One pitfall of our previous buying guides and many others on the Web is that they expire shortly after publishing. Prices change daily, components come and go, and the guides simply degrade in worth until they're eventually rewritten a few months later. Recognizing this, we will be taking an alternative approach in our revamped PC Buying Guide.
From now on we will add and update new hardware to the mix as it's released. The guides will be entirely up-to-date on major product launches, and we'll make a biweekly pass over the components and their prices to catch anything in-between. We wholly welcome your support and input to keep this guide as fresh as possible.
With that out of the way, let's take a look at our four system price points:
The Budget Box ($500)Granted, if you just need to create a few documents and check your email, you can get by on much less than a $500 desktop. If you follow our Budget build to the T, you'll have a system acceptable for any role apart from running graphically intense applications -- which could also be attainable by investing in a dedicated video card.
Decent performance Good for everyday computing Gaming with add-on GPU
The Entry-Level Rig ($800)Our Entry-Level Rig should prove to be an excellent companion for running general applications and a sufficient solution for even the newest games on the market, albeit with a bit of the eye-candy tuned down.
Good performance Fast for everyday computing Casual gaming
The Enthusiast's PC ($1,500)Our Enthusiast's PC incorporates the perfect blend of both the Entry-Level Rig and Luxury System, making this the most harmonious of builds. Our intent is to keep this system within the grasp of the average computer enthusiast, essentially offering a fully-loaded PC minus some of the unnecessary bells and whistles that could set you back an additional grand or two.
Excellent performance Good Multitasker Perfect for gaming
The Luxury SystemThe Luxury System is a screaming-edge machine lacking any virtual price cap. Every component in the Luxury System guide is thoughtfully scrutinized, offering the most horsepower for your greenback. If a component's premium price isn't justified, it simply doesn't make the cut.
Workstation-like performance Great for heavy multitasking Extreme gaming