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PC Hardware Buyer's Guide, December 2010

Posted on 3rd Dec 2010 at 11:56 by Paul Goodhead with 30 comments

Paul Goodhead
As most of our long-term readers will know, we produce a PC hardware buyer’s guide each month, detailing our views on what PC components you should be buying and why. It’s a great opportunity for us to summarise our findings of the last month and for you guys to tell us that we're wrong.

This month though there are simply so many new releases just out of reach over the upgrade hill that we simply didn't think it was worth doing December buyers guide.

Intel's imminent release of its much hyped Sandy Bridge CPUs, for example, means we can't confidently recommend anyone build an LGA1156-based system from scratch. Even our recommended LGA1366 systems, such as our Premium Player, may even be under threat if Sandy Bridge's performance matches up to the buzz being generated.

PC Hardware Buyer's Guide, December 2010

Add to this the fact that it looks like there's a slew of new graphics card releases from both sides of the red/green divide on the horizon, and the waters become even more muddied.

ATI for instance is about to release its Radeon HD 6900-series, which should logically compete directly with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 5801.5GB. We also expect new graphics cards from Nvidia sometime soon, as it would be silly not to deploy its revised Fermi chip in more GPUs than just the GTX 580.

As a result, we won’t be publishing a buyer’s guide this month and will instead be dispensing the tried and tested tech world cliché of ‘just wait another month’ before taking the plunge. There is so much new and exciting kit in the horizon that it would be pointless to recommend you buy anything now, unless you absolutely have to.

We’ll be back on track with our buyers guide in January of course, so you should expect a bumper article detailing how we think you should be spending you Christmas windfall.

30 Comments

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NethLyn 3rd December 2010, 13:07 Quote
Good idea, take a Christmas break, the old Intel chips will go nowhere until the end of January if they keep to tradition, and the AMD 870 mobos are having a new Southbridge fitted so you can have 2 USB3s and SATA 3 interfaces (denoted by the letter A after the number) - that puts the price back to £65-70 but for AMD upgraders it's the best you'll get until PCI-E 3.0 lands on the boards in the more modern chipsets. Will edit that if the newest chipsets also get the new southbridge too.

I look forward to the new year build guide!
mrbens 3rd December 2010, 13:18 Quote
Quote:
It’s a great opportunity for us to summarise our findings of the last month and for you guys to tell us that we're wrong.
I liked that. It shows you don't take yourself too seriously. :)

BTW you need to sort out that massive /eurl error.
lworbey 3rd December 2010, 13:28 Quote
I understand your reasoning for not doing a guide but considering the VAT rise on 1st Jan I'd rather not wait until then for a new guide. I guess I'll keep an eye on reviews and attempt to make up my own system from anything that appears in the the next week or so.

The main issue is that the Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD2 mobo in the November guide has vanished, can anyone recommend a decent alternative for a similar price?
alialias 3rd December 2010, 13:32 Quote
i was looking to start a lga1156 build soon but i'm going to wait til sandy bridge to see what it does to prices, and sandy bridge's own performance.
can i still go out and buy a PSU, RAM and case now so i can avoid the extra VAT on them (and spread the cost)? i'm assuming they'll be compatible regardless of what i go for in the end?
clearly a cooler and motherboard wont be?
AshT 3rd December 2010, 13:39 Quote
The VAT rise is an extra £2.50 per £100, is that really a big issue?

Looking forward to the next hardware buyers guide!
NethLyn 3rd December 2010, 13:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AshT
The VAT rise is an extra £2.50 per £100, is that really a big issue?

Looking forward to the next hardware buyers guide!

The VAT rise will matter more on food and clothes than tech gear. It's not an immediate hit on one-off purchases, but the drip-drip effect that will add up.

Depends whether the guide gets written and scheduled to appear over New Year's Weeekend when the 3rd is a bank hol - the VAT will be Tuesday 4th onwards - there's a slim chance you can still get a build ordered before things go up.
pistol_pete 3rd December 2010, 13:49 Quote
I'm targeting a new graphics card this christmas, and of course i'm waiting for the 6970/50 to show their hand. Sensible move bit-tech, just get us the important reviews asap please!
AshT 3rd December 2010, 13:52 Quote
Maybe BT could issue a pre-VAT hike cheap'n'cheerful buyers guide?

Although, if it were a car purchase then yeah, needed, PC bits not so.
lworbey 3rd December 2010, 14:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by NethLyn


The VAT rise will matter more on food and clothes than tech gear. It's not an immediate hit on one-off purchases, but the drip-drip effect that will add up.

Depends whether the guide gets written and scheduled to appear over New Year's Weeekend when the 3rd is a bank hol - the VAT will be Tuesday 4th onwards - there's a slim chance you can still get a build ordered before things go up.

Most foods don't have VAT, its funny seeing people complain about their weekly shop going to be higher and yet it really won't as most food is VAT free or lower rate which isn't changing.

P.S. I realise you weren't complaining, just a little rant about what I keep reading in the papers lol!

Either way, 2.5% might not seem much to some people but if you don't have much cash to spare every little helps!

If anyone has any suggestions as a replacement for the Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD2 it would be appreciated, preferably the same price or less if possible...

Thanks!
mi1ez 3rd December 2010, 14:36 Quote
So much excitement and disappointment all at once...
MorpheusUK 3rd December 2010, 14:39 Quote
yea, not worth upgrading yet till we can see those new sandys and make an informative decision.
As mentioned they going no where so why not overclock them just a little to give you that extra bit of juice, just do it carefully as you dont want to pop anything this close to the imminent release and have to shell out now to replace.
I'll be watching this space.
eddtox 3rd December 2010, 14:57 Quote
It might still be worth buying your RAM this side of the new year though (if BT's article earlier this week is anything to go by). I wonder if I can pick up 8GB 1600Mhz DDR3 for £100... :/
wuyanxu 3rd December 2010, 15:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddtox
It might still be worth buying your RAM this side of the new year though (if BT's article earlier this week is anything to go by). I wonder if I can pick up 8GB 1600Mhz DDR3 for £100... :/
you can just about if you are willing to pay £110 for those new Corsair's
shigllgetcha 3rd December 2010, 15:53 Quote
good idea come back with more fresh stuff in jan
phuzz 3rd December 2010, 22:14 Quote
Oops, better not tell my mate who I just built a nice little i5 system for :(

Suits me though, I reckon I'll be waiting at least 6 months before I start planning my upgrade.
pingu666 3rd December 2010, 22:17 Quote
the rise on vat effects everything, as theres vat on fuel :\
Singularity 4th December 2010, 12:19 Quote
How high is VAT in the uk? It's sitting at 23% here in croatia at the moment...

Buyer's guide-wise, it makes perfect sense to skip a month and wait and see what happens...
Tho, I do like reading through it for fun :)
eddtox 4th December 2010, 12:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by phuzz
Oops, better not tell my mate who I just built a nice little i5 system for :(

Suits me though, I reckon I'll be waiting at least 6 months before I start planning my upgrade.

I just built an i5 system for myself... Still I suspect it will serve me well for a few years yet, regardless of what comes out next year.

Now if I could just get my hands on another 8gigs of ram :D
Abhorsen 4th December 2010, 16:36 Quote
Gutted! My Graphics card died yesterday so i need to replace, i'll just have to base my decision on Novembers guide as i really can't wait a month. I guess whats good now will still be good in a month anyways even if it does get superceded.
Material 4th December 2010, 16:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddtox
I just built an i5 system for myself... Still I suspect it will serve me well for a few years yet, regardless of what comes out next year.

Same here, I just built myself an i5 system too so I wouldn't worry too much. I needed the upgrade now and had the cash spare so frankly I couldn't see the point in waiting.
roblikesbeer 4th December 2010, 16:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Singularity
How high is VAT in the UK? It's sitting at 23% here in Croatia at the moment...

17.5% at the moment, going up to 20% in Jan :(
eddtox 4th December 2010, 17:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Material
Same here, I just built myself an i5 system too so I wouldn't worry too much. I needed the upgrade now and had the cash spare so frankly I couldn't see the point in waiting.

Ooh - what did you get?
soviet_ 4th December 2010, 19:52 Quote
No! Wanted to build a new PC for Christmas based around an i7-950. I might hold off on doing so, so hard to resist though
Material 8th December 2010, 15:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddtox
Ooh - what did you get?

Well obviously working for CPC/bit-tech has its benefits so I got a slightly better spec than I would have got if I was putting it together out of my own pocket. As a result I ended up with...

Intel i7-870
Asus Maximus III Formula
4GB 1,600MHz DDR3
120GB Phoenix Pro SSD
Silverstone Raven RV02 Case
Nvidia GTX 275
Prolimatech Armageddon CPU cooler
XFX black edition 850W PSU
and a bunch of HDD storage for games and media
wuyanxu 8th December 2010, 16:47 Quote
that's no i5, it's a solid i7 system.

just need a gtx570 in there for some awesome gaming.
eddtox 8th December 2010, 20:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Material
Well obviously working for CPC/bit-tech has its benefits so I got a slightly better spec than I would have got if I was putting it together out of my own pocket. As a result I ended up with...

Intel i7-870
Asus Maximus III Formula
4GB 1,600MHz DDR3
120GB Phoenix Pro SSD
Silverstone Raven RV02 Case
Nvidia GTX 275
Prolimatech Armageddon CPU cooler
XFX black edition 850W PSU
and a bunch of HDD storage for games and media

Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
that's no i5, it's a solid i7 system.

just need a gtx570 in there for some awesome gaming.
Material 8th December 2010, 21:10 Quote


Yeah, I realized that after I wrote it, I meant to say LGA1156 system rather than i5 system, I'm such a tool.

Honestly the GTX 275 is great for gaming, its a pre overclocked version and is about on par with a GTX 460 1GB so it suits me fine. I only have a wee screen at home (next on the upgrade list) so i don't need much grunt to get decent fps.
sp0rk 9th December 2010, 13:54 Quote
Do you anticipate the budget end changing much? I was hoping to get a build done fairly soon so would rather not wait if its likely to stay roughly the same!
Pr477y 20th December 2010, 03:22 Quote
Chomping at the bit, that i5 760 is giving me the dirty eye, we all know that she'll love it too, once she's properly warmed up :)

the innuendo master...

on a serious note can't wait for the Sandy Bridge reviews
j_jay4 10th January 2011, 18:52 Quote
So where's the January Hardware Buyer's Guide?
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