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Note: I did not factor in peripherals for these computers - they are the desktop only. Monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers will at a minimum run at about $200. A copy of win7/win8 is about $80 today, or $99 (get the OEM version!) normally. If you have none of these, factor in about $300 extra into your budget.

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Super Budget $250 Gaming PC

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ClassItemLinkPrice(Rebate?)

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GPUGTX 650 1GBhttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681412770369.99$30

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MotherboardMSI Micro ATXhttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681313065634.99$10

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RAMCrucial 2gb Stickhttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168201485049.99

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Power SupplyCorsair 430Whttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681713902616.99$20

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Hard DriveWD Caviar Bluehttp://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2577819&CatId=268151.83

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CaseGigabyte Casehttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681123307319.99

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CPUIntel G530http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1154135&CatId=2244.99

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Total:248.77

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This is a good budget PC for the gaming enthusiast without much cash to blow on their hobby. The GPU is respectable for today's market, and although the CPU is going to lag behind anything modern, it is still a sandy bridge model which means that it's going to at least try to keep up. The case has been reviewed as "flimsy", but as long as you're not kicking it around, it should hold your parts together. PSU is 80+ Bronze, which means you shouldn't have any problems with it. Only one stick of 2gb ram, so that you can upgrade to a gaming-proof 4gb for only $10 more.

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Budget $500 Gaming PC

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GPURadeon 7850 2GBhttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150619179$20

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MotherboardBiostar Micro ATXhttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681313835849.99$20

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RAMAMD 4GB Stickhttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682010301013.99

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Power SupplyCorsair 430Whttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681713902616.99$20

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Hard DriveWD Caviar Bluehttp://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2577819&CatId=268151.83

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CaseAntec 300 Steelhttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681112904229.99$15

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CPUi5-2310 Sandy Bridgehttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115089159.99

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Total:501.78

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Technically coming in at $1.70 over budget (acceptable error IMO), this offers a significant upgrade to the $250 pc in two areas: CPU and GPU, which are probably the most important areas to upgrade. The Radeon 7850 2GB is a much more modern card by AMD, coming in just under twice as powerful as the GTX 650. The case here is made of steel, and as about half of the people I live with can testify, it's a good, sturdy case. Mobo has 3 more slots for RAM, so you can upgrade when the time comes. The CPU here is one generation old sandy bridge, but comes in at twice the cores and twice the cache (3x lv3 cache) of the G530 in the first computer. The i5 is a solid, best-for-the-money CPU that rounds this $500 gaming pc out and pushes it into the "good" gaming PC range.

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Not-So-Budget $1000 Gaming PC

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GPUAMD 7950 3GBhttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150590284.99$30

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MotherboardMSI ATX Fullhttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681313065359.99$15

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RAMG.SKILL 8GB (4x2)http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682023146029.99

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Power SupplySeaSonic X750 Gold 750Whttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681715108799.99

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Hard DriveSeagate 2TBhttp://www.amazon.com/Seagate-ST2000DM001-Barracuda-3-5-Inch-Internal/dp/B005T3GRN2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353710768&sr=8-1&keywords=2tb+hdd89.99

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Solid State DriveCorsair 120GB SSDhttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233191&Tpk=20-233-191129.99

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CaseNZXT Source Elitehttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681114607857.98

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CPUi5-3570K Ivy Bridgehttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116504219.99

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Total:972.91

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With room left for shipping and handling (although most of it is free today), this computer is a beast. The unlocked i5-3570K is the current flagship i5 (17s aren't worth it IMO) and will handle anything you throw at it with ease. The combo SSD/HDD, finally within financial reach, will have your computer booting in no time at all, and the 120GB capacity of the SSD means you won't have to move stuff off of it all that often. The GPU is one of the best AMDs for the money these days. The RAM is a great, great deal, and the motherboard will have an additional 2 slots for future ram expansion, if you're insane. All in all, a truly solid gaming PC that will show you those pixels at an astonishing rate.

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Thank you to Reddit's /u/nemisis54 for some great suggestions!