The Photon XLX
The Photon XLX was the lesser of the two PCs that Solaris sent our way, but it still has enough juice to do a decent job of handling pretty much anything you throw at it, including newer game titles. According to Solaris, the price as configured is $1,137.
This sticker price buys an Intel Core2 Duo E6750 (with the stock cooler - more on that later) on a Gigabyte GA-G33M-S2 motherboard. This CPU makes a great starting point for a budget performer, and by now we all know you can't go wrong with a Core 2 Duo. In addition, our reporting tools showed the E6750 on the Photon XLX to be overclocked to 2.8 GHz from a stock 2.67 GHz, which might make things interesting.
The RAM paired with this platform is two gigabytes of SuperTalent 840 MHz DDR2 running at 5-5-5-16 timings, which is an acceptable partner for this platform and the type of thing you'd expect to see on a decent but low-end PC. The hard disk is a standard 7200 RPM Seagate 250 GB SATA drive.