The PC Gamer Christmas Gift Guide

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Hardware

The enforced mediocrity of cross-platform releases have held back games for too long. Now, finally, the wheezing, geriatric consoles are giving way to games that promise to give our rigs a real work out. But if the PC is going to be doing heavy lifting in the year to come, it'd better get buff first, and on a recession-beating budget. See below for our recommendations for the best value performance-boosting kit.

Intel Core i5 3570k


This is the CPU that powers PCG's own recommended rig. Higher performance processors exist, but the i5 is no slouch at off-the-shelf speeds and it's overclockable, too, making it one of the best value chips around, and one that should see you through for several years.
Amazon: $270 / £170

Asus P8H77-I


It's not overburdened with features, but it's cheap and good enough for a Core i5 processor. Plus, it comes with an assured compatibility with Windows 8, should you feel the need to upgrade to it in the next few years.
Dabs.com: $123 / £77

Crucial Ballistix Sport


Eight gigabytes of fast 1600MHz DDR3 for under $40. Grab it quick, just in case it's a misprint.
Crucial.com: $58 / £36

Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 Ghz Ed


Formerly over £200/$320, but at this price the performance is stunning.
Pixmania: $270 / £170

Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB


A year after the Thai floods and most drives are still overpriced, but there are a few decent deals out there if you look for them. This Caviar Black doesn't offer as many bytes for your buck as the economy Green version but its faster speed makes it a much more suitable primary drive.
Pixmania: $120 / £75