Gaming performance usually comes with a hefty price tag, and with Unreal Tournament 2007 on the horizon, it doesn't look like that is going to change. However, in the meantime, you could do a lot worse than get yourself Pacstar's latest offering for the hardcore gamer with a light wallet.
Driving the graphics is a Leadtek 256MB 7800GT, which on its own could put a $600 hole in your wallet. Similarly, the CPU is an AMD 64 3700+ which would cost around the $350 mark. When you look at the benchmarks, this combination is a sure-fire winner with a massive 7365 in 3DMark 2005 and 99 in PC WorldBench 5. FEAR ran exceptionally well with an average frame rate of 48fps.
If you are hanging out for Unreal, you may be concerned that 48fps in FEAR today could translate to 4.8fps in Unreal tomorrow. Well, the Gigabyte GA-K8N Pro SLI motherboard holding this together will allow for a chunky SLI upgrade at the year's end, when the 7800GTs should have dropped in price.
Supported by 1GB of DDR400 Corsair RAM, the AMD Gaming PC stood out in multitasking tests, making it more than just a gaming platform. Also, by running a 64-bit processor, it will be ready for Windows Vista. With just three small fans doing the cooling, vented through the side of the case, this PC maintains a relatively low sound profile whilst still remaining cool under a heavy load. It comes bundled with Prince of Persia and Splinter Cell, which will only make a small dent in the 200GB hard drive.
VERDICT: Using top-notch components, Pacstar has outdone itself in delivering this gamer's delight at such a low price.
SPECIFICATIONS: AMD 64 3700+ CPU; 2 x 512MB dual-channel DDR 400 RAM; 256MB 7800GT video card; 200GB hard drive; 6x DVD+R dual-layer burner; Creative SBS 370 2.1 speakers; 12 x USB 2.0 ports; 19in CRT display with 1920x1440 resolution.