By Vlad Savov and Sean Hollister

Ah, the self-built PC. It wasn’t until the turn of this century that computer components were finally affordable enough for the regular Joe and Vlad to build their own, but we made up for lost time in a hurry. The insatiable appetite for newer and better hardware intermingled with the wealth of knowledge that was the internet to produce some wonderful DIY PCs. Oh sure, garish LED lights would peek out at you from some overzealous builder’s case, but at least they were a sign of the close bond shared between a machine and the human that built it.

Modern trends have threatened to leave the custom-built computer behind, what with multifunctional home consoles and constantly connected mobile devices, but there’s still one overwhelming reason to want a good old desktop tower: gaming. The highest possible visual fidelity is still reserved for the PC gamer, with games like the recent Battlefield 3 exhibiting breathtaking graphical detail.

As keen gamers ourselves, we thought it’d be a good idea to show how we’d spend a reasonable sum of money, say $1,000, in the pursuit of such splendorous visuals. This guide will walk you through the dos and don’ts of picking out the right components, before showing you how they all fit together. In the future, we’ll be using the resulting Verge Gaming Rig as a testing platform for other goodies on the desktop hardware front, while also reviewing potential upgrades to keep it in tip-top shape. Today, however, is all about piecing it together and making sure it boots up.