Take me to your Leaderboard - Holiday 2013 Build Guides
Low End System Leaderboard; $500 target
For those who want a new PC but are on a limited budget, or perhaps have been asked by a family member that doesn't do much more than surf or email then the Low End System is where it is at. AMD may not be pressuring Intel's high end CPUs to the extent they once did but they own the bottom end with a truly functional APU. The AMD A8-6600K isn't going to compile screaming fast databases or win benchmarks but that is not its intended purpose. For general purpose usage and for a quiet system without a GPU Richland is incredible at what it does.
The same can be said for the X85 chipset, for a fraction of the cost of a current Intel motherboard the feature set of the current, if aging, AMD chipset offers a lot of functionality as well as the ability to upgrade to a Crossfire system. This system has aspirations, you might not be able buy all the greatest components immediately but you can really move up in the world from this base system. The recommended board is the full sized MSI FM2-A85XA-G65 but if you wanted this to be a small HTPC system the GIGABYTE GA-F2A88XN-WIFI FM2+ is a Mini-ITX board with WiFi for the same price.
You can skip the PowerColor Radeon HD 6670 when building this system and save up for a better GPU unless there is an immediate need for a bit of Hybrid Xfire. Once you upgrade beyond this card the GPU in the A8-6600K will be disabled so make sure to upgrade like you mean it.
4GB of DDR-1600 is quite inexpensive now and fully worth the investment now that operating systems have learned how to take advantage of pools of RAM and a 1TB HDD is also not a major investment when are looking to hold onto family memories. Audio is more than taken care of by the Realtek ALC892 which offers more audio channels than the Soundblasters of a few years ago and while you might have to upgrade the CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 430W if you get a serious GPU at $44 it is not a huge investment
|Low End System Leaderboard|
|Processor||AMD A8-6600K - $104|
|Motherboard||MSI FM2-A85XA-G65 - $89|
|Memory||G.Skill 4GB DDR-1600 - $54|
|Graphics Card||Powercolor AX6670 1GB - $79|
|Storage||Seagate Barracuda 1TB SATA 6G 7200 RPM HDD - $61|
|Case||Apex PC-389-C ATX Tower - $29|
|Power Supply||Corsair Builder Series CX430 - $44|
|Optical Drive||ASUS 24x DVD-RW - $21|
|OS||Windows 8 OEM - $99|