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Build a Budget Gaming PC

RECIPEWhen it comes to PC performance, gamers are a power-hungry breed. But with high-performance rigs commanding a $3,500 to $5,000 investment, today's gamers with limited resources are in a tough position, especially with the arrival of software hogs like Vista and DirectX 10.

System builders can help. White-box builders can offer clients a value-added investment focusing on the right Vista- and DirectX 10-compatible components, leaving performance-enhancing upgrades for later.

In this recipe, I'll guide you in making choices on components that will ease the transition to Microsoft's new OS and the improved gaming experience it will eventually offer. The result is a capable game rig (sans monitor and speakers) that will cost you less than $2,000 while still satisfying your gamer clients both today and—via simple and cost-effective upgrades—tomorrow.

To meet this goal, you will need to invest in a quality case, power supply, motherboard and video card. That way, you put the lion's share of capital into components that don't require near-term replacement. A faster processor, additional hard drives, quality audio card and second SLI-capable video card can be added later to enhance the user's game experience.


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