Although not a lot of change in the market I have actually made some fairly significant changes to this months system. Admittedly this has pushed the price up a little and I’ve had to sacrifice the sound card but being able to sport one of the latest and greatest graphics cards is worth it in my opinion.
The Entry to Mid Level System:
NZXT Source 210
Cost – £35
Slightly more expensive than the Coolermaster case I have been recommending of late however for the extra £1 you are getting rear and ceiling fans included, internal cable management, screwless design, a bottom mounted PSU as well as a USB3 compatible front socket. From a personal perspective, I think its a nice looking case to boot. Also available in white if you are a tart!
Corsair CX V2 600W
Cost – £53
A trusted brand, plenty of power headroom for most upgrades you might consider later, 80% efficiency which should give you a nice stable platform. Spending less on a PSU is usually false economy especially in a machine you plan on using for games.
Intel Core i5 2400 3.1Ghz
Cost – £146
Unless you are planning on overclocking there really is no point in spending money on the higher spec K series chips and on the whole for gaming its best to put the money into graphics power. This i5 sports intels turbo boost and has more than enough power for games. Given the specs released on the Ivybridge CPUs there isnt a great deal to get too excited about. Sandybridge will do you for a good while.
Cost – £67
One of the first big changes, I have switched from the older 6 series intel boards to one of their new 7 series boards which support native Ivybridge, USB3 and PCI-E3 support as well as the various enhancements that Intel have made to caching, SSD support and other benefits. The limitation of the board selected here is that it only has a single high speed PCI-E socket and therefore will be more suited to a single GPU setup. An extra £10 will get you a Z77 board with this support however I needed to save the money for my GPU upgrade.
8GB Crucial DDR3 1600MHz Ballistix Sport
Cost – £31
RAM is very cheap at the moment and prices seem to be holding although I woundnt count on that forever. Lifetime warranty and good service from Crucial when you need it. I would also say that we are now getting to the point that its worth having a minimum of 8GB RAM for gaming comfort.
HIS HD 7850 2GB
Cost – £189
Since the release of the Nvidia 680GTX, AMD have been reviewing the prices of their current market cards which has seen price reductions across the board. Its true the 6870 I normally recommend is now even cheaper, but this is an excellent price for a card that’s only a couple of months old! AMDs latest architecture and 2GB of memory put it clearly above the Nvidia 560Ti 448 core in my mind.
Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200RPM 16MB Cache
Cost – £61
Hard disks are still pretty expensive but prices are falling quickly from their peak. I have switched to the Seagate as this is a SATA III drive which will perform better than the budget drives I have been previously recommending although this has raised the price a little. The prices still need to drop considerably to start looking at the drives you would typically want to use.
Samsung 22x DVD/RW
Cost – £13
With the exception of Sony which I would tend to avoid, all optical drives are the same so buy the cheapest. No real point getting Blu-Ray yet unless you are planning on using the PC as a media centre.
LG 23″ IPS235V
Cost – £133
LG are leading the charge for low cost E-IPS screens and at this price and with the favourable reviews they are generally receiving its hard to argue in favour of the older TN panels any more. No change here however IPS options in this price bracket are becoming more and more common, with the AOC i2353Fh hot on LG’s tails, its worth shopping around.
Cost – £17
Clearly modelled after other successful gaming mice, Gigabyte have pulled together a very attactive combination of functionality, performance and price. Its very hard to justify more expensive options with this on the table.
Cost – £36
I have switched from the Microsoft X4 on the basis that as MS are closing the brand, its arguably better to buy something thats going to recieve ongoing support. Back lit, anti ghosting and macro keys make it hard to beat at the price which is more or less like for like with the X4.
Plantronics Gamecom 380
Cost – £19
Plantronics have recently updated their Gamecom range and this 380 replaces the outgoing 367. As before the 380 has high quality sound, comfortable for long play sessions with a reasonable mic attached as well as a much improved build quality around both its cabling and headband. Not something you typically see in headsets of this price.
Total cost of the above:
As before, Ill be shortly following this article up with an update to the Overclocker’s system previously recommended.