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Gaming Workhorse August 2013

Gaming Workhorse August 2013

If you're not willing to compromise to get some decent frame rates at high resolutions, then look no further than our Gaming Workhorse. Our choices here are designed to create a lust-worthy system that's both powerful, cool and quiet.

PC Hardware Buyer's Guide August 2013 Gaming Workhorse August 2013
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As well as offering enough grunt to handle all of today's current games at high settings, we've also included an SSD for speedy loading of Windows, games and programs, a discrete sound card for awesome sound quality and of course the system is very overclockable too.

 ProductUK Price (inc VAT)US Price (ex tax)
CPU3.4GHz Intel Core i5-4670K£185$230
MotherboardGigabyte GA-Z87X-UD3H£144$160
Memory8GB 1,600MHz DDR3£50$58
Graphics CardAMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB£270$309
PSUXFX Pro Series Black Edition 750W£90$109
CPU Cooler (UK)SilverStone Argon AR01£24$35
CaseCorsair Carbide 500R£95$120
Optical driveSATA DVD-RW£15$20
Storage (HDD)2TB Hard Disk£65$90
Storage (SSD)128GB Sandisk Ultra Plus£72$100
Sound CardCreative Sound Blaster Z£75$100
 Overall Price:£1,085$1,331

New This Month

It's out with the old and in with the new and that means an Intel Haswell CPU and new motherboard. It's a similar choice to our Enthusiast Overclocker here, with the 3.4GHz Intel Core i5-4670K and Gigabyte's GA-Z87X-UD3H motherboard kicking things off.

The CPU offers plenty of overclocking headroom and better clock-for-clock performance than previous generation CPUs and the GA-Z87X-UD3H is the motherboard to partner it. Gigabyte has created a good-looking motherboard that's easy to overclock and has a layout as good as any board we've seen making it a great choice.

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Our choice of graphics card was a tough one, with so many occupying the £250-£350 price point. We settled on the AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB, which retails for £270. This is £30-50 cheaper than the GeForce GTX 770 2GB, which is only a little faster, while being noticeably faster than the GeForce GTX 760 2GB, which retails for around £200.

Our PSU has also been updated to reflect our recent PSU roundup and is now the XFX Pro Series Black Edition 750W , which has a robust feature set and silent operation as well as perfect stability and entirely modular cables.

Seeing as our Radeon HD 7970 3GB test system drew over 300W from the wall in our stress test (this doesn't load the CPU fully either) a 750W PSU strikes the right balance between offering headroom and not loading it too much during gaming sessions to keep noise and efficiency at optimum levels.

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Although the SilverStone Argon AR01 is a sub-£30 cooler, it still offers fantastic cooling for overclocked CPUs, is easy to install and will not make your ears bleed (in fact it's very quiet). Unless you're dead-set on buying a larger cooler or all-in-one liquid cooling unit, then it's our firm choice.

We've updated our SSD to reflect our current favourite, which is the 128GB Sandisk Ultra Plus. It's not the fastest out there, but at £72 it's noticeably cheaper than many recent additions and provides an ample-sized home for your OS and healthy selection of games.

We've also added a new sound card to the mix, finally, in the form of Creative's Sound Blaster Z . It offers fantastic audio in games and music and is a brilliant all-rounder - exactly what you want from an £80 sound card.

And the rest

The stalwart Corsair Carbide 500R is still our case of choice in the £80-100 bracket. It strikes a great balance between cooling, features, price and looks and is, of course, compatible with all of Corsair's current all-in-one liquid coolers. Features of particular note are awesome cable routeing, fan control and a light controller.

Finally, if you haven't got a copy already, you'll want to factor in a copy of Windows 7 too - if you're confident that you won't be upgrading much, then an OEM copy should be fine, but serial upgraders need the pricier retail version.