Beige bezels on a black chassis? We didn’t order that. Our sponsor, Monarch, offers a ton of different configurations but it leads to major problems in build quality when it comes to the Furia.
As many of you might know, [H] Consumer doesn’t "review" personal computer systems; we evaluate the experiences they facilitate. We anonymously order the system the same as you would and weigh every aspect of the end-user experience. Not only does this give us a better idea of what hardware an end user actually receives, it also allows us to obtain a more accurate picture of just how each company functions and treats its customers. As fast as PC hardware has become over the years, we think giving a personal computer "5 stars" based on a synthetic benchmark is simply irresponsible. We think service, support, and reliability are much more important factors in today's climate than speed. Fast is easily paid for, but purchasing and ownership satisfaction can be elusive regardless of price.
When thinking of OEMs that provide a wide variety of choices for computer users, one of the first that comes to mind is Monarch. The Georgia-based OEM is often mentioned in the HardForum for its inexpensive prices and a large selection of components.
Full Disclosure: Monarch Computers is also a sponsor of HardOCP.
We decided to build a mid-range computer with room for upgradeability. We ordered a Monarch Furia – Monarch’s 939 pin, 64-bit AMD product line. We chose an ATI, rather than an NVIDIA, motherboard for the sake of variety. We added a 1-year warranty with 24/7 tech support and a 30-day DOA “freight paid both ways” plan.
By far the most expensive component in our build was the ASUS A8R32-MVP Deluxe motherboard with CrossFire support. You can get a similar system for less from Monarch by going with a cheaper motherboard, but we wanted something that was CrossFire ready with the ability to upgrade down the line. The motherboard cost $235.69 when we ordered it, bumping up the total cost to $1326 + $75 for shipping and handling.
Our configuration would be most appropriate as a family system or a mid-range computer for power-users and gamers. As of May 2, 2006, a similar configuration would cost $1,227.64 + shipping and handling.