It’s been a while since we’ve posted a Parts and Price Guide on the site—okay, it’s been a long time. Now we’re back and better than ever, and so are the system specs we’re pairing you up with this month. We’re starting you off with a $1000 PC, which is a happy mid-way price point between the $700 recession special and $1500 budget surplus found in this year's Dream Machine roundup. $1000 may not seem like a steal for the truly frugal, but in a world of fluctuating economies and ever-changing technologies, getting the most “bang for your buck” is more important than getting rock bottom prices at the expense of performance. And in the time since we last posted a buyer's guide, new awesome technologies like Intel's Core i5 and ATI's Evergreen series of GPUs (which powers the Radeon 5870) have redefined our expectations of budget PC performance. With these computing advances in mind, we've carefully pieced together a sub-$1000 spec that doesn't break the bank or compromise performance.
Follow along for the secret to a hearty, healthy computer, for only a grand!
After pricing out $1000 and $1500 gaming systems, we wanted to go a bit on the high-end and see how we would configure a $2000 gaming PC. $2000 may be more than a lot of you are willing to spend on a new home-built PC, but there are plenty of people out there who spend more than $2000 on custom-designed boutique systems from OEM builders. And for those fat-walleted gamers, this article will show that you can get a whole lot more if you build it yourself (though putting the pieces together is another matter). Just as with the $1500 PC, this build leans heavily on the CPU and GPU side to optimize the rig for high-res gaming, though it'll perform more than admirably with video encoding and other productivity tasks. And as always, we write this with a disclaimer that your own personal configurations and preferences may differ from ours, which does not make them any less valid. In fact, we encourage you to use our guide as a template so you can create your own spreadsheet to swap out the parts we chose with what may suit your needs and budget.
Read on for our parts and price list, and please leave your feedback in the comments section to get the conversation started!
Time for another price and parts guide! The $1000 parts guide we posted earlier this month garnered much discussion and debate among readers, so we wanted to a better job explaining our choices in this edition. Compared to the pricey decked-out systems from OEM builders like Falcon and Digital Storm, $1500 is still technically in the "budget" range. But for many people, that's still a lot of money to spend on a PC. We catered this build for gamers, and anchored our picks on the GPU and CPU, while judiciously choosing the other parts and brands to fit into our budget limits. The results were pleasantly surprising, and recent price cuts and rebates across the board really helped. Of course, your own configuration may vary wildly from ours depending your own needs, priorities, or brand allegiances, but we think this is an awesome configuration for something building a new gaming PC.
Read on for our parts and price list, and contribute your thoughts and personal configs!
It's been far too long since we've run a Parts and Price Guide on the website, but we're now ready to get back into the groove of monthly component recommendations for your next PC build. This month, we're starting off with a $1000 PC. You'll be surprised at how much power and storage you can get for a grand -- even we're hesitant to call it a mere budget rig. In the following weeks, we'll also be running guides for $1500, $2000 systems, and will even try assembling and benchmarking a $500 configuration for the really budget-conscious (the troubled economy pretty much mandates it!). But for now, take a dive into our choices for a respectable system, and sound off on how you would build your PC differently!
Maker’s Mark is of course the name of a fine Kentucky bourbon whiskey, but the phrase also applies to the stamp that skilled artisans apply to their creations. When you’ve finished building your custom PC, we’d encourage you to stamp it with your own maker’s mark; after all, the one-of-a-kind creation you’ll have wrought will have nothing in common with the mass-produced rigs that mainstream manufacturers churn out by the millions.
That’s one of the most exciting aspects of our hobby. Automobile buffs can tune and customize their factory-built cars and trucks, but computer geeks like us get to build something new and unique almost entirely from whole cloth. And it’s so easy that you have to wonder why anyone would buy a preassembled PC in the first place.
Thanks to the relatively open architecture that IBM stumbled into oh so many years ago (and has likely regretted ever since), we can rebuild and retune our creations again and again, boosting their performance and postponing their obsolescence. We do hit a wall every now and again. Intel’s new Core i7 CPU is a good example. Because the new processor features an onboard memory controller—a first for Intel, although AMD’s procs have had the technology for years—the company had to design a new socket architecture to accommodate the additional pins. That blocks the upgrade path for anyone using an LGA775 motherboard.
Intel has AMD on the run in the CPU front, but AMD is poking Nvidia in the behind in the graphics processor market. The result: ever more powerful, ever less expensive videocards. The two companies have shipped so many new parts that we expect things will stabilize over the next quarter or so, so now’s the time to find a great deal whether you’re building a new rig or retrofitting an old one. And if you’ve never experienced the joy and pride of building your own PC, click through to read our in-depth, hands-on guide.