EDITED ON 4TH MAY 2006: ===================== Well, I have seen lots of separate threads regarding upgrade configurations and suggestions so I decided to write this in a separate final thread. I am hoping this thread will serve as a guideline for all forum members regarding their upgrade configurations. All queries regrading configuration of a new machine or upgrading an existing one should be addressed here. Request the mods to make this thread sticky. For the pricing, I have mostly taken help from www.deltapage.com. Also kindly refer to november'05 digit for comprehensive list of motherboards for both Intel and AMD platforms. To facililitate, I have divided the configurations into low end, mid-range, high end and ultra high end. This is also a relative opinion. The config which appears as high end to us might not satisfy some other high end users. They might think it as mid-range. The converse is also true. Forum members, please forgive me if I have made any mistakes. This is just a small humble attempt at summarizing what I have learnt in the last year or so from the forum. Well, here I go. Firstly let us define what will the price limitations for the different configs. I have come to the following conclusions. Low end: < Rs.25000 Mid range: Between Rs.35000 and Rs. 40000 High end: ~ Rs.50000 Ultra high end: > Rs.60000 There is no limit a person can go for a ultra high end machine. But surely it will have all the premium components. So I cannot fix a price range... Since personally I am an an AMD fan, I have put the different configs for AMD platform. For people who love Intel, just replace the processor and motherboard, the rest of the components remain the same. Low end: ======= Processor: AMD Athlon 64 3000+ ~ Rs.5800 Motherboard: Asus A8N-VM / Asus A8N-VM CSM ~ Rs.3850 / Rs.6000 Hard disc: 80GB SATA (Seagate/Samsung) ~ Rs.2550 RAM: 256MB DDR PC 3200 (400 MHz) ~ Rs.1200 (for memory modules go for Transcend/Corsair/Zion) Optical drive: Sony combo drive ~ Rs.1750 Monitor: Samsung 15" non flat ~ Rs.4000 Keyboard: Microsoft/Logitech multimedia keyboard ~ Rs.400 Mouse: Microsoft/Logitech optical mouse ~ Rs.400 Speakers: Any 2.1 speaker ~ Rs.2000 to Rs.3000 (Eg: Creative SBS 2.1 370 or Altec Lansing ATP3) Cabinet: ATX cabinet with 400W SMPS ~ Rs.1500 Total: Approx Rs.23500-Rs.25500. Of course price can be reduced if you get low end 2.0 stereo speakers. The usage for this machine will be standard office tasks, internet surfing, listening to music, occassional gaming at low resolutions. Mid range: This is where things start to get interesting, many people will have many different opinions. ======== Processor: AMD Athlon 64 3200+ (socket 939 Venice core) ~ Rs.7750 Motherboard: Asus A8N-VM CSM ~ Rs.6000 Hard disc: 80GB SATA ~ Rs.2500 Graphics card: Nvidia Geforce 6200 128 bit 128MB/6600 DDR2 version 128MB ~ Rs.3500 to Rs.6500 depending on your choice. (from any manufacturer like XFX, MSI, Leadtek, Gigabyte etc) RAM: 512MB DDR PC 3200 (400 MHz) (256MB X 2) ~ Rs.2400 Optical drive: Sony combo drive ~ Rs.1750 Monitor: Samsung/Acer 17" flat ~ Rs.6300 (I particularly like the Acer model AC 715 as it supports upto 1600 X 1200 resolutions @ 75Hz) Keyboard: Microsoft/Logitech multimedia keyboard ~ Rs.400 Mouse: Microsoft/Logitech optical mouse ~ Rs.400 Speakers: Any 2.1 speaker ~ Rs.2000 to Rs.3000 (Eg: Creative SBS 2.1 370 or Altec Lansing ATP3) Cabinet: ATX cabinet with 400W SMPS ~ Rs.1500 Total: Approx Rs.34000 to Rs.37000 depending on the choice of components made. The usage will be medium gaming primarily and other tasks to follow alongwith. High end: This is my favourite. ======= Processor: AMD Athlon 64 3200+ (socket 939) ~ Rs.7750 Motherboard: Asus A8N-E ~ Rs.5600 Hard disc: 80GB SATA ~ Rs.2500 Graphics card: Nvidia Geforce 7600GT ~ Rs.14000 RAM: 1GB DDR PC 3200 (400 MHz) (512MB X 2) ~ Rs.4400 Optical drive: Sony combo drive ~ Rs.1750 Monitor: Samsung/Acer 17" flat ~ Rs.6300 Keyboard: Microsoft/Logitech multimedia keyboard ~ Rs.400 Mouse: Microsoft/Logitech optical mouse ~ Rs.400 Speakers: Any 5.1 speaker ~ Rs.4000 to Rs.6000 (Eg: Creative Inspire 5.1 5200 or Altec Lansing VS 3151) Cabinet: ATX cabinet with 400W SMPS ~ Rs.1500 Total: Approx Rs.51000 depending on the choice of components. Usage will be heavy gaming primarily and other tasks. Ultra high end: =========== This will contain all premium components. Here also many people will have many different choice of components. There are many high end components available in the market, so nothing (read, pricing) is fixed. But most certainly it will be a machine with a high end AMD processor like a 3500+ or even a 4200+ X2 dual core,...or even a AMD Athlon 64 FX-53/55/57/60 (X2). It will also be a SLI setup. I feel that unless you most certainly use two graphics cards, it is useless to have a SLI motherboard. The graphics cards could range from Nvidia 6800GS to 7900GTX, both as standalone and also SLI setup. It could also be a Radeon X1900XT/XTX or X1800XT in single or in crossfire mode. Monitors could range from 17" CRT to 19" LCD. Optical drives are almost certainly a Sony Dual Layer DVD-writer. Ram should be at least a GB or even 1.5GB. The SLI motherboard will mostly be A8N32-SLI deluxe (with full x16 mode in both slots). In the earlier version of this guide, I had mentioned about A8N-SLI/SLI deluxe/premium. But they have x8 mode in both slots maximum when running SLI. So full power of the graphics card will not be utilized. Or if someone is not satisfied with on board sound he can of course get a creative X-Fi or a Audigy2 ZS/ZS platinum pro. My choice of speakers would be Logitech Z 5300/5500 or Creative Gigaworks S750 or Altec Lansing 641. Finally SLI requires huge amounts of power. Try to get at least a 550/650W power supply from reputed brands like Antec and which is SLI certified. So here goes one of the configurations. I am repeating again that since people in this segment of purchasers have unlimited budget, nothing is fixed. Processor: AMD Athlon 64 3500+ ~ Rs.10350 Motherboard: A8N32-SLI deluxe ~ Rs.19500 Hard disc: 160GB SATA ~ Rs.3850 Graphics card: Nvidia Geforce 7800GT ~ Rs.23500 depending on your choice. (from any manufacturer like XFX, MSI, Leadtek, Gigabyte etc.) OR SLI setups: 2 X 7600GT, 2 X 7800GT etc (I feel that unless you have anything lesser than 7600GT, SLI is waste of money as the combined price of the two cards can lead you to a higher end card. But always remember, there is always something which is better than the best. One thing of note is that of a cheap way of getting performance of a 7800GTX 256MB, which is combining two 6800GS's, so the money invested is lesser at that time, almost half. Eg: you thought you will buy a 7800GTX and you have a 6800GS at the present. So instead of spending almost Rs.30000 for 7800GTX, you can spend Rs.14000 and something for a SLI certified power supply and get performance equivalent of a 7800GTX 256MB. And so on...). RAM: 1GB DDR PC 3200 (400 MHz) (512MB X 2) ~ Rs.4400 Optical drives: Sony Dual Layer DVD writer (DRU 820A) / Benq DW 1650 ~ Rs.2800 Monitor: Samsung/Acer 17" flat ~ Rs.6300 Keyboard: Microsoft/Logitech multimedia keyboard ~ Rs.400 Mouse: Microsoft/Logitech optical mouse ~ Rs.400 Speakers: Logitech Z5300 5.1 speaker (THX Certified) ~ Rs.13000 Cabinet: ATX cabinet with 550W SMPS ~ Rs.2500 Total without SLI: Approx Rs.87000 Total with 6800GS / 7600GT SLI setup: Approx Rs. 101000 For reference, I have put the approximate prices of the core high end components. People can design their own rig choosing from here. Athlon 64 3200+ ~ Rs.7750 Athlon 64 3500+ ~ Rs.10350 Athlon 64 3800+ Dual core X2 ~ Rs.16500 Asus A8N32 SLI deluxe ~ Rs.19500 XFX 6800 GS 256MB ~ Rs. 13500 XFX GeForce 7900 GTX ULTRA Extreme OC 512MB 690Mhz/1750Mhz ~ Rs.38000 XFX 7800GTX 256MB ~ Rs.29500 XFX 7800GT 256MB ~ Rs.23500 I suppose the prices of 7800GT / 7900GT are almost same (at least in the US). Can someone please confirm about the prices here? Please refer to the separate thread for hardware prices and qoutes for the detailed pricing of components. Please correct me if I have made any mistakes regarding pricing. For Intel, as I said, only the processor and motherboard and in some cases the RAM is different. Intel boards support DDR2 RAM nowadays. It runs at speeds of 533Mhz. The other components remain same. So here goes: For low end: Processor: P4 2.8GHz ~ Rs.4900 Motherboard: Intel D915GAV/Intel D101GGC ~ Rs.5200/Rs.3700 Mid range: Processor: P4 LGA 775 3.0GHz HT 64 bit ~ Rs. 8050 Motherboard: Anyone with 945G chipset, eg: Intel 945G ~ Rs.6150 RAM: 512MB DDR2 RAM ~ Rs.3000 HIgh end: Processor: P4 LGA 775 3.0GHz HT 64 bit ~ Rs. 8050 Motherboard: Anyone with 945G chipset, eg: Intel 945G ~ Rs.6150 RAM: 1GB DDR2 RAM ~ Rs.6000 Ultra high end: Processor: P4 Dual core 2.8GHz ~ Rs. 11400 Motherboard: Anyone with 955G chipset, eg: Gigabyte GA-81-955X royal ~ Rs.19000 RAM: 1GB DDR2 RAM ~ Rs.6000 I have only one doubt regarding the pricing of DDR2 RAM. Request the other members to confirm the price I have mentioned. Hope I was of help. Thanks for reading. Some general guidelines: ================= Buy AMD 64 bit (AMD fanboyism... ) If choice is between 6800GS/7600GT, buy the latter, cost is almost same. If choice is between 7800GT/7900GT, buy the latter, cost is almost same (?). AMD 3800+ X2 gives more value for money than 4200+ X2 CRT is always better than LCD unless you are buying an LCD with response time < 8ms. But they are expensive. CRT's have more value for money. More tips and additions and editing will be done based on feedback. Cordless keyboard/mouse are waste of money unless you want to show off or you have a DVI output on your graphics card and you connect it to a large screen TV (>25") for some wide and large screen gaming (by wide I mean aspect ratio of 16:9 instead of normal 4:3). If you have any more queries, please do not hesitate to PM me or post in the same thread. Also it would be great if this is made sticky, as then people would not make their own separate threads about new and upgrade configurations. I will try my best to update it regularly.