Build Your Own – Christmas Gaming Rig

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Good afternoon all. As those of you who’ve been reading the blog for a while will already know, we like to run a fairly tech-centric or a how-to piece on a Wednesday afternoon. This week’s How-To is basically a build your own PC build we’ve been asked to write up by people who were looking to put together a new machine either in the run up to or just after Christmas.

It’s a nice and simple build, without anything too fancy going on, but it’s also our first build from the charming Ryan in RMA; since Shelton’s been doing all of the builds for a while, it’s about time we gave Ryan a chance 😉

Anyway, enough jibber-jabber, we’ll get straight to the build itself. We’ll take it from the top, opening with the motherboard.

Motherboard – Gigabyte GA-P55-UD4:

There are a couple of reasons we went with this motherboard, but the biggest one was the combination of reliability and the fact that it’s a very solid board for anyone looking to overclock.

Click through to see our product page for the Gigabyte motherboard 🙂

We can’t really recommend that anyone try overclocking their equipment, because doing so voids warranties and has the potential to create all kinds of mess… but if you’re the kind of person who’d like to see good overclocking potential in a machine they’re building then this is exactly the kind of board you’d do well to check out.

Moreover, at €145 it’s not a bad old deal by any stretch of the imagination, and things only get better when we move on to the processor end of things. You can check out more of the specifics for the Gigabyte GA-P55-UD4 over at our product page for it, if you’re so inclined.

CPU – Intel Core i5-570:

When I asked Ryan why he’d gone with this Core i5 processor specifically, he gave me a long speech about price to performance ratios in mid-to-high end processors that basically ended with, “Well, I work very hard for my money, and this is the processor I’d buy.” That’s a fairly solid recommendation.

Click through to see our product page for the Intel Core i5 570 🙂

As well you might know from the Core i5 logo, it’s a solid quad-core processor, clocked at 2.66GHz. Again, we can’t really condone overclocking, but it’s a solid processor for those looking to squeeze their money’s worth out of their hardware. In that respect it sits very well with the motherboard.

Intel’s Core i5-570 will set you back the fairly healthy sum of €185, which isn’t too bad at all, especially considering the mileage you’ll get out of it. Of course, all that performance is going to cost you somewhere, and in this case overclockers will likely feel the heat, so you might want to invest in some extra cooling.

CPU Cooler – Corsair H50 Hydro Series:

Corsaid is a company whose equipment we’ve long been recommending on the blog, for a combination of reliability and pricing. Moreover, just about any Corsair product you can find has won an award or two in its time, which makes it easy to recommend.

Click through to see our page for the Corsaird H50 Hydro series 🙂

Corsair’s H50 Hydro Series CPU cooler is a fairly simple affair; as Ryan put it, it’ll allow you to use liquid cooling for the price of a high-end air cooler, which is always nice.

Because it’s liquid-based, it means you’re not going to be adding any extra noise, and having your system cooled without any extra noise is always a massive plus, especially for gamers. There’s nothing like having the atmosphere of a dark game broken up by the fact that your PC is starting to heat up and consequently sounds like a jet engine.

Corsair’s H50 Hydro Series CPU cooler is €75, which is a solid deal for a reliable cooler. Next, on to the GPU.

GPU – MSI Radeon HD 5850 1GB:

When it comes to graphics cards we understand that a lot of people will already have their allegiances fairly set in stone by now. Still, if you’re one of the Nvidia faithful you’ll likely already know what kind of card you’d like to put into a build. If you’re not, then this ATI is well worth consideration.

Click through to see our page for the MSI Radon HD 5850 🙂

The Radeon HD 5850 is a solid card, offering excellent value for money when it comes to sheer performance. It boasts 1GB of GDDR5 memory and its own HDMI out, for those who like having options in their connections. The other big reason for recommending this card is that it has Direct X 11 support, so you can sort yourself out with some gaming future proofing now, since the way things are going it looks as though DX11 will have a bit more luck catching on than DX10 did, thanks in no small part to Windows 7’s success where Vista kind of flopped.

The MSI Radeon HD 5850 will set you back a pretty penny at €272, but it’s still well worth considering, given the fact that it’s likely going to last a fair while before you need to think seriously about replacing it.

Power Supply – Corsair TX 650W:

It’s always hard to know what to say when recommending a power supply, but we tend to recommend the same one fairly often when people are going for power-hungry builds.

Click through to see our page for the Corsair TX 650W 🙂

Corsair’s TX 650W should be enough for just about anything you could care to whack into this build, so it likely won’t need replacing anytime soon. Moreover, Corsair makes very reliable power supplies that just last and last, so we’re happy to recommend it. It’s also got a five year warranty, and it’s hard to argue with a company that kind of confidence in equipment.

The Corsair TX 650W is €83, which might seem a touch expensive for a power supply, but we think it’s well worth the price. If you’re at all interested, it’s been very well reviewed by a huge number of customers of ours who’ve really liked it after having bought it.

Case – Cooler Master HAF 922:

As much as it might seem as though we’ve chosen this for its admittedly pretty imposing looks, the decision to recommend this case comes more from a combination of it being an excellent piece of design and the fact that it’s widely recognised as a solid case.

Click through to see our page for the Cooler Master HAF 922 🙂

Cooler Master’s HAF 922 has won itself a raft of awards, but beyond that it’s also very well designed indeed. It boasts amazing airflow, with big fans and offers excellent options when it comes to managing the amount of cable you’re going to have in there. There’s nothing like a poorly organised case.

The Cooler Master HAF 922 is €92. If you’d like to check it out in more detail or just see the number of recommendations and awards it’s won, you can check out our product page for it.

Hard Drives:

This is why we tend to leave builds to Shelton. Ryan, when given a budget, will stretch and play with it until he’s built you something you neither understand nor recognise with it. In this case, I asked him if he could build a PC on a budget of €1,200 and he’s opted to throw in two drives, instead of one big one.

Click through to see our page for the Corsair 32GB SSD 🙂

The first drive is the €121 Corsair SSD Extreme X32. It’s a 32GB SSD, which Ryan thoroughly recommends people install their OS and whatever their most used applications on to ensure the absolute minimum time spend sitting around waiting for things to load. You have to hand it to him, the man knows what he wants.

The second drive is the 500GB Samsung SpinPoint F3, which tips the scales at a respectable 500GB and will only set you back the very reasonably sum of €46. It’s Ryan’s opinion that once you’ve got everything you need fast access to running from your SSD, the 500GB HDD is going to be where you keep movies, music, and maybe those games just a bit too big to justify going on the SSD.

You could always opt to replace both drives with Samsung’s SpinPoint F1, keeping the price down and giving you an extra 470GB or so of storage space, but you’d be missing out on the speed the SSD brings to the table.

If nothing else, he’s ambitious.

Optical – Sony NEC Optiarc:

There’s never really too much to say about an optical drive, except that Sony’s NEC Optiarc is €19.90 and is a solid optical drive with support for DVD RW +/- depending on your needs.

RAM – Crucial DDR3 BallistiX:

I’ve left the RAM until last because it gives me a chance to talk about Ryan behind his back. You see, when I originally asked Ryan to build a machine for €1,200 he said, “You’ll get a gorgeous machine out of that,” and went on to talk about all the wonder he could fit in.

He pottered off, a happy man on a mission, and shot me a list of components later in the day. To emphasise his point, he included a copy of Windows 7 in the build, and I have to admit I was really impressed, until about forty seconds later when I received a message from him to tell me he had to remove the copy of Windows 7 so that he could actually… y’know, afford to put some RAM in there.

Ryan’s recommendation is for two of the Crucial DDR3 BallistiX 2GB kits, specifically because they have “headroom for overclocking.” The two kits between them come to €106.

Closing:

There you have it, it might not be the biggest or the best Build Your Own article we’ll do, but it’s a solid machine on a fairly tight budget. The whole thing comes to just €1,145, which is very impressive considering the fact that Ryan seemed to have forgotten all about RAM until the very end 😉

We’ll be doing another build next week for people who want to put together a machine for the lowest price possible this Christmas and still be able to get some modern games going on it without any headaches.

For now, feel free to leave any comments you have on the build, suggestions or notes on what you might have done differently. We’re happy to hear what anyone else has to say about it 🙂

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8 Responses to “Build Your Own – Christmas Gaming Rig”

  1. Sinan Says:

    Hey made this for myself to try aim for ;).

    Anything that’s missing I already have, but if I was to replace my current keyboard and headset I’d get the Logitech G19, Roccat Kave.
    I’d much prefer spend the extra €300, especially when it comes with a Roccat Kone, and an LG 22″ LED Monitor.
    Basic specs include 6GB Crucial DDR3 RAM, an i7 860, a BD-ROM/DVD+RW, a Sapphire 4890, and a WD GreenPower 1TB w/ 32MB cache.
    If I were to take out the LG 22″ LED it would be just over €1200 😉

    http://www.komplett.ie/k/shoplist.aspx?mode=receive&si=747123&su=F1966072-2981-454B-8B5E-60FB8646A707

  2. Ryan Says:

    Damn those pesky memories ! I have to say though, this build is exceptional value for money. If you dropped down a step on the graphics card to say a 4870 which is still a blisteringly fast card, you have enough to add a nice copy of windows 7 onto this.

    Good write-up Marc 🙂

  3. Dennis Says:

    Hmmm…. don’t go for the 4870, but the 5770. It’s roughly the same price, roughly the same performance, but with some extra features and DirectX 11 support.
    I’d also go for an i7 setup myself. (920, not 8XX for the triple channel memory)

  4. Zubie Says:

    Not so sure I agree about the processor, was going along the same track first then I found this http://www.komplett.ie/k/ki.aspx?sku=344771 for half the price-ish.
    Higher clock frequency, works fine to overclock, and do games even utilize all 4 cores?

    • komplettie Says:

      None that I know of, though Valve seems to be pushing more and more multi-core support for its games, which is always nice 🙂

    • Colin Says:

      Zubie, Clock speed is not everything in a processor. The architecture of the CPU alone can impact performance greatly. Hell, all you need to is look at the memory cache on the i5 compared to the E8500.

      If frequency were everything, Intel and AMD would not have given up the 4GHz race. 😉

  5. Product Spotlight – Corsair X32 « Komplett Ireland Says:

    […] can check out Ryan’s build for a gaming rig under €1,200 that includes both an SSD and a HDD if you’d like to see more about what you can get out of […]

  6. JiNtatsu Says:

    Nice.. if it was me i’d use a high end air cooling though. there is a big difference in price here..

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