Build a PC with the Best Bang for the Buck
August 14, 2006
By Jason Cross
Typically, our Build It systems are purpose-built. Designed to do something and do it well, they're laser-focused on providing a single optimal, but realistic, solution. Perhaps it's a money-is-no-object Gaming PC or a Media Center PC. But the very nature of the PC is to be flexible and customizable, and we realize that not everyone can have their needs pigeonholed into these purpose-built PCs. Some of us just need a good general-purpose PC that can handle almost any task. Many of us use our PCs for a whole wealth of activities, and need something that's great for typical office desktop applications, downloading music and video, syncing up with a music player, burning DVDs, lightweight video editing, playing games, watching movies, editing photos…and most DIYers will want it to be able to run Windows Vista well. With this edition of our Build It series, we strive to recommend system components for just such a PC. The idea is simple: Rather than picking a price point or a particular task and optimizing a PC for it, we'll examine each part in the broad context of a general-purpose PC, choosing the component that falls into that magic spot where performance and features intersect with price.
This is one of our most popular Build It configurations, and it always generates plenty of heated discussion. We hear everything from, "Thanks for the article, that's exactly what I was looking for," to "You should have used a cheaper CPU," or "You need a more powerful graphics card." Naturally, different users have different needs and desires. If you don't play any games, you might opt for a sub-$100 graphics card. If you do a lot of video editing, you'll want a bigger hard drive and maybe a faster CPU.
Read more at Extreme Tech