What Hardware Should I Buy? - February 2010

February 3, 2010 // 11:12 a.m.

Tags: #build #building #buyers #case #cheap #computer #cost #decision #free #gold #guide #hardware #inexpensive #live #make #new #performance #purchase #what

Companies: #bit-tech #game

Enthusiast Overclocker

The Enthusiast Overclocker is a PC designed for those looking to buy a PC that maximises performance, without splashing out on premium hardware. If you're not into hardcore video encoding and more extreme multi-tasking, but still love your high resolution gaming, we've worked with this PC to generate the best balance possible, providing that is, you spend time learning how to overclock it.

It’s fair to say LGA1156 has a stronger future going forward than Socket AM3, considering we expect the latest Phenom is pretty much as far as AMD can push its 45nm process without a complete core revamp. As such, LGA1156 is the superior platform going forward, with the i5-750 processor hitting the sweet spot when it comes to value, and offering future Core i7s as an upgrade path to more multi-threading support.

What Hardware Should I Buy? - February 2010 Enthusiast Overclocker

We've kept the same Core i5-750 and Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD2 combination again, however if you think the £700 mark is a little too expensive you can always downgrade this in favour of the Core i3-530. The i5-750 may lack the 8-threads of its i7 brothers, but it's still the best value true quad-core for overclockers at around £150.

You can still get budget GeForce GTX 260-216s around, but we prefer the Radeon HD 5770 1GB route for investment in DirectX 11 and improved power consumption, plus, the performance is about the same. Prices for the Radeon HD 5770 1GB are dropping and can be found for just £115-£120. Quite a few people have commented on the attraction of running two in CrossFire - providing "HD 5870 performance for ~HD 5850 price". While we're still skeptical given the heavy reliance on drivers for any multi-GPU performance gains, not to mention new games require another month or two, or hotfix for an optimisation, then you're not always guaranteed to get the full value of your purchase. If you are going down the CrossFire route, do NOT buy the UD2 recommended here - the second x16 slot is only an x4 electrically - instead upgrade to the considerably more expensive GA-P55M-UD4 because none of the UD3s or UD2 offer a second PCI-Express x8.

What Hardware Should I Buy? - February 2010 Enthusiast Overclocker

4GB of 1,600MHz CL9 DDR3 memory is still our favoured combination with Lynnfield CPUs, and unfortunately prices across brands vary quite considerably depending where you shop in the UK - so as usual, shop around.

We've swapped out our long-time recommended Cooler Master HAF 922 in favour of the Fractal Design R2. The R2 has a smarter look we think our readers will appreciate, plus, it can do both high performance (with additional fans) or low noise. At £80 it's great value too, however, unfortunately our US friends can't buy one yet - so we've left you with the popular HAF 922.

If you want something more mobile remember the Cooler Master Scout, or other alternatives include the popular Antec Nine Hundred Two, Lian Li Lancool cases, the new Antec 600, the and relaunch of Cooler Master's 690 II soon too.

What Hardware Should I Buy? - February 2010 Enthusiast Overclocker What Hardware Should I Buy? - February 2010 Enthusiast Overclocker

Throwing in the usual 500W OCZ ModXStream Pro and Gelid Tranquillo, and you've certainly got enough power and cooling for a high performance overclock. If you do think the PSU is too anemic for your future upgrades though, drop in the Antec from the Gaming Workhorse a page over, and if you want more cooling performance don't be afraid to swap out the low noise, low airflow fan on the Tranquillo. If you think the Gelid isn't enough, drop in a Titan Fenrir, and it's job done.

Unfortunately SSDs are still too expensive for this budget so we've dropped in another one of our hard drive favourites - the Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB. There's plenty of space and plenty of speed to be had from that. However, if you really don't like Samsung drives, check out the Seagate 7200.12s and Western Digital Blacks as well.
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