Alright, when my GF moved in I always felt bad for her playing on her craptop while I was playing the same game (with her) but at much higher settings... So I dug out our old Dell XPS 8300 and started tearing it open!
When I opened up the case I was relieved to see it had plenty room for a GPU, I was only going to be having problems if I went for a triple fan card. I hadn't used the XPS 8300 for a long time, so I didn't really even know what it had under the hood. I saw an i7 sticker on the front so I got excited, but sadly its only got an 860 (first gen) :P It was advertised as a "full HD capable gaming computer" when I bought it, and it had a GTX 310 in it ROFL!
The board was bare-bones and dated, but it would do. PSU was crap, and the HDD was bad (wouldn't boot). Good thing there was a windows product key sticker on the case, because I had long since forgotten where I put the install discs!
It had 6GB 1333 RAM, not ideal... but it would work.
So, the stuff I needed was; HDD, PSU, and a GPU
When I started looking for a PSU newegg was just so happening to be trying to get rid of refurb CX600s so I manged to grab one for a measly $30! WITH FREE SHIPPING! I don't care how much flak the CX series gets, that is a hell of a deal lmao.
I found a 7850 on CL for $80, talked him down to $60. He was a cool dude, actually friends with him on steam now haha. He was upgrading to a 290x so he let it go for cheap.
And lastly I went to microcenter for the HDD and got the standard WD blue 1TB for $40.
The GF has always used her dual core pentium craptop for all her games, so the "massive power" of the 7850 blew her away rofl. She only plays on a res inbetween 720p / 1080p (only other monitor we had) so the 7850 actually does quite well once I overclocked the **** out of it. For a $130 upgrade I think I did pretty well!
The only problem I had was that with the case only having a single 80mm fan as exhaust, the temps from the heavily overclocked 7850 really raised the overall board, GPU, and CPU temps. I solved this by utilizing the intake holes on the front of the case by mounting a 120mm fan inside right up-against the holes. The fan pulls air in through the holes right up off the floor and forces cool air throughout the case and towards the GPU.
This tiny upgrade actually dropped temps by over 5C. Well worth the thought. The 120mm fan was a stock fan that came with my 300R that I no longer used, so I didn't include it in the price.