When you think of the ideal gaming computer images of multiple video cards, water cooling, and tons of hard drive space instantly come to mind; but, when I think of the idea gaming computer I'm looking for a system that will perform well over a long period of time – and not cost so much that I have to take out a loan to pay for it.
Yes, high end components will ensure that your gaming machine will play the latest and greatest games for years to come, but you'll end up spending a premium for that. Instead of spending every last cent you've ever earned on one of these machines, I recommend buying something in a more realistic budget; but, by being smart about your purchases you can slowly upgrade that machine over time, giving you the best performance possible at an upfront cost that is not unreasonable.
When you're building a computer based around budget everything comes down to the motherboard. You need to know what processors and RAM it's compatible with, how much RAM it can hold, how many PCI-Express x16 slots it has (if you're intent on using SLI or Crossfire), how many SATA headers it has, and even going so far as to know how many USB headers it has. All of this information can help you build a gaming computer from the ground up that has a lot of upgrade potential.
In this case, you would actually build a gaming computer for future potential, rather than immediate potential. So, you may end up spending quite a bit of money on a top of the line motherboard, but you'll save money in the long run by buying compatible hardware for that motherboard three to sin months down the road – when prices of today's high end components comes down to mid-rage prices.
Admittedly, you will not have the "gold standard" of gaming computers, but you'll have built a machine that will last for several years and also offer you an upgrade path for most of your components – which will extend the gaming years of your machine. Si, if you're looking to buy an ideal gaming computer on a budget, look closely at the motherboard – a high end motherboard today will give you a much longer gaming life than a mid to low end one.