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See our latest update: TechSpot PC Buying Guide
The TechSpot PC Buying Guide offers an in-depth list of today's best desktop PC hardware, spanning five budgets that go from ~$500 for a well-balanced machine capable of medium workloads, up to $3,000+ for the Luxury build. New for 2015, we've added a fifth build: The Extreme Machine disregards price-to-performance value altogether and simply includes the biggest and baddest hardware available, period.
Whether you're a first time builder seeking guidance or a seasoned enthusiast, we have you covered.
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 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.
Our Entry-Level Rig should be an excellent companion for running general applications and a sufficient solution for even the newest games on the market, albeit with some of the eye-candy dialed down.
Our Enthusiast's PC incorporates a 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, 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 is a screaming-edge machine with no hard price cap. Every component in this guide is thoughtfully scrutinized, offering the most horsepower for your greenback. However, if a component's premium price isn't justified, it simply doesn't make the cut.
The Extreme Machine isn't governed by a budget as we simply pick the best hardware and disregard the associated price premium. If it's 'extreme' enough then you'll find it in this build.