Do you include OS in the price? I saw some sales on Ebay for W7 for $75 plus shipping. Otherwise my computer case+all components came at around $495 (this include all shipping). I was considering Linux but apparently games aren't quite compatible and I was hoping to build this one so I can play games (though a big part of it is the project).
$75 is about right for an unopened copy of windows 7 on craigslist; you can get the pro version for this price. Windows xp will go for around $40, but most copies have been opened and used at least once.
Well the first thing to do is to figure out what you want the computer to do. If its a gaming machine it helps to check out benchmarks of various things before buying parts. Generally for gaming the video card is more important than the CPU, but thats not to say you want something cheap. I will tell you that 495 is a pretty low budget for a "gaming system", but it really depends on your expectations. You're not going to play a game like Battlefield 3 in High settings on a high resolution on a $500 budget most likely.
Ideally $700-800 is a good budget for something that could seriously be called a gaming machine, and $1000 can seriously rival far more expensive pre-builds from companies like Dell/Alienware.
Without monitor or OS my build is $500. But I don't mind playing on lower settings. I will never spend over $1000 on a computer. I don't understand if you're including Win7 or not in the $700? And I was looking at a GTX 550TI GPU or a 7770. I intend to do gaming on this computer and I hope to play ArmA 2 smoothly on normal-High settings.
I am using Intel Core I3 Processor, Kingstone 4GB Ram,Cooler Master Cabnit, Microsoft's Keyboard & Mouse, AOC's LED 20'', JBL's 5.1 Speakers. On this i spent 550$. I think this is best for everything.
when you budget a gaming PC, do not include the OS/Monitor/Accessories in your "budget". Budget just the hardware. When you do budget the hardware, I've found the better rigs have 15-20% CPU, 30-40% Graphics, making sure to keep the Graphics 2x the CPU.