Entry Level Box

As the title implies, this is not a top-grade machine, however, it is (in our opinion) the best system $800 can buy. This box should prove to be a sufficient solution for running even the newest games on the market, albeit with a bit of the eye-candy tuned down.

Gigabyte GA-P35-S3G - $75
Gigabyte's GA-P35-S3G conforms to ATX standards and is built around the Intel P35 chipset, which offers near equivalent performance to the slightly superior P45, X38 and X48 chipsets at a fraction of the cost. It supports a hefty 8GB of DDR2 1066MHz RAM, 1333MHz FSB, 1 PCI-E x16 and PCI-E x1 slots, 5 PCI slots, a single PATA host adapter, 4 SATA II host adapters and 6 USB 2.0 ports. Also, integrated within this board is a sound card and NIC, both of which we will be making use of with this build to help keep down the cost. Being only $75, this board is a steal.
Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 - $135
Priced at a modest $135, the E7200 at stock frequencies would likely meet the needs of most users, it's not for nothing we labeled it "the new budget king" in our recent review. Featuring Intel's latest 45nm technology, it has a 1066MHz FSB, 2.53GHz clock frequency and 3MB L2 cache.

Like a champ, the E7200 has been shown to commonly hit overclocked speeds of 3.0GHz to 3.5GHz, which is on-par and otherwise faster than the much more expensive E8400 at stock frequencies (excluding the extra 3MB cache, of course). With its overclocking abilities, the E7200 ought to quench the thirst of both the average PC user and gamer alike.

Corsair XMS2 2 x 1GB 800MHz - $50
With the arrival of DDR3, DDR2 is seeing some of its lowest prices ever and fortunately it still remains a very suitable option for users across the board given the high cost and latencies of DDR3 memory. $50 is a very round figure, one that has excluded the numerous rebates that are hitting the scene daily. It is very feasible to find RAM with similar specifications accompanied by a rebate, dragging the price down into the mid-$30 range.
Video Card:
PNY GeForce 9600 GT - $150
Considering the ever-declining prices of the GeForce 8 series, it wouldn't be too difficult to squeeze an 8800GT into our "Entry Level Box", however, given the success of Nvidia's 9600GT, we feel comfortable suggesting you pick this card up instead. The 9600GT has proved itself to be a very solid choice for a budget gaming PC (DX10 or otherwise), often showing close 2nd place finishes to the 8800GT in benchmark applications and it happens to be a bit more wallet friendly.
Hard Disk Drive:
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250GB - $65
Complying with SATA II standards, the Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 offers an external host transfer rate of 3Gb/s and has a sustained internal transfer rate of 78MB/s, 16MB cache, an average seek time of 12.6ms and a 5 year warranty. While a 250GB HDD won't remain unfilled for long these days, this drive should more than meet your expectations for the price.
Optical Drive:
Samsung SHS203N - $30
The SHS203N is the same high quality drive selected for all of the builds in this guide.

This SATA Samsung drive supports all DVD formats and features a 130ms DVD-ROM access time and 110ms CD-ROM access time. It's loaded with various innovative features that enhance performance including Speed Adjustment Technology, Double OPC Technology, Tilt Actuator Compensation Technology, Magic Speed and LightScribe. The SH-S203N represents quality at an affordable price.

Power Supply Unit:
Antec BP500U - $55
A quality PSU is not only one of the more important PC components, but it is unfortunately also one of the first places people look to skimp when working with a tight budget. To the average Joe, a PSU is merely an unglamorous metal box taking up space and restricting airflow within the PC case. The few who actually show interest in the component seem entirely concerned with only the rated wattage, disregarding quality and stable power in favor of price.

With a relatively mellow price tag of $55, Antec's Basiq BP500U is a pretty solid PSU for the cost. It features Active PFC, a combined 12V output of 36A and more than likely all of the connectors you'll need.

Cooler Master Elite 330 - $40
After taking a look at some of the entry level cases currently on the market, we feel $40 should fund a basic case with ATX support and adequate cooling capabilities. To support this, we've chosen the Cooler Master Elite 330 Mid-Tower case as our pick, which hovers around the $40 price mark depending on your preferred e-tailer.

The Cooler Master Elite 330 is constructed of steel and can house up to five 3.5" drives internally, two 3.5" drives with external access, four 5.25" drives and ships with a 120mm rear exhaust fan.

HannsG HW191APB 19" Widescreen LCD - $180
The HannsG HW-191APB 19" widescreen LCD monitor displays 16.2 million colors with a native resolution of 1440 x 900 and features a 5ms response time, 700:1 contrast ratio, 0.283mm x 0.238mm pixel pitch, brightness level of 300 cd/m2 and a comforting 3 year warranty. While its speakers definitely leave something to be desired, they ought to suffice. All in all, you can't go wrong with this monitor, being that it's Input Devices:
Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop 700 - $25

Ah, input devices, components which command the beast. The fact of the matter is, it's impossible to select the proper keyboard and mouse for you, however, throughout this guide we will offer our selection of quality input devices that might fit your needs.

For our Entry Level Box, the keyboard and mouse we feel incorporates the healthiest balance of offering modern technology without denting the bank, is the Microsoft Wireless Desktop 700. Wireless is a major plus these days, whether you're gaming or working in an office environment and with its customizable function keys, it's a bargain worth checking out.

Motherboard Gigabyte GA-P35-S3G
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo E7200
RAM Corsair XMS2 2 x 1GB DDR2 800MHz
Video Card PNY GeForce 9600GT
Sound Card Integrated
Hard Drive Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250GB
Optical Drive Samsung SHS203N
Power Supply Antec Basiq BP500U
Case Cooler Master Elite 330 Mid Tower
Monitor HannsG HW191APB 19" LCD
Speaker System Integrated
Keyboard/Mouse Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop 700