Unlike our high-end buying guide where we are willing to pay for certain premiums, our mid-level PC buying guide puts an equal emphasis on performance and price, ideal for most do-it-yourselfers.

There are two big goals for this guide. The first goal is to assemble a real enthusiast-level computer that will fly along in the office or at the LAN party. The second goal is to make sure you can also pay next month’s rent. With these two goals in mind, I’ll share and explain some of the best choices for hardware and provide links to the best places on the net to score the best deals.