Boutique system builder iBuyPower has united with an unlikely business partner to deliver custom PCs to the masses. Starting this week, Walmart customers can purchase a desktop computer specifically tailored to their liking, with various options for the system's chassis, processor, graphics card and almost every other internal component.
Pricing starts at $578 with an NZXT Gamma case (the enclosure chosen for our Budget Box), an AMD Athlon II X4 645, an Nvidia GeForce GT 430, 2GB of RAM, a 500GB 7200RPM HDD, a DVD burner and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. While that's admittedly a poor value compared to a true DIY machine, you won't have to get your hands dirty.
It's also worth mentioning that the cheapest configuration won't fare too well with heavy gaming, so you'll have to invest another few hundred for respectable performance. Upgrading to Intel's Core i5-2500K and 4GB of DDR3 RAM pushes the bill to $798, while a decent graphics card will cost another $50 to $300 depending on your needs.
A totally maxed out configuration skyrockets to $1,733 with an Antec DF-35, Core i7-2600K, a GTX 480 8GB of RAM, 2TB of storage, a Blu-ray burner, and Windows 7 Ultimate. Interestingly, the GTX 570 is an option but the GTX 580 isn't. We also find it odd that there are no SSDs listed, nor the option to choose a secondary storage device.
There's always a luxury tax associated with boutique machines, so we can't fairly compare that configuration to what you'd pay assembling the rig yourself. However, buying the maxed setup directly through iBuyPower is roughly $290 cheaper and includes free liquid cooling, meaning Walmart's offer is mostly targeting the uninitiated.
This was somewhat suggested by iBuyPower in yesterday's press release. "There are few brands in the world that are as recognizable as Wal-Mart," said iBuyPower VP Darren Su. "It is an honor to be chosen to join forces with them to offer custom built PCs, and will introduce the iBuyPower brand to an entirely new segment of gamers."