Looking to build yourself a new gaming PC for the top titles of 2012? Sadly, January sales don't really affect PC component prices. If anything, things are a little bit more expensive than they were in mid-December. Memory is a little bit cheaper than it was, but most other components have gone up a little bit.
Even so, and with big news like Intel's Ivy Bridge and more affordable Southern Islands graphics cards on the horizon, now's as good a time as any to start upgrading your system.
The first look at the PC Gamer Rig for the year doesn't see any significant improvements in terms of processing power or component selection. But I have swapped its case again as a result of a group test recently written for the mag. The new Corsair Carbide 500R is a bit more expensive than the Cooler Master Plus 912HAF that it wore at the end of 2011, but it's an exceptional case for the price, with tons of room inside and some excellent features. Plus, it looks good and runs quietly.
If you're after a bargain, though, you might think about getting your hands on one of AMD's Bulldozer chips. Just before Christmas the company announced a cashback scheme of up to £20 for potential purchasers. Not sure that's enough to convince me to adopt one just yet, but I'll be looking carefully at the maths involved next week.
What's in the Rig?
Intel Core i5 2500K
The only reason to spend more is for Hyperthreading. Which you don't need.
Brilliant value for a Z68 board, and fully featured too.
Eight gigabytes of fast 1600MHz DDR3.
GeForce GTX 560Ti
Two recent launches haven't changed our opinion that this is the best value graphics card there is.
Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB
Still expensive, but the good news is that prices for hard drives look to have peaked.
It's a DVD writer. The most commoditised of all component commodities. It really doesn't matter which you get.
Corsair Carbide 500R
Worth spending a bit extra on this case, imo.
XFX Pro Core 650W
Looks like a time limited offer for a pretty pokey PSU.
Almost suspiciously cheap – this mouse goes up in my estimation as it goes down in price every week.
Microsoft SideWinder X4
The price is rising. I suspect this keyboard may not be long for this world.
A lovely eIPS screen with excellent colours and viewing angles.
Still inexplicably good value for a very good set of cans.
Which is £69.97/$25.73 more expensive than before