher budget means better hardware and faster performance. We've made a couple of adjustments to the video card and CPU as well as adding a second hard drive while taking your suggestions into consideration. While the final cost of this build exceeds a little past the $2500 mark, we believe the extra performance gain is well worth it. Keep in mind this is a Power User's PC, where our main focus is on utilizing the power of the processor through multitasking and multimedia programs. Read on to see our new setup for this Power User beast.
Gigabyte Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB $530, www.gigabyte.com.tw
Many felt the Radeon 4870 was a little weak for a power user rig, so we took your suggestions and doubled the GPU power to a Radeon 4870 X2. Running this card in our 2008 Dream Machine showed very impressive results and with the extra money we saved on the CPU (read below), we allocated some extra cash to boost GPU performance.
You may be wondering why we downgraded from a Core 2 Extreme to Core 2 Quad. The truth is it's not much of a downgrade. Both chips are running at the same speed and cache with performance staying the same. The only difference is an unlocked multiplier which the Core 2 Quad lacks but when you are saving $400 that is something we can look past.
Not much explaining needed here. Memory is cheap and the more the better. With 64-bit Vista, 4GB is the minimum you'll need to become the power user you strive to become.
NZXT Tempest $110, www.nxzt.com
The chassis in which your hardware resides is a crucial part of a power PC user. Cooling and airflow is essential to performance and the NZXT Tempest provides it. Dubbed the Best of the Best midtower case by us, we feel this case will provide the power user with more than they need at a reasonable price.
PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Watt $160, www.pcpower.com
PC Power is still at the top of our list as the best PSU. When they say 750 watts on the label, they mean 750 watts and we like that.
Windows Vista 64-bit Home Premium $100 (OEM), www.microsoft.com
Western Digital Velociraptor 300GB 10000RPM $280, www.wdc.com
Every performance enthusiast needs a Velociraptor. It's practically written in the unwritten handbook for power users. It's fast fast fast. It's no wonder why we used two of these in our Dream Machine.
Samsung F1 HD103UJ 1TB $135, www.samsung.com
And just in case 300GB of storage isn't enough for you, which isn't much in today's technological world, we tossed in a 1TB Samsung drive that should be able to store everything you need and then some.
LG GBW-H20L Blu-Ray Burner $245, www.lge.com
As blu-ray starts to become the mainstream source of media, blu-ray drives are in hot demand and as a power user, you want to be up-to-date on the latest hardware. So we forked out some extra cash and slapped this bad boy on for the ride. Burn, watch, and enjoy blu-ray quality video with this blu-ray burner.