PC Gaming Hardware – What PC to Buy Guide (April) cont.

Following on from April’s update to the entry level system, I have also made some big changes to the Overclocking system along similar lines with the motherboard and graphics card and Im really pleased with the results!  There are a few other changes too, this is a really decent system, possibly one of the best that Ive put together to date.

The Enthusiast’s Overclocking System:

CoolerMaster Silencio 550

Cost – £64
Yet another case to debut in my monthly recommendations.  Ive long been a fan of CoolerMasters cases who across their whole range typically create options nice to work with.  The Silencio is no exception, another sleek looking case with heavy duty sound proofing and all the connectivity options including USB3 that you would expect.  Couple that with the fact that CoolerMaster have reduced the price it just pipped the Fractal Design R3 in this months recommendation.

Power Supply:

OCZ MXSP Series 700W Modular PSU

Cost – £70
Plenty of power headroom for upgrades and overclocking, 80% efficiency which should give you a nice stable platform, and a modular cabling system to manage airflow. Its pricey but when you are playing with voltages, a PSU you can trust is critical.  Once again a change this month to the OCZ purely based on price.

Intel Core i5 2550K 3.4Ghz

Cost – £171
As before, I haven’t choosen the i7K due to the similarities in performance, if you are planning on doing lots of video encoding then get the i7 otherwise save your money, the i5 is rock solid. More interestingly, despite Ivybridge coming out in the next few months, the current highend Sandybridge chips arent losing out on much in comparison to whats in the pipline. You could invest now and not regret it later. The price is now almost aligned with the older 2500K, you get the extra speed and headroom for just £1!

Asus P8Z77-V

Cost – £133
As with the entry level system, 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. . This board is the direct successor of the Asus Z68 board I have previously been recommending however we are still waiting for the PRO edition to be released which will have a marginal impact on the OC options available to you.  That said I still think the upgrade is worthwhile, Intels changes are very broad and Asus have gone out of their way to include almost everything possible onto this board for you.  It should last a good long time.

16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600MHz

Cost – £73
RAM is very cheap at the moment and prices seem to be holding, whether you are building a whole system or not a RAM upgrade should be on your radar. Lifetime warranty and good service from Corsair when you need it. Additionally on this set you have the benefit of decent heatspreaders to support overclocking and also quad channel support should you look to take this RAM with you into a future board that supports it (currently only the socket 2011 boards support quad channel).

Graphics Card:
2 x HIS HD 7850 2GB

Cost – £378
Last month we were making the most of Nvidias price changes and this month its AMDs turn almost certainly with a view to setting the benchmark before Nvidia expand their 600 series range.  There are some cracking deals out there on AMD cards however Ive simply gone with doubling up the 7850 I recommended in the entry level PC.  The price and performance of this card coupled with the size of the memory make this an exceptional deal.  There are a few nuances to crossfire with AMDs latest however they arent unconquerable and are likely to be soon smoothed over with new driver releases.

Hard Disk:
BOOT: Corsair 120GB Force 3 SSD

Cost – £96
SSD prices have been unaffected by the price hike on platter based harddisks and are currently going through quite a coup. I have switched from the Corsair Force 3 purely on the basis of price.  When asked about SSDs these are the two I recommend, buy whichever is the cheaper of the two as performance is like for like.

STORAGE: Seagate 2TB Barracuda Green

Cost – £81
Given the high prices of platter based harddisks at the moment this isnt actually a terrible price. Decent cache and SATA III connectively should see it meet your storage needs happily, and the slightly lower spin speed and power consumption should keep the noise down.  Prices however are still inflated and although falling its taking some time to get back to where they were.

Optical Drive:
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.

Asus PA238Q LED 23″ IPS

Cost – £230
Consistently reviewed as the best IPS monitor in its class for both image replication and gaming response time. The picture quality is excellent, the panel and the stand are well designed the only real complaint is the 16:9 ratio rather than the preferable 16:10 but that really is nit-picking.

Logitech G400

Cost – £28
The remake of the MX518 which is commonly regarded as one of the best gaming mice produced. The quality and the value of this mouse are second to none.

Logitech G110 Gaming Keyboard

Cost – £62
Seeing as I have been saving money left, right and centre on the other components, I thought I would splash out on the keyboard a little and switch it to the one I personally use at home.  Yes its twice the price of both the X4 and the Cyborg previously recommended but the G110 is first and foremost a reliable, nice to use keyboard with a decent key action and then provides all the additional features you would expect on a gaming keyboard such as programmable keys, anti ghosting, powered USB and audio hub and various media and shortcut keys and switches.  Most useful of all is the ability to disable the windows key with a switch which helps avoid nasty situations where you find yourself dumped out of a game by accident with your start menu open.

Corsair Vengeance 1500 Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound Headset

Cost – £65
Another big change.  Regular readers of these recommendations may have noticed the absence of a sound card in this build which is largely to do with this change right here.  Corsair have launched their new Vengeance range and as has become typical of them, they are hitting a very high quality indeed.  Its obvious that every element of the design has been carefully thought through from the quality of the sound, the microphone and the comfort and build quality.  As this headset is connected via USB I have opted to remove the sound card and rather rely on the drivers included with the headset.  If you are also planning on having speakers connected then I would add the soundcard back in.

Total cost of the above:



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