A companion to our Enthusiast Gaming PC Buyer's Guide, our Entry-Level Gaming PC Guide has a lower $900 budget and aims to show that you can still build a perfectly capable system for less than a thousand dollars. Our first Entry-Level Gaming Guide for 2012 offers processor and motherboard suggestions for both an Intel and AMD system, though the other components will mostly remain the same.
And while even more compromises will need to be made when working with a $900 budget than had to be made with our Enthusiast system, you'll still end up with plenty of power to get some work — and some gaming — done.
System Case: Rosewill Challenger Black Gaming Mid Tower Case Current Cost: $50
For months, we’ve been recommending the NZXT GAMMA GAMA-001BK, and while it’s still a great case worth considering, in the interest of keeping things fresh we've decided to go with the Rosewill Challenger in this latest issue of the guide.
This case measures 7.48" (W) x 17.08" (H) x 18.5" (D) and comes with three fans (two 120mm and one 140mm) pre-installed. The blue LED on the 120mm fan mounted in the front is a nice touch for this gaming system's case, and the top-mounted USB ports, eSATA port and audio ports offer convenience to gamers and casual users alike.
Power Supply: Antec Basic BP550 Plus 550W Continuous Power ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Current Cost: $63
The Antec BP550 Plus is an 80 PLUS Certified 550w power supply that once again remains our power supply of choice for our budget system. With its module cable design and three +12v rails, the Antec BP550 Plus offers plenty of power and convenience for the price.
AMD CPU and Cooling: Phenom II X6 1055T Black Edition (2.GHz) w/ Bundled Cooling Current Cost: $150
Our AMD processor recommendation has once again dropped slightly to the x6-1055T, this time due to the diminishing availability of our previous recommendation. This AM3 socket processor still comes with 6MB of L3 cache and 512KB of L2 cache dedicated to each of its six cores, and as with other Black Edition processors, the 1050T's multiplier is unlocked, allowing for overclocking.
PC Buyer's Guide for Entry-Level Gaming -- January 2012