Big Performance, Tiny Budget
Every month, computers are quicker than ever before, but the gap between the most and least powerful is becoming wider as well. Many of the tasks that users ask of their PCs do not require cutting edge hardware. Even gaming does not always demand the best of the best, as many enjoyable titles can be played with affordable video cards.
Building a budget computer is relatively easy today, but it does require realistic expectations and goals. If you'd like to build a computer for $500, that's fine. It will perform well. An issue occurs only when that same budget PC is used to play Crysis 2 at 1080p or encode a high-resolution video file. These are tasks not enjoyable on your typical budget box, and if you go in expecting satisfactory performance in these situations, you'll never be satisfied.
If you spend your money, however, you can end up with 80% of the performance of a high-end computer at 50% of the cost. You simply need to invest in the right areas. Below, we'll review each important category of components and I'll point you in the direction of articles that save you money.