This $346 setup can play current games at medium details in 1080p.
GPU: MSI Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB
CPU: Intel Pentium G850
If you want to build a pc for the sole purpose of gaming and you know you don't need the best graphics or three monitors, this build can easily suffice. In fact, it would outperform the following pre-built PCs at gaming:
There is no need to drop $800-1000 on a pre-built pos like these if a $350 can out-game them. But why? Don't the last two examples have new Ivy Bridge i5s and i7 with lots of ram?
What a lot of miscers don't seem to understand is that a pc is only as "fast" as its weakest link. In terms of gaming, it is either the GPU or CPU 90% of times. Regarding ram, 4gb is normally enough and 8gb future-proofs a system for long time. There is absolutely now reason to get more than 8gb of ram if all you want to do is play games. Similarly, the latency and clock of ram has negligible effect on performance (if it even has any). 4/8gb of cheapest 1333 ram is enough.
Now, the mistake most miscers make with their builds is pairing with a powerful cpu (normally i5-3570k) with weak graphic cards like gtx 560 ti, gtx 660, gtx 570 etc. This bottlenecks the cpu when the gpu is under 100% load while the cpu is only at 50%. Why did you spend so much an a powerful cpu if you can't even fully utilize it? This is the problem with 99% of pre-built gamer pcs. Computer noobs/average miscers want the best cpu possibly, thinking it makes their computer faster. In reality, its just a waste of money. For example, an i5 + Gtx 560 ti would perform much worse than an i3 + hd 7950 in almost all gaming situations. Check the tomshardware links above, most modern $100+ cpus are not going to bottleneck a single gpu. If you plan to get an i5 better pair it with at least a 7950, gtx 670 or higher. A general rule of thumb I like to use is that for gaming the gpu should cost 1.5-2 times as much as the cpu. So $100 cpu = $150-200 gpu and so on. If you have a set budget of lets say $800 and you want to maximize gaming capability, keep this in mind.
More info: http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=428946
Other things I feel are worth mentioning: don't spend $100+ on a motherboard unless you know you will need the features and don't oversize the power supply. Any good 450-500w 80+ psu can handle an overclocked system with 1 gpu. a 700w psu can handle sli/xfire setups. I have seen some retarded advice here telling people to get 800w power supplies for single card systems. Example: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...#post961276543
If you balance your components properly you can make your money go much further. The $350 build is a capable gaming machine for people on a low budget.