Apr 23 2014 - Mainstream desktop PCs are now more of the performance category than they once were thanks to improving technology. In general, these systems will provide the best overall value for your dollar. Below are my selections for the various systems depending upon what your usage for the computer will be. The systems in this list cost between $700 and $1000 and do not come with a monitor.
An all around systems is one that can fit int just about any type of computing role. The Acer Predator G3-605-UR38 may be designed as a gaming system, but it offers a nice balance of features such that it can be used for digital video editing, graphics work, media watching or just browsing the web. It achieves this by combining a high performance Core i7-4770 quad core processor and a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 graphics card. It may have slightly less storage space with just a single terabyte hard drive but it features an easy access drive bay for adding a second hard drive. There are fewer upgrade opportunities but for many that is just fine. Pricing for the system is around $900. An alternative that comes in a variety of configurations priced under $1000 is the Dell XPS 8700 which has much of the same features but an older NVIDIA class graphics card that offers less 3D performance.
Value is determined as the performance and features that you can get for the price. The Digital Storm Vanquish II (Better) is very affordable with a price of around $750. With this, you get only a dual-core Intel i3-4330 processors but frankly for most tasks including gaming, this does a good job. Much of the rest of the system is pretty typical with a 1TB hard drive, dual layer DVD burner, 8GB of memory but the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti graphics card does offer it a good amount of performance that the system can even be used for PC gaming. The build quality and support is excellent behind the system. About the only downside is that the design does limit the upgrade potential compared to many others in this price range. An alternative for those that want more performance and don't care about graphics would be the HP ENVY 700-230 that uses a Core i5 quad core processor and 2TB hard drive can be found for under $700 with special discounts from HP.
Gaming is heavily reliant upon two items within a computer system for a smooth overall experience: CPU and graphics. When pricing a system under $1000, it can be hard to get both of these with high levels of performance. The Maingear Vybe (Good) uses an AMD FX-6350 processor with six cores that offers good performance but is is generally slower than Intel's Core i5 quad core models. What makes up for this is the AMD Radeon R7 260X graphics card that lets it handle PC games up to 1920x1080 without a problem. Unlike many other systems in this price range as well, Maingear has used some high quality components that allow for some very substantial upgrades if you so choose to add to the system in the future. Pricing is a bit high at just under $1000. An altnerative for those looking at something that they would not upgrade would be the Acer Predator G3-605-UR38 with its Core i7-4770 and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760.
Photo and video editing are much more demanding on storage and processing than many other PC tasks. Because of this, it is important to have a system with a good multiple core processor and fast storage. Solid state drives add significant performance boosts to video editing that require lots of large data movement. The iBUYPOWER A10-7700K-2 may not have the fastest processor but the 120GB SSD gives it a nice boost against a system that relies solely on a hard drive. The best part is that it is relatively affordable with pricing around $800.Just be warned that it does not feature dedicated graphics and has limited expansion in this capacity. If you want higher performance, the Acer Predator G3-650-UR38 offers a i7-4770 processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 graphics card and easy ability to add more storage for around $900.