Build an $800 Gaming PC

By Jason Cross  |  Posted 2005-06-01 Email Print this article 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.

 
 
 
 
Jason Cross Jason was a certified computer geek at an early age, playing with his family's Apple II when he was still barely able to write. It didn't take long for him to start playing with the hardware, adding in 80-column cards and additional RAM as his family moved up through Apple II+, IIe, IIgs, and eventually the Macintosh. He was sucked into Intel based side of the PC world by his friend's 8088 (at the time, the height of sophisticated technology), and this kicked off a never-ending string of PC purchases and upgrades.

Through college, where he bounced among several different majors before earning a degree in Asian Studies, Jason started to pull down freelance assignments writing about his favorite hobby—,video and computer games. It was shortly after graduation that he found himself, a thin-blooded Floridian, freezing his face off at Computer Games Magazine in Vermont, where he founded the hardware and technology section and built it up over five years before joining the ranks at ExtremeTech and moving out to beautiful northern California. When not scraping up his hands on the inside of a PC case, you can invariably find Jason knee-deep in a PC game, engrossed in the latest console title, or at the movie theater.

 
 
 
 
 
























 
 
 
 
 
 

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