My 10+ year old computer has finally died, and I am in semi-urgent need of a new one. Right now, all I need are the basics, but long-term I'd like to be able to turn it into a gaming computer. What is important to note is that I have no need for gaming potential at the time of purchase, and I have a very low budget, so it is perfectly fine to skimp on everything that will not inhibit my ability to upgrade the computer in the future. I also do not need an HDD, a monitor, or any other external devices. My price range is $300-$400, maybe $500 if it is really necessary.
Imagine you are trying to find a computer that only needs to run Notepad when you buy it, but on which you plan to play Crysis in the future (or whatever the then-current benchmark game is).
http://www.newegg.com/Special/ShellShocker.aspx?cm_sp=S.... This deal will get you started. You can get something better later on when you save some more money. View this video and see if you want to try and build your own: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldJNp6wdfqI. If not, I recommend a used system from craiglist or wait for end of the year specials. Avoid emachines or acer if you want to upgrade. Hp and compaq will at least give you some upgrade options. This week is not a good time to buy anything. Maybe next week some good deals will show up.
Use the IGP from CPU (no VGA needed)
Use the HD you have, monitor, mouse, keyboard, if possible even the case.
After rebates: aprox $190 hardware + $50 from the technician
When you got the money buy an Ivy Bridge CPU + GTX 580 (or similar) with a nice PSU!
For increased future proof you could spend more in a beefier PSU now, and/or get a Z68 motherboard that supports SLI/Crossfire (since the cost is very low IMO)
I need a computer as soon as possible and having it built from scratch seems like it might take a little longer, so that really isn't ideal. I could try to go that route if there is no other alternative, but prebuilt is what I'm hoping for. If I end up having to follow your advice, though, what site would I use for the assembly?
It's a little above my stated price range, but it's the best thing that I could find. That's going off my judgment and expertise, though, which is to say that the thing has lots of lights and looks kind of like a spaceship so it must be pretty good. Can someone more knowledgeable weigh in? How long before that computer would be rendered obsolete?