About a year ago we revamped our long-standing guide for PC builders and prospective buyers, setting it to be updated on an ongoing basis. Throughout 2010 we kept to our word, making near immediate changes when major product launches took place, and giving the guide biweekly passes to make sure the best component recommendations were live at any given moment with its respective pricing information and analysis.

The TechSpot PC Buying Guide offers an in-depth list of today's best hardware, spanning four unique, yet typical budgets. Whether you are a first time builder seeking guidance or a seasoned enthusiast, we've got you covered.

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)
• Decent performance • Good for everyday computing • Gaming with add-on GPU
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. However, 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.
The Entry-Level Rig (~$900)
• Good performance • Fast for everyday computing • Casual gaming
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.
The Enthusiast's PC (~$1,600)
• Excellent performance • Good Multitasker • Perfect for gaming
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.
The Luxury System
• Workstation-like performance • Great for heavy multitasking • Extreme gaming
The 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.