TechSpot PC Buying Guide: Mid-2013 Update

TechSpot's PC Buying Guide offers an in-depth list of today's best desktop PC hardware, spanning four typical budgets starting at ~$500 for a well-balanced machine capable of medium workloads, up to $3,000+ for the Luxury build which includes the best PC hardware recommendations when budget is not a big concern.

The Budget Box

• 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.

The Entry-Level Rig

• Good performance • Fast for everyday computing • Casual gaming
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.

The Enthusiast's PC

• Excellent performance • Great Multitasker • Perfect for gaming
Our Enthusiast's PC incorporates the perfect blend of both the Entry-Level and Luxury System. Our intent is to keep this system within the grasp of the average PC enthusiast, offering a fully-loaded system minus some of the unnecessary bells & whistles that could set you back an additional grand or two.

The Luxury System

• Workstation-like performance • Heavy multitasking • Extreme gaming
The Luxury System is a screaming-edge machine lacking any virtual price cap. Every component in this 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: Mid-2013 Update

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5 Comments

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I just built my own high end system last summer and went through all the research. The turn key solutions were just too expensive and always skimped on something. I bought everything from Amazon (great reviews helped) and just added a GTX 780 OC, my cost was still under $2k and I think I'm good for few years. (i7-3770k@4.6Ghz, 32GB 1800 Ram, 2x128 SSDs, Noctua Air cooler, Gold 650 PS, mid quality everything else). I ended up spending more on the MB than I wanted, but I think it was worth it in the end for the flexibility and features. (Asus p8z77 Deluxe).

I'm building a new machine for my GF and going for smallest form factor with a GTX 760. Show me a system that I can buy for less than I can build with this and I'm very interested.

Overall I thought the guide was OK, an i5 with GTX 760 will rock most games at max, the i5 plays a bigger role than many people think.

"The Entry-Level Rig" - spending $190 on a CPU and $110 on a GPU, for a "gaming" machine that costs $602? $1400 "Enthusiast" PC and the best GPU you can fit in it is a 760?

Think I could whip up a better build in 5 minutes in pcpartpicker.

startscreennope said,
"The Entry-Level Rig" - spending $190 on a CPU and $110 on a GPU, for a "gaming" machine that costs $602? $1400 "Enthusiast" PC and the best GPU you can fit in it is a 760?

Think I could whip up a better build in 5 minutes in pcpartpicker.

Yeah, not sure I agree with any of the setups. They are far too overpriced, and the hardware combinations just don't make sense.

Newegg is overpriced these days. There's a computer parts store 100 miles from where I live but I figured I'd just go with Dell. Newegg was 1200 and Dell was 750 for the same system. So, to hell with that.

I used to like building my own machines but if it's gonna be so damn expensive then meh. I can still upgrade the components on this new one as needed.

My current machine is a Gateway off the shell that I've slapped more RAM into, gone from Vista, to Win7 to Win8 on and put three different video cards in over the past 5 years.

Anyway, building is fun but saving money is more fun.