What Hardware Should I Buy? - January 2010

January 11, 2010 | 09:26

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

Companies: #bit-tech #game

Gaming Workhorse

While our Enthusiast Overclocker system is built around maximising overclocking and gaming potential on a budget (well, as much of a budget as Lynnfield allows, at least), but for those looking for excellent all-round performance will want a 'proper' multi-tasking PC. We've opted back from LGA1366 to LGA1156 this month because budget X58 boards have mostly become end of life, meaning to retain the sub-£1000 budget we've had to traverse sideways to Core i7 Lynnfield.

The system is still just as great for any demanding use, and the fact the Core i7-860 has a higher native clock and better TurboBoost than the Core i7-920, means that even without overclocking there's a performance flavouring too. Naturally this PC can take heavy gaming at 1,920 x 1,200 24" LCD resolutions, and is capable of processing a heap of RAW images or encoding video or audio.

The Core i7-860 can be bought for around the same price of the Core i7-920, however a decent motherboard like the Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3R is far cheaper than its X58 alternatives, allowing for more money to be pumped in elsewhere. These two together, along with our favoured Titan Fenrir cooler, and there's easily 4GHz or greater achievable out of this combination.

*What Hardware Should I Buy? - January 2010 Gaming Workhorse

We've dropped in "just" 4GB of our usual 1,600MHz DDR3 memory here to fit to the sub-£1k budget, however if you really are building a workstation you should probably be looking at a 8GB to dive into. It then goes without saying that you must then remember to choose a 64-bit OS to make use of it all. Four 2GB DIMMs are more usual still, however two 4GB DIMMs are slowly appearing on the market. Also, be wary that we've found an 8GB kit might not be the best value option, instead check out the cost just buying two 4GB kits instead.

*What Hardware Should I Buy? - January 2010 Gaming Workhorse *What Hardware Should I Buy? - January 2010 Gaming Workhorse

On the graphics front it has to be the ATI Radeon HD 5850 1GB. Prices do fluctuate roughly around the £210 mark, but given the high demand can go a lot more. With supply slowly increasing according to AMD, the retail price should even out eventually. There is currently no Nvidia alternative available, still, so the HD 5850 has effectively this segment sewn up.

The guys at CustomPC recently tested the Antec TruePower New 650W and recommended that at this price, so we use this now instead. Alternatives include the Corsair TX650W we previously recommended, or, a ~600(-700W) of your choice if you have a particular idea of what brand you'd like to use.

We've included in the HAF 922 here again because for the price it's a very capable case, however we realise people might want something a little more upmarket. Alternatives include the popular Antec Nine Hundred Two, 183, 193 or Twelve Hundred and Lancool cases too. Going upmarket you might want to stretch to the Cooler Master ATCS 840 or Lian Li PC-9B.

*What Hardware Should I Buy? - January 2010 Gaming Workhorse *What Hardware Should I Buy? - January 2010 Gaming Workhorse

Finally include the Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB hard drive and a SATA DVD-RW optical drive and you're all done. If you have a particular penchant for a Blu-ray drive for watching Blu-ray movies, then drop one in for £50-60, however no games or software come on Blu-ray so we don't really feel it's worth the cost. We'd also love to include an SSD in this machine, however the budget buys aren't really so fast in read-write - although they clearly have a superior random read/write - and given NAND Flashes' highly volatile price, we don't feel it reliably fits in the budget.
Discuss this in the forums
YouTube logo
MSI MPG Velox 100R Chassis Review

October 14 2021 | 15:04