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!
As some of you may recall, we featured a Budget Badass Buyer’s Guide at the beginning of the month to provide some guidance to those looking for solid performance at what we, Maximum PC, would consider to be a reasonable price. We read your responses to the build and many felt that $1500 was a bit over what the typical user would consider “budget.” So, we took it a step further and created a Budget PC below the $1500 mark. In fact, we even dropped it under $1000. At $800, we couldn’t quite figure out if it would even be possible to construct a PC that could play the latest games or even do some basic photo-manipulation in Photoshop. We stepped up to the challenge and built this Budget PC and put it to the test against our hardcore, $5000 machines to see how they match up.
Since we are still in the process of assembling the rig, benchmarks have yet to be run. For now, we give you our parts list. Check back soon for the results from our tests!
For the past few weeks we have presented you with our $1500 Budget Badass and $2500 Power User PC. This week we’re bringing to the table our picks for a $2500 Pro Gaming PC. With significant price cuts since our last Pro Gaming PC build-it guide, we were able to give our gaming PC some extra juice so system lag can no longer be blamed for missing a crucial headshot. Many parts have not changed since the last update, but with new hardware technology coming soon to the computer industry, be prepared for some significant tweaks next month. But for now, here’s what we got.
Would you build it differently? If so, we would love to hear how you would do it in the comments!
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.
Since our last Budget Badass update back in July, the hardware industry has made some dramatic turns as far as new technology goes. With the release of the energy-efficient Penryn core from Intel, we took a side step away from the Kentsfield core and took a swing at the Q9300. While the Q9300 sports a slightly smaller cache than the Q6600, we found the Penryn to perform better in our tests. With the extra leeway we had in the budget from the previous configuration, we also swapped out the Radeon 4870 for a beefier GTX 280 while keeping the final price tag under $1500. Now this, my friends, is what we would like to call a Budget Badass!
Last week, we showed you which parts you would want to buy to construct a killer $2500 PC. The purpose of that machine was power computing – serious audio/video editing and high-bitrate media transcoding. We got a lot of flak about a few of our choices (most noticeably the CPU), but we stand by our picks. That PC configuration was meant for Power Users, and not hardcore gamers (though we recognize that those aren’t mutually-exclusive groups). For someone who primarily uses their PC for gaming, and won’t accept framerate dips in 120Hz games, we have different recommendations. The following components make up our ideal $2500 hardcore gaming rig (prices as listed on Newegg). If it’s not what you’d buy, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!
Earlier this month, we ran a feature showing you which parts to buy if you wanted to build an affordable-yet-kick-ass $1300 lean machine. This week, we’re moving up from budget PC recommendations to our power user picks. But with great power, comes great cost. Monetary costs, that is. Our Power User’s PC costs $2500 without a monitor of peripherals – the high end of what we’d expect a PC enthusiast to spend when pieceing together a new rig. We also want to clarify what we mean by Power User’s PC. We see the Power User as someone who maximizes his PC’s processing potential. This person encodes media files, burns high-definition discs, and manipulates image, audio and video files. Gaming is important to the Power User, but this isn’t someone who demands 120 frames per second in multiplayer shooters – he’d rather shave precious seconds off of his video encoding times while multitasking in Photoshop.
Click through to see if our $2500 Power User's PC is right for you!