Planning to do nothing over the festive break but sit in your unmentionables playing games? Shame on you, there's a whole world out there for you to explore and see you know. Even the most athletically aware of us must be planning to spend a little time with our PCs come Christmas, though, and there's still time for an upgrade if you will.
And how do we publish our weekly price watch and upgrade guide? In the guise of the PC Gamer Rig, of course. This veritable everygamer of a PC is designed not to be the fastest, nor the cheapest computer around. Rather, it's the one we think best represents the 'average' home set-up. Carefully budgeted to be buildable for less than £1000/$1500, it's the starting place for potential upgrades. Any one of these parts will make a fine addition to your system and keep it running for years. You can buy better components if you wish, but I wouldn't recommend buying any worse.
In the run up to Xmas 4.3 there's a lot of bargains to be had. The best I've found isn't going into the Rig, because it's just a little too expensive for our purposes there. If you're thinking of upgrading your graphics at the moment though, there's an overclocked HIS Radeon HD6950 going for less than £200 over
. Well worth a look. For US readers, the price difference between an HD6950 and a GeForce GTX 560Ti is a lot smaller than it is in Europe, and I'd be tempted to say go with the slightly more powerful AMD card, like this
, every time.
What's in the Rig?
Intel Core i5 2500K
An unlocked Sandy Bridge quad core, capable of all the top end features but hyperthreading.
An awesome Z68 board, comes with mSATA connectors for mini SSDs and Intel's caching technology.
Crucial Ballistic Sport/G.Skill Sniper
Eight gigabytes of fast 1600MHz DDR3.
GeForce GTX 560Ti
Curiously, prices for the 560Ti have gone up in the US this week, but down in the UK. Is old stock being cleared out for something new...?
Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB
Still expensive, but the good news is that prices for hard drives look to have peaked.
Fast DVD writers are pretty much generic these days, and there's no real argument for spending any more.
Cooler Master HAF 912
A new look for the Rig this week, and an exceptionally good value one at that.
XFX Pro Core 650W
Looks like a time limited offer for a pretty pokey PSU.
Classic Logitech style in a brand new mouse, this 3600dpi mouse is comfortable and precise.
Microsoft SideWinder X4
This is currently less than £10. Buy one for each hand.
A lovely eIPS screen with excellent colours and viewing angles.
Still inexplicably good value for a very good set of cans.
Sadly £38.16/$26.53 more expensive than