How about a PC that can do just about everything you chuck at it with decent results? Check out our guide to the complete all-rounder.
Trying to cover all the bases, without tipping endless amounts of money into a computer, is a very difficult thing to do. Build a gaming machine at a budget and it won’t be as fast in video editing as a machine built to do that specifically if you keep inside the same budget. On the other side of the coin, the video editor won’t play games well. The perfect all-rounder, Jack of all trades but master of none, this machine covers all the bases and keep options open for overclocking and video card upgrades.
Core System: $1,110
PRICE DROP -- CPU: AMD FX-8150 AM3+ Black Edition – $249
A fast, true OCTO 8-core CPU. While these chips on paper aren’t as fast as the Intel Core i CPUs at the same sort of price level, in true multi-thread applications they handle the job well enough. As more and more multi-process software becomes available, you should see performance improvements over a dual or quad-core CPU. Oh, and if you really want to, these things overclock like you wouldn’t believe.
NEW -- CPU cooler: Corsair Hydro H40 CPU Cooler - $85
It looks like AMD is shipping this cooler with the above CPU as a limited edition, but they are asking something along the lines of $400, and this works out substantially cheaper. This will give you a healthy overclock and a nice quiet system to boot.
NEW -- Video card: Gigabyte Radeon HD7850 2GB OC - $269
Until Nvidia releases a replacement for the GTX560ti or drops the pricing of the 570, AMD is yet again the card to buy. The HD7850 typically benchmarks at 10-20% faster on everything except BF3 it would seem, as most will be taking advantage of the extra RAM on this card. This being the overclocked edition, it will give you a few extra frames. This card is only marginally more expensive, but the system is still well within budget.
PRICE DROP -- Motherboard: ASUS M5A99X EVO Motherboard - $159
This board has everything. Quad-GPU SLI and Quad-GPU CrossFireX, FireWire, the latest DIGI+ VRM tech for stable power to the CPU without inducing lots of heat, EPU processor for keeping energy costs down, TPU co-processor for extra fill rates, and more. The equivalent Intel board will cost you almost an extra $100.
NEW -- Memory: G.Skill Ares F3-2133C9D-8GAB 8GB (2 x 4GB) - $99
The new G.Skill Ares RAM looks the goods and is really fast for little money. (This should help that overclock I’m sure you're planning to do.) Most AMD processors handle extra bandwidth very well, especially if you overclock the CPU, and this stuff is great for the budget. These Black edition chips seem to overclock like it’s going out of style (4.6GHz with stock cooler, 4.9 with a good air cooler or watercooling), so some decent memory is required.
PRICE DROP -- Hard drive: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB - $109
As this is an all-rounder machine, an SSD might be a bad idea. We all know it’s faster, but in a machine like this one, storage is more important, so the bigger the better. Hopefully the pricing for hard drives will come down soon, so the budget will be able to afford an SSD as well.
PSU: Cooler Master GX 750w - $115
A common mistake to overlook and skimp on one of the most important parts of a computer, the "heart" that pumps the life blood of electrons to each component if you will. If you have a “heart” that can’t feed the system properly, you won’t have the stamina to keep going hours at a time. The CM GX 750 has more than enough power to run everything listed here, and at a cost that won’t break the bank.
Case: Cooler Master Storm Enforcer - $119
Typical Cooler Master quality case, including filtered intakes, USB 3.0, removable and rotatable HDD cage, both 2.5 and 3.5-inch spaces, 200mm front case fan and more. The features list for this is huge, and it’s not expensive considering. The only downside will be to fit a full-size video card you’ll need to remove one of the HDD cages.
Optical drive: DVD Burner - $25
You need one; don’t deny it. You’re not going to use it much, but you’ll miss it if it’s not there. There are a lot them to choose from, they all do the same thing, they cost next to nothing.
Cooling: Enermax Twister Bearing Silence PWM fan - $25
One of the best fans I’ve come across in recent times; good air flow, quiet, the blade assembly is easily removed for cleaning, has a long-life bearing and is not expensive. Listed is the PWM version, but if you don’t have a recent motherboard, or running out of 4-pin headers, Enermax includes a 3-pin to 4-pin adaptor.
Core System Cost - $1,110