Build a $550 bare-bones gaming PC

Excellent question in today's hardware 2.0 mailbag:I want to upgrade my existing PC so it's able to play the latest games. What upgrades do you recommend? By the way, I'm on a budget of about $600 ...Let's take a look!
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Excellent question in today's hardware 2.0 mailbag:

I want to upgrade my existing PC so it's able to play the latest games. What upgrades do you recommend? By the way, I'm on a budget of about $600 ...

Let's take a look!

Check out the image gallery that accompanies this post!

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition 3.4GHz AM3 125W quad-core

For a long time I didn't think that AMD had much to offer those looking for high-end performance, but the new Phenom II X4 quad-core pieces are well worth taking a look at.

Right out of the box the X4 965 offers fantastic performance for the price, and if you want you can always overclock to squeeze more power out of it (4.0GHz is quite doable, but you'll need to replace the cooler).

Excellent piece of silicon for the price!

Price: $185

Motherboard: Elitegroup ECS A780GM-A Ultra AM2+/AM3 AMD 780G

A basic but still pretty well thought out motherboard to pair with your Phenom II X4 quad-core. It's not as fancy looking as some motherboards, and doesn't come with all the bells and whistles (most of which you'll never use anyway) but if you're looking for a solid, reliable part, this is worth taking a look at.

Network support, plenty of USB ports, and even an on-board ATI Radeon HD 3200 GPU ... what more could you ask for!

Price: $75

The rest of the upgrade -->

Video card: GIGABYTE GV-R567OC-1GI Radeon HD 5670 (Redwood) 1GB

It's amazing to think that you can pick up a really good graphics cards nowadays for around $100 that's enough power for most gamers (short of those hardcore gamers who have big screens and are running at high resolutions).

The Radeon HD 5670 is a fantastic GPU for the price and should be a

ble to handle everything you can throw at it. Paired up with the Phenom II X4 it'll make a fantastic bundle.

Price: $110

Hard drive: Samsung EcoGreen F2 HD103SI 1TB

A nice, reliable drive offering bags of space for your games. What more could you ask for? You could even add two right from the start to future-proof your gaming PC.

Price: $70

RAM: Kingston HyperX 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500)

Nothing special here, just good quality RAM at a decent price.

Price: $55

Power Supply Unit: BFG Tech GS-550 550W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V

You don't need a monster power supply unit for your PC, this 550W unit from BFG is all the PSU you'll need for this PC, and it has plenty of room for future upgrades.

Price: $50

Total upgrade price: $545

This machine may not be the top end, and it may not be able to keep up with an Intel Core i7 system, but it's still a fantastic set of PC upgrades given the price tag.

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