The PC Gamer Rig revisited
For the Rig is all things to all people: if you've never built a PC before and want to know what kind of spec you should aim for, let the Rig be your guide. If you want a list of potential upgrades that give you the best possible value for money, let the Rig be your guide. If you want to know how to put together a complete PC for less than £1000/$1500... well, you get the idea.
So what has changed during the haitus? Not an awful lot – AMD's new Radeon HD7000 cards have been launched at too high a price to cause a massive drop in existing midrange cards, which means NVIDIA's GTX 560Ti remains the best value card overall.
If you want to save more money, you could opt for the even cheaper Radeon HD6870, mind. In a recent test I carried out for the mag, the HD6870 is between £30 and £40 cheaper than the GTX560Ti and is still its equal in games like Skyrim. It struggles comparatively in DX11 tessellation effects, but there's no game I found in which the GTX560Ti ran at playable framerates but the HD6870 doesn't. It just has that bit of extra headroom that's worth the difference if you can afford it.
Elsewhere I've been convinced to downgrade the case a bit. Corsair's Carbide 500R is a thing of beauty, but it's also quite pricey for what's ostensibly a good value build. Bitfenix' Outlaw, on the other hand, is an absolute steal for £40/$50.
The most significant change, however, is the addition of an add-in sound card. While onboard sound is absolutely fine these days, ASUS' Xonar DG costs just £20/$25 and crucially has a headphone amp circuit on board. That feature makes more practical difference to my ears than any of the expensive extras
'audiophiles' insist on, plus there's some solid sound processing silicon on there too.
What's in the Rig?
Intel Core i5 2500K
Crucial Ballistix Sport
GeForce GTX 560Ti
Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB
OCZ ZS Series 650W
Microsoft SideWinder X4
ASUS Xonar DG
Iiyama Prolite X2377HDS/AOC i2353Ph
Steelseries Siberia v2
That's £9.02 more/£70.20 less than last time.