A Pre-Built System in Your Budget

There are a lot of PC gamers that want to get a decent system for the upcoming onslaught of releases but don’t want to build it themselves. Does AVADirect have a system for you?

We all know that the majority of our readers enjoy building their own gaming systems – picking components, building the hardware, installing the software, etc.  But as gamers get older and the amount of time they have to dedicate to their passion decreases, some might be willing to take the move to buying a pre-built gaming rig based on industry standard components.  The benefits are definitely there: quicker turn around with just a couple days shipping, warranty and support for anything that should go wrong and the ability to upgrade and adapt your system in anyway you want.

AVADirect is a system builder that has been specializing in gaming PCs since 2003 and is based near Cleveland, Ohio.  They offer a wide array of PC options including the most basic and inexpensive machines used for business computing as well as top-level gaming machines with overclocked settings and high-end water cooling configurations. 

Recently AVADirect approached me with an interesting review idea: build a custom system for just around $1000 made for gaming and see if it could stand up to our testing.  The result is a rig based on the P67 platform (though since our system shipped you can get Z68 motherboards for the same price) and the Core i5 Sandy Bridge processor, coupled with a Radeon HD 6950 that provides enough gaming power to tackle the best PC games.

Here is our video review of the AVADirect custom $1000 gaming machine, and check below for more images and thoughts!

Continue reading our review of the AVADirect custom gaming system!

Here are the specifications of the AVADirect system as we tested it:

  • Thermaltake V5 Mid-Tower chassis
  • Thermaltake TR2 500 watt power supply
  • MSI P67 motherboard
  • Intel Core i5-2400 processor
  • 4GB Kingston DDR3-1600 memory
  • XFX Radeon HD 6950 1GB graphics card
  • 1TB Samsung 7200 RPM hard drive
  • Lite-On Blu-ray drive and DVD burner
  • Windows 7 Home Premium x64
  • 3 Years parts/labor warranty
  • Total cost: $1080

That is a pretty good mix of hardware and as I mentioned above you would likely want to replace that P67 board with a Z68 offering (we took too long reviewing this platform, otherwise it would have shipped with one). 

The Thermaltake V5 case is pretty standard and has just enough features to not make us wish AVADirect had gone another direction.  It doesn’t have front panel USB 3.0 though there are other cases available from AVA that do offer that option.  

The power supply is a bottom mount design and seems pretty standard for a mid-tower chassis.

You can see there are a LOT of USB ports on this MSI motherboard but it lacks USB 3.0 – again something you will likely find on the newer Z68 offerings.

There is an eSATA port on the top of the case for external storage connectivity.

The handle on top is actually my favorite feature of the case – it works great and doesn’t feel "cheap" at all. 

Inside the case the design is very clean and simple because there isn’t much hardware to work around.  The cables are kept nice and neat and you can see the V5 offers LOTS of room for added hard drives and accessories. 

Looking behind the motherboard you can again see that the cable routing is very clean and simple. 

Overall, my impressions of the AVADirect custom system were very positive and it proves that you can not only build a system for around $1000 (from scratch) and play all of today’s latest games, but you also have one BUILT FOR YOU for around $1000.  In truth, the markup you are paying for the system is minimal over buying the components directly and you get the added protection of a three warranty.