Dear Kotaku's PC Gamers,

like most people here, I'm an avid gamer, unlike a lot of you however I'm not a PC gamer. Most people are surprised to learn this when they find out that I'm a software developer. For me spending all day at work in an office chair perched on a keyboard means that when I get home and want to unwind I'm not really thrilled with the idea of getting back into an office chair perched on a keyboard.

Steam's big picture mode (BPM) has seriously piqued my interest but here's the problem, I don't really have a PC to use with it. I have a notebook issued by my employer that I can't install games on, and I have a personal notebook that was middle of the road back in 2007 and serves me just fine for writing code and the occasional photo and video editing but has no real 3D processing capabilities (I've tried running a few demos it's a non-starter). So I don't really have a machine to test out BPM.

So here's where I ask you, the Kotaku PC Gamers for help. I've got an old HTPC case that would look right at home under my TV. I'm willing to drop $400-$500 to build a Steam "console" so where would my money be best spent? I'm a die hard console gamer, but I'm willing to give PC gaming a shot, so long as I can do it without breaking the bank in the process.