TechSpot PC Buying Guide: 2011 Kick Off

About a year ago TechSpot revamped its long-standing guide for PC builders and prospective buyers, setting it to be updated on an ongoing basis. Throughout 2010 they kept to their 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, they've got you covered.

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.


Read: TechSpot PC Buying Guide: 2011 Kick Off

These articles are brought to you in partnership with TechSpot.

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9 Comments

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I'm not liking this guide at all... What happened to AMD and why are they having such a field day with the Core i5s... I'm sorry but this isn't anything that I'd want to put in my system.

RedFlow said,
I'm not liking this guide at all... What happened to AMD and why are they having such a field day with the Core i5s... I'm sorry but this isn't anything that I'd want to put in my system.

Performance differences aside, the new Intel chips draw significantly less (~50%) power than AMD's. To me, that's enough of a reason to get a Core at this time.

Hopefully AMD's got some awesome stuff up their sleeves with Bulldozer.

Mr. Spontaneous said,

Performance differences aside, the new Intel chips draw significantly less (~50%) power than AMD's. To me, that's enough of a reason to get a Core at this time.

Hopefully AMD's got some awesome stuff up their sleeves with Bulldozer.

The power difference won't even cost you a few dollars a year, by time you recoup your cost that CPU will be long gone from any system you own, so that's a poor argument at best.

Mr. Spontaneous said,
This is the first buying/build guide that I've seen that counts the cost of peripherals towards their target tiers. Dumb idea? You betcha.

Seems reasonable to me, but the glaring lack of cost for your OS seems to make it a poor guide.