Custom PC Roundup
If we look at the new PCs bought or built today, we see a bell shaped curve peaking around the $800-$1000 price range. Of course there are the $300 office and internet machines, as well as the excessively expensive $3000 enthusiast computers. The sub-$1000 sweet spot though is where the majority of buyers lean toward. For that amount you can build something quite powerful, and while it wonít have the bells and whistles, it will still have the necessary components to run demanding programs, such as video/audio/graphical design and gaming applications. For under $1000, one can easily get a quad core processor, several gigabytes of RAM, a large hard drive (500GB+), and a video card capable of handling todayís latest games.
Today weíre looking at three gaming machines, all priced just below the $1000 mark. They come straight from CyberPower, iBuyPower, and Maingear PC. These manufacturers specialize more in gaming machines than do the mainstream companies like Dell, HP and Acer, but are not household names. Since these companies are much lower volume, the aesthetics, internal build quality, and parts selection should be far improved. This is why there is a very important market for custom machines, where customers can choose the case, lighting, cooling, and of course the internal parts. On top of that, customer care is improved due to the much lower specialist to customer ratio.
CyberPower PC is a private company in Los Angeles. They specialize mostly in gaming desktops, but notebooks, media center PCs and workstations are also offered. iBuyPower is also a private company in Los Angeles. Founded in 2001, they have gone a long way from online order only like most other gaming PC companies or low volume manufacturers. You can find their PCs at many other reseller locations, such as Newegg.com, Microcenter stores, TigerDirect.com, and even non-technologically focused retailers like Wal-Mart and Costco. They donít offer much more than gaming PCs, desktops, and some workstation machines.
Maingear PC was founded in 2003 and offers gaming desktops and recently, media center and professional machines. They offer no notebooks and less preconfigured machines, but each model is very customizable. Maingear PC machines are at a price range above CyberPower and iBuyPower. Maingearís PCs start at $800, while the earlier two have desktops priced well below $400. Nonetheless, we have three equally priced machines here at FiringSquad, so we will see who comes out on top, not just in benchmarks, but in built quality and overall satisfaction as well.
Letís take a look at the three machines weíve been sent!