My sister wants to have me build her a budget machine with as much gaming power as possible. She says she wants to keep it at around 600, but will reluctantly go up to 700 total.
I'm not a budget builder. All of the systems I've ever built are $2-$4 grand each, so I don't have a clue what the low end market is like.
Smallest case possible as long as it doesn't mean sacrificing power. She would like a square case that could fit on her shelf.
Must have an SD slot and plenty of USB and other ports for her cameras.
Doesn't need Blu-ray, just regular DVD.
No monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, etc. needed. Just the rig.
Someone school me on the low end. I honestly don't even know where to start. I3? I5? I7? ATX? Mini ATX?
The low-end is the only place AMD is pretty competitive, so it's a viable option if you'd like. I'd personally try and go with an i3-2100 build right now though - it's cheap, but outperforms a lot of the more expensive chips in gaming. I'd try and use something like this:
Whack a cheap 1156 Gigabyte mATX board into this Lian Li Case. There is the mITX version of this case but it doesn't have an inbuilt SD card reader. Obviously you'd need to pick up a mITX board for that.
Grab some cheap DDR3 and an i3. I'm sure you've got some old hard drives sitting around. Don't skimp on the PSU though.
As for the GPU well it's a fight for leftover cash. Have a look at the GPU charts on this site to figure out what's the best for the amount then go for that. I've always preferred HIS versions of ATI cards.