Build an $800 Gaming PCBy Jason Cross | Print
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Build It: Last year's $800 gaming PC was a bargain, but had significant compromises. This year's model is an $800 hot-rod gaming rig that offers impressive performance. What a difference a year makes!Gaming on a Budget
We know how you feel. Your computer is getting a little long in the tooth, and you just can't play the latest games anymore. If you're not below the minimum system requirements, you're so close that you have to turn the options down to "looks like mud" mode just to get the game to run. It's time to seriously upgrade your entire system, and you don't like the prospect of spending four months' rent to do it.
Fortunately, with some careful shopping, you don't have to. Building your own gaming box can be pretty affordable—more so than you may think. We've maintained an $800 Gaming PC in our Build It section here for some time, and it always surprises people just how good such a cheap system can be. It's been a while since we updated our recommended configuration for an $800 Gaming PC, so let's remedy that right here, right now.
This time, we're doing more than just trying to optimize gaming performance on the cheap. Now that the transition to PCI Express is in full swing and dual-core CPUs are a reality (albeit a pricey one), we're going to pay careful attention to making a system that can be upgraded pretty easily. Nobody wants to buy a new motherboard and RAM just to upgrade a CPU, or swap out lots of major components to use the latest video card. Can we turn eight C-notes into a gaming system worth its salt and build a forward-looking platform for future expansion at the same time? Let's find out.