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PC Buyers Guide - 11th May 2002

You've seen it before, but with new products coming to market all the time, we have updated the PC Buyers Guide. If you've been looking for that perfect setup but don't want to throw away your cash, then come take a gander at the latest installment. We've added a few more goodies that have what it takes to be considered "TweakTown Recommended"!
TweakTown Staff
Published Fri, May 10 2002 11:00 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:25 PM CDT
Manufacturer: none

PC Buyers Guide - Introduction

IntroductionReading a lot of tech related websites gives you the impression that some people have been conned into buying product A, which is rubbish, while others have just bought it cause it looks cool. Other people go out and buy a brand name computer like Dell, Compaq etc, and wonder why it cant be upgraded in the future. Yet more people are asking if product B is better than A or C, and eventually go back to square one because they get so many different opinions.This guide is here to give you a good idea of the products on the market that can fulfill your requirements. The first product listed is the top of the range model, which you will find hard to obtain a better product. Mind you, different people will have different opinions over what is the best, so this is giving you a product that is definitely up there with the best. The second product listed is one that gives excellent performance relative to its price. Again, different people will like different thing, but this also gives you an idea of what to look for.Ed. Note : Throughout this guide, at the end of each section, you will see links to our Pricegrabber feature. Pricegrabber is a 3rd party feature of TweakTown which allows you to search for the best price on a particular product, saving you searching the entire Internet for the best prices. Additionally, prices are listed in Australian dollars, for USD; divide by two for the rough conversation.

PC Buyers Guide - Whats new this guide

New for this guide:Athlon XP 1900+ - Up a massive 66MHz from last guide...MSI 845 Ultra ARU - P4 i845D motherboardHercules 3D Prophet FDX 8500LE - Radeon 8500LEThe Pentium 4 with 133MHz FSB has not been included in this guide because it is extremely hard to find, and finding an i850E motherboard and PC1066 RDRAM to suit is too difficult. Hopefully the new P4 can appear next guide, but it might be delayed again due to difficulties in obtaining it. Look for the addition of cases in the next guide as well!

PC Buyers Guide - Processors

Processors- Intel Pentium 4 2.53GHz - 133MHz FSB (Northwood B)Times on list: NewIntel's website for this product
Intel's rise back to the top of the CPU ladder took a long time, as the P4 Willamette certainly wasn't the world's fastest processor. The original Pentium 4 (Willamette) couldn't keep up with AMD produced processors, and some of the lower clocked P4's were being beaten by Pentium 3's in certain applications. When the Athlon XP was released, the P4 Willamette fell even further behind, and Intel had to do something. Their answer was the Pentium 4 Northwood. The Northwood is essentially the same as a Willamette, so it supports the 400MHz FSB (100MHz Quad Pumped), SSE2 and runs in Socket 478 format, but Intel has added an additional 256Kb of L2 Cache to give a total of 512Kb, and a die shrink to 0.13micron core.The next evolution of the P4 Northwood was the move to a FSB (Front Side Bus) of 133MHz, quad pumped, which gives a very handy 533MHz effective. This processor hasn't been included in this guide for one main reason, availability, not just on the CPU, but i850E boards, and PC1066 RDRAM. While the processor does exist in the retail market, they are extremely hard to get. Another issue is the lack of motherboards that have out of the box support for a 133MHz FSB. At the current time, this is limited to the i850E, with the i845G coming soon. To take advantage of the extra bandwidth, the i850E really needs to use PC1066 RDRAM, which is also extremely hard to get. Without it, the extra speed given by the increased FSB speed often isn't realized. That said, the current PC800 RDRAM can usually be overclocked to the PC1066 standard, and the i845D motherboard included in this guide can be overclocked to 133MHz FSB reasonably easily.These changes from the Willamette to the Northwood core have worked wonders for Intel, and the Pentium 4 has regained the speed crown, although not by too much. The extra cache has really allowed the P4 to catch up to, and then pass the Athlon XP's performance, with the extra FSB speed taking it even further. The die shrink has reduced voltage requirements, and thus heat, which give Intel the ability to scale the chip higher, and mean overclocking is much, much easier.Talking of Northwood overclocking, the 1.6GHz variant is almost certainly guaranteed to overclock to 2GHz +, and the 2.4GHz model can get past 2.6GHz with decent cooling. The downside of this chip? The price! AUD$1400...ouch! However, this section is the top of the line processor, so money isn't an issue.- Find the best price on Intel Pentium 4 2.4GHz (Northwood)!- AMD Athlon XP 1900+Times on list: 3 (Last edition it was 66MHz slower...)AMD's website for this product
Thankfully for us Athlon lovers, all versions of the P4 are beaten by the Athlon XP at lower clock speeds. The Athlon XP (Palomino) was the processor released after the Thunderbird by AMD, and was quite heavily redesigned. A lot of things were changed, but the things that stayed were the 266MHz FSB (133MHz DDR), 128KB of L1 cache and the 256KB L2 cache. The things that were introduced centered on the hyped QuantiSpeed Architecture, which is basically a name given to special things the processor has that lead to it being able to carry out more instructions per clock cycle (IPC). This boils down to it doing things like Hardware data prefetching, which give it the ability to do more IPC's per clock cycle. This then leads to the slightly confusing PR rating system. The PR system is designed to show users what the performance of the processor is really like, as most people who purchase a CPU think the more megahertz, the more speed. An example is my XP 1600+ processor. The processor is actually running at 1400MHz, but because it can carry out more IPC's than a P4, AMD thinks its performance is equal to a P4 running at 1600MHz. This actually holds out to be fairly true, and is usually underestimated!Anyway, why did I choose this processor? The choice of processors is only really between the Athlon XP's, as at lower clock speeds they easily account for the comparative Pentium 4. I chose the XP 1900+ because of its excellent price/performance ratio. The extra speed in this processor, compared to the 1800+ here last time, is a measly 66MHz. However, the price has dropped, and a 1900+ can be found for a few measly dollars more than the 1800+, making the 1900+ an excellent choice. The performance of the 1900+ isn't that far behind the 2100+ (currently the fastest AMD processor) and it costs half as much. Add to that the above average overclocking ability of the 1900+ and you have yourself a winner, especially when placed with the right motherboard and RAM.One thing to note is the impending release of the Athlon XP based on the Thoroughbred core. This processor only has a die shrink to 0.13 microns, but its introduction should reduce the price of other AMD chips. It may be worth waiting a few weeks or a month until the Thoroughbred has hit the stores.- Find the best price on AMD Athlon XP 1900+!

PC Buyers Guide - Motherboards

Motherboards- MSI 845 Ultra ARUTimes on list: NewMSI's website for this product
While the P4 Fire Dragon recommended here last guide is certainly a quality board, the MSI 845 Ultra ARU featured in this comparison, (reviewed here) is an even better quality board. In fact, it managed to beat the two other boards in the test, and those boards certainly aren't slouches.Like the Fire Dragon, the MSI is based on the i845D chipset that supports DDR RAM and an FSB of 100MHz. The MSI supports 5 PCI slots, an AGP 4x slot, a CNR slot, even though it's useless, 3 DIMM slots, 2 USB 1.1 ports, with two more supplied on a bracket, 4 USB 2.0 ports, of which all are on a bracket, a Promise ATA-133 RAID controller supporting normal ATA-133 and RAID 0 and 1, a C-Media 6 channel sound chip, which is vastly superior to the AC'97 found on many boards, active chipset cooling, a cool looking box, numerous software goodies, cables and a very thick manual.As I said before, the performance of this board is superior to last guides recommended board, the Fire Dragon. In all but two tests the MSI board comes out on top of the opposition, so its fairly obvious the board runs very well.The overclocking of the board is also quite impressive. There are the usual FSB controls for 1MHz increment overclocking, CPU multiplier changes in the unlikely event you have an unlocked P4, the usual memory tweaks such as CAS latency, Bank Interleaving etc, and some slightly dubious Voltage controls. While the board supports CPU, RAM and AGP voltage changing, the voltage limits are reasonably low. The maximum the Core voltage could be raised to is 1.85v if you're using a Willamette processor, and a low 1.7v for a Northwood. The RAM voltages are limited to 2.5-2.7v, which again is quite low. At least the AGP voltage controls were reasonable, going from 1.5-1.7v.With the P4 533MHz FSB's release impending, and passed in some countries, you may want to invest in a board that supports the 133MHz FSB. However, this board was able to be overclocked from the default 100MHz to 146MHz FSB, which means the board will run the new processors without fail.- Find the best price on MSI 845 Ultra ARU!- EPoX 8KA3/8KA3+Times on List: 2EPoX's website for this product
This board is based on the relatively new KT333 chipset from VIA. The KT333 chipset is an evolution of the KT266A chipset, and it adds DDR 333 memory support. The market isn't as flooded as the KT266A market, but there are still quite a few boards to chose from.The EPoX 8KA3/+ (+ signifies RAID) was chosen because of its reasonable amount of features, strong performance and good overclocking ability. The board contains 3 DIMM Sockets that support DDR 333 RAM (PC2700), an AGP 4x slot, 6 PCI slots, 2 USB ports (2 optional), support for up to 4 IDE devices including ATA-133, an ATA-133 RAID controller supporting RAID 0,1,0+1, and the usual Serial and PS/2 ports.The performance of the board is very similar to the other KT333 boards, usually not varying by more than a few frames. Nevertheless, the KT333 boards are the fastest Socket A boards on the planet at the moment, so you can't go wrong with it or any of the other KT333 boards.The overclocking potential of this board is the selling point. There are options to move the FSB in 1MHz increments up to 200MHz, the important PCI/AGP dividers, the usual RAM tweaks, and the usual Voltage changes, and the board is very stable when overclocked. The 8KA3's performance and overclocking ability lead to it being chosen here, but if you are after USB 2.0, the MSI KT3U will suffice, and if you want something different without legacy ports, go for the Abit AT7.- Find the best price on EPoX motherboards!

PC Buyers Guide - DDR Memory

DDR Memory- Corsair CAS 2 XMS3000 (PC3000) DDR SDRAM 256MBTimes on list: 2Corsair's website for this product
While Kingmax may have PC3200 DDR RAM on the market, the Corsair RAM was chosen because of its proven reliability at very high FSB speeds. This model of RAM is certified to run at 185MHz FSB (370MHz DDR) with settings of 2-3-3 and a 1T command rate. At 166MHz FSB (333 DDR) they are certified to run at 2-2-2 and a 1T command rate. The module uses 8 8*32M chips and come with a pre-installed heat sink to help keep the temperature down when running extreme FSB's. They also come with a lifetime warranty.Another module to look out for is the Kingmax PC3200 DDR RAM chips. They are rated for CAS 2.5 at 400Mhz and CAS 2 at 366MHz.Note: If you want a board for the P4 133MHz FSB, with out of the box support for 133MHz FSB, then you will need to purchase an i850E motherboard, which does not support DDR RAM like this. You will need PC800/PC1066 RDRAM.- Find the best price on Corsair DDR memory!- Kingmax PC2700 (333MHz) DDR SDRAMTimes on list: 2Kingmax's website for this product
Kingmax have been the pioneers in using the TinyBGA format, which greatly reduces the size and heat production, allowing for better overclocking. This RAM is one that uses this new format of packaging. This RAM module is rated for CL2.5 at 333MHz, but runs CL2 at 333 with ease. Like the Corsair RAM, you get a lifetime warranty on this product.If you're looking to buy some sticks of DDR RAM, make sure you go for PC2700, like the RAM mentioned here. PC2100 (266MHz) is the next common step down (there is PC2400/300MHz RAM, but not ever company makes it), and the price differences between quality PC2100 RAM and PC2700 RAM are so small, you'd be crazy not to get PC2700 RAM. Now that's all clear, go and buy some of this stuff, it's the best price/performance RAM on the market.- Find the best price on Kingmax PC2700 (333MHz) DDR SDRAM!

PC Buyers Guide - Video Cards

Video Cards- Leadtek A250 Ultra TDH (GeForce4 Ti4600)Times on list: 2Leadtek's website for this product
Since the GeForce4 was released onto the market a bit more than a month ago, it has redefined the meaning of performance desktop graphics. In some tests the GeForce4 scored more than 50% higher than the previous speed champions, the Radeon 8500 and GeForce 3 Ti500.The GeForce is available in two flavors at the moment, the top of the range GeForce4 Ti4600, and the middle of the range GeForce4 Ti4400. In the coming month, the GeForce4 Ti4200 will be released, which is a sub US$200 performance card. The only difference between the GeForce4 models lies in the speeds they are clocked at. The specs are:- GeForce4 Ti4600Core: 300MHz RAM: 325MHz- GeForce4 Ti4400Core: 275MHzRAM: 275MHz- GeForce4 Ti420064MB versionCore: 250MHzRAM: 250MHz128MB versionCore: 250MHzRAM: 222MHzNote: Remember, these cards use DDR RAM which means the RAM speed is doubled.All GeForce4 Ti4400/4600 cards have 128MB of RAM.The GeForce4 has been updated quite heavily since the GeForce3, but it doesn't include any major steps forward. The main additions to the GeForce4 are the nFiniteFX II engine, the addition of a second vertex shader, improvements to the pixel shaders, Accuview, nView, which is basically the ability to use a dual monitor set up, and LMA II (Light Speed Memory Architecture), which is one of the biggest reasons why the GeForce4 has such a performance increase over the GeForce3.Enough about the GeForce4 and onto the Leadtek card. The Leadtek card certainly isn't the most feature rich on the market, but it can still hold its own. The card comes clocked at the standard 300/650, has 128MB of 2.8ns, an analogue monitor port, TV out, DVI, hardware monitoring (only on the TDH model), Winfox suite of tools (ranging from overclocking utilities to games), and the mother of all heatsinks! If you look at most other GeForce4 Ti4600's, they feature no RAM sinks, and a solitary core fan. Leadtek obviously wanted to prove a point, and increase the overclocking potential of the card, so they put on a massive heat sink that covers both the RAM and the core, and put two 30mm fans onto it. To cap it off, they put a passive heat sink on the back of the card (the same size as the front heat sink).The performance of this card is unbelievable, like the other Ti4600 cards, but doesn't have any real advantage over the other cards. Nearly all the cards these days are scoring within a few frames of each other. The real selling point of the card is its excellent overclockability. The massive heat sink and dual fans give it an edge over the other cards, which often don't even have RAM sinks.The GeForce4 Ti4600 is without a doubt the leading video card on the market. If your looking for performance and overclockability, you cant go past this Leadtek card. However, if you want the performance without the overclocking ability and a much lower price, try the Sparkle GeForce4. If your looking for features, the MSI GeForce4 is an excellent bet.- Find the best price on Leadtek A250 Ultra!- Leadtek A250 TDH (GeForce4 Ti4400)Times on list: 2Leadtek's website for this productThis card is exactly the same as the one above, except it is classed as a Ti4400, which means it has a lower core/memory speed (see above for speeds). The performance on the card is excellent, but obviously not up to Ti4600 speeds.The overclocking of the card is also very good, but you wont be able to get the RAM to the same levels as a Ti4600 overclock, as this card runs slower 3.6ns memory. Again, if you're after features, go the MSI route, and price is the Sparkle route. But if you want performance and excellent overclocking, the Leadtek is the card for you.- Find the best price on Leadtek A250!- Hercules 3DProphet 8500LE (Radeon 8500LETimes on list: NewHercule's website for this product
Even with the GeForce4 coming down in price, especially the Ti4400, they are still more than AUD$600, about US$300, which is a lot of money for a video card. The low price performance market was previously held by nVidia's GeForce3 Ti200, but now the mantle has been handed to ATi. The 8500LE is basically an 8500 with slower memory and core speeds. There is extra resistor on the 8500LE, which limits the memory overclocking to below 275MHz, which keeps it below the 8500. However, there have been reports of simple tricks that overcome this. Other than that, the 8500LE is the same card as the 8500.The Radeon 8500LE features the Charisma II engine, which has similar programmable vertex and pixel shaders like the GeForce3 Ti200, which are run through the smartshader technology, smoothvision, ATi's anti-Aliasing engine, Hyperz II, Truform and Hardware DVD playback, TV Out and DVI out. The core/memory are clocked at 250MHz, 25 below the standard Radeon 8500. One important thing to note is both the Radeon 8500 and LE support DirectX 8.1 functions, which make them future proof for at least a year. Like I said earlier, the 8500LE has a small resistor that stops the memory being moved above 275MHz. However, a small trick can be employed which can allow it to be clocked higher. The core can be clocked higher than 275MHz without any tricks or mods. Unfortunately, the RAM is Hynix 4ns, which is rated to 500MHz, which is the cards default speed. This limits its overclocking potential quite dramatically.The biggest uproar when the Radeon 8500 came out where about its drivers. They were, to tell the truth, crap. There were serious problems from image distortion, to very slow performance in games. At one stage, ATi even added a special registry entry that allowed the Radeon to reduce image quality to improve frame rates in Quake3, a very popular reviewing application. Thankfully, this has been removed.The driver support for the Radeon's is now far better, with very good performance and image quality even with the out-of-the box Hercules drivers. Using the latest ATi drivers will raise the performance and stability even more. Performance wise, the 8500LE is no slouch, beating the GeForce3 Ti200 in basically every test thrown at it, and in most cases it can come close to, or pass, a Ti500. Obviously it cannot keep up with the GeForce4, but at AUD$350, you won't find anything as good.- Find the best price on GeForce3 Ti200 graphics cards!

PC Buyers Guide - Hard Disk Drives

Hard Disk Drives- Western Digital Caviar Special Edition Hard DiskTimes on list: 2WD's website for this product
When Quantum and Maxtor joined forces some time ago, the competition in the hard disk industry began to thin out. Add to that IBM's woeful 60GXP and 75GXP hard drives, which suffered very frequent data loss and complete failure, and the market is left with three main forces. Maxtor, Seagate and Western Digital. In recent times all three companies have put out excellent drives, and Maxtor went the next step and added ATA-133 support to their drives.The Western Digital drives, or WD for short, supports ATA-100, spins at 7200 RPM (revolutions per minute), has a 2MB buffer, an average Read Seek time of 8.9ms, and come in sizes from 20-120GB. If you're in need of some serious space, the 80-120 GB models also come in a "special edition" format, which ups the buffer to a massive 8MB's.All the drives come with WD's special data lifeguard, which is a group of software utilities that try to identify problems on the disk, and then fix them before they result in data loss. You also get a 3-year warranty.The performance of the normal WD drives is excellent, but the performance of the special edition drives is unbelievable. In many cases, they can outperform a SCSI drive, which obviously puts them ahead of the Maxtor and Seagate IDE drives. With a buffer of 8MBs, and performance that can beat SCSI drives, the WD Caviar Special Edition drives are the ones to get. Couple these together in a RAID array and you can get even higher performance (and an awful lot of HDD space seeing as they only come in 80-120 GB sizes). The choice of size is yours, but it's going to take a lot of programs, MP3's and DIVX to fill even the 80GB model up.If you're in the market for a hard drive that can support insane FSB speeds, the Seagate Barracuda IV drives have been getting a reputation for just that. Take a look if that's your cup of tea.- Find the best price on Western Digital Caviar Special Edition 100GB!- Seagate Barracuda ATA IV Hard DriveTimes on list: 2Seagate's website for this product
The Seagate Barracuda IV's can't keep up to the Special Edition WD's, thanks to their massive buffer size, but they can surpass the normal WD Caviar drives in performance, and are slightly cheaper.The Barracuda IV comes in sizes ranging from 20-80GB, has a 2MB buffer, spins at 7200 RPM, has an average Read Seek Time of 9ms, and supports ATA-100. Like the WD drives, they have a data protection system, in this case called 3D Defense System. They also come with a 3-year warranty.As I've said, the performance is better than the normal WD drives, and they are priced slightly cheaper. The Maxtor drives support ATA-133, but you will rarely exceed a transfer rate of 100MBytes a second, so there's nothing to worry about. To cap it all off, they have a reputation for supporting crazy FSB speeds, which is a big plus for extreme overclockers.- Find the best price on Seagate Barracuda ATA IV Hard Drives!

PC Buyers Guide - DVD and Burner Drives

DVD DrivesThere's no point buying a plain CD-ROM drive now, as DVD drives have fallen in price, and have a 40x CD read speed, which is just below the 52x most CD-ROM drives have. Movies are now being released on DVD, which means you can watch them on your PC. If you have a separate DVD player, you should still get a PC DVD player. Some PC games and applications are being released on DVD's because they can hold way more data than a normal CD. *Thinks of his copy of Commando's 2 which came with three(!) CD's*There are a lot of quality DVD drives on the market at the moment, but one that stands out is the Toshiba SD-M1612. It reads at 16x, reads CD's at 48x, can read DVD-RAM disks, has a 512KB buffer, has an access time of 85ms and is tray loading.
Other good brands of DVD drives include Sony and Pioneer.- Find the best price on Toshiba SD-M1612 DVD drive!Burners- LiteOn 40x12x48x IDE CD-RW (LTR 40125S)Times on list: 2LiteOn's website for this product
Not to long ago CD-RW and CD-R drives were hellishly expensive, and relatively slow. Times have changed, and its now very quick and easy to make those "backups" of your important software.This LiteOn CD-RW has 40x (Z-CLV) recording, 12x (CLV) re-writing, and 48x (CAV) reading. It supports RAW DAO 96 mode, which lets you burn what was previously unburnable, such as SafeDisk 2. The drive also comes with SMART-BURN buffer underrun to avoid coasters, supports ATA-33, has a 2MB buffer and is tray loading.While the drives performance is slightly behind other drives on the market, the margin is very, very small. So why does it get recommended as the top of the line burner? Its price is so low that it's impossible to pass up. I have seen these for sale in Australia for less than AUD$300 (about US$150, and take a bit more away because the computer companies like the raise the price a bit). With the extra money, go and buy more RAM, hard drive space, or save the money, or even better, send it to me.- LiteOn 32x12x40x IDE CD-RW (LTR 32123S)Times on list: 2LiteOn's website for this product
This drive is exactly the same as the one above, except it has 32x (Z-CLV) recording, 12x(CLV) re-writing and 40x (CAV) reading. Obviously the performance will be lower, but surprisingly the difference is very small. One thing to note is these drives use the Z-CLV (Zone- Constant Linear Velocity) writing method, which means the CD gets written to at different speeds at different stages. On this drive the first 2 minutes are at 16x, then the next ten at 20x then 26 minutes at 24x and the rest at 32x. If you write to the whole CD, you get an average speed of 26x, not to shabby.Again the real selling point of this drive is the price. In Australia they are less than $200, which makes them a hard drive to pass up.- Find the best price on LiteOn burners!

PC Buyers Guide - Soundcards and Monitors

Soundcards- Sound Blaster Audigy Platinum eXTimes on list: 2Creative's website for this product
Creative have had a reputation for making quality sound cards for some time, and the new Audigy's certainly uphold this reputation. They are the evolution of the SB Live!, which a lot more features and processing power. The Audigy comes in 3 flavors, the DE (Digital Entertainment), which is just the sound card and no extras, the Platinum internal, which has an internal Audigy Drive, and the Platinum eX, which has an external Audigy Drive.The new Audigy comes with a whole host of new features, which include support for the new EAX advanced HD, which is like EAX 3, but won't have support in mainstream titles until later this year, 24-bit music playback, the new Audigy processor, which has approx. 4 times the power of the EMU10K1 processor seen in the SB Live!, 100dB SNR, a handy remote controller and a whole host of new software. The Audigy Drive has a host of ports which include Firewire, a whole host of RCA ports, Optical In/Out, headphone/microphone jack and midi In/Out. The performance of the SB Audigy's is excellent, both in terms of audio quality and CPU utilization.The Audigy is relatively new, so other companies haven't had a chance to put out competing products, but the Audigy is clearly the best sound card for mainstream users. If you're into serious things to do with sound, there are better cards for your needs, but for most people, the Audigy is perfect.- Sound Blaster Audigy Digital EntertainmentTimes on list: 2Creative's website for this product
This card is exactly the same as the one above, except it lacks the Audigy Drive. However, you still get the Firewire port, which is placed on the card itself. The card supports the same things as the Platinum, so you lose nothing there, and the performance is identical. The biggest selling point is the price, which is less than half the price of the Platinum and Platinum eX.If AUD$200 is still too much for a soundcard, the SB Live! is still an excellent card for an amazingly cheap price.- Find the best price on Sound Blaster Audigy!Monitors- Sony 21" CPD-G520 FD TrinitronTimes on list: 2Sony's website for this product
Sony has been making exceptional monitors for some time now, and this monitor is no exception. This monster has a viewable screen size of 19.8", has an aperture grille pitch of 0.24mm, horizontal scan range of 30-130kHz, vertical scan range of 48-170Hz, max resolution is a gigantic 2048*1536 and it weighs a massive 64.7lbs, which is about 30kg's!The picture quality of this monster is crystal clear, as you would hope for the rather large price. With a GeForce4 under the bonnet you will be able to see this monitor at its best, but if you have a much less powerful video card, you should really look at a 19" model. Sony makes excellent quality 19" monitors as well, and they are far cheaper.If your not going to use your PC for gaming you may want to buy an LCD monitor. They are reasonably expensive but have excellent picture quality and are small compared to a similar sized CRT monitor. The model to get is up to you, but go for a quality brand such as Sony, and the one that most suites your eyes. If you're after something that looks a little different, try the Hercules Prophetview 720.- Find the best price on Sony 21" CPD-G520 FD Trinitron!- LG Flatron 795FT+Times on list: 2LG's website for this product
Most people can't afford to spend AUD$2000 on a monitor like the Sony 21", and are stuck looking for a monitor for a quarter of the price. This LG CRT monitor is just that, a quarter of the price, and gives an excellent quality picture for a much more affordable price.The monitor has a 16" viewable Flat CRT screen, has a max resolution of 1600*1200, an aperture grille pitch of 0.24mm, a horizontal frequency of 30-96kHz, vertical frequency of 50-160Hz, weighs 22.7kg and has a 3 year warranty. You will be doing very well to find a better monitor than this one for the same price.- Find the best price on LG Flatron 795FT+!

PC Buyers Guide - Conclusion

ConclusionA lot of people get conned into buying computer parts that are, honestly, pathetic. If you walk into certain retail outlets in Australia, and I'm sure this happens in other countries, the salesman will probably try and sell you a TNT2 M64, which they claim gives super fast frame rates, and comes with a massive 32MB of RAM!! Obviously these salespeople don't know that they are talking about, but a lot of people do believe them, and will be very disappointed when they throw Quake III at the TNT2.By reading this guide you can get an understanding of what is good in the crowded marketplace, and can make an informed decision. The products here are not always the number one performers, or the most feature packed on the market, but they are a product that excels in both of those fields. If you don't agree with what I list (which I imagine will happen with the P4 2.4GHz) that's fine with me, but remember these products are certainly among the best on the market, so you won't be disappointed if you buy them.Just remember; always get quality over a cheap price. They will last longer, perform better, and you will have a lot more fun with them. And whatever you do, don't believe the man in these "certain retail outlets..."We'll be keeping this Buyers Guide updated every two weeks, keep your eye out for the next edition!If you have just purchased a new product from this list, or want to see just how good your PC is, head to the new Tweaktown files section located here

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